Stoners may get the last laugh—in California, at least

If a bona fide jerk calls you a jerk, does that make you the opposite of a jerk, or are you a jerk squared?

In the same manner, if a stoner calls you boring, what does that mean, exactly? You've got this guy who uses a drug that clouds his mind, dulls his coordination and slurs his speech, and he's going to call somebody else "boring." I don't get it.

I realize that writing for an "alternative" paper suggests that one would ascribe to certain "acceptable" points of view—drugs are good; cops are bad; vegetarians are healthy. Sorry to disappoint. I also know that when writing about marijuana, unless one gushes about its ability to do whatever it does, one is going to get slammed for not being hip enough.

Last week, I wrote about how the marijuana-legalization movement appears to be gaining traction around the country. I've always thought that using drugs was stupid, and I reiterated that point. The response was mostly predictable.

One guy took me to task for quoting Denis Leary, who, shall we say, borrowed liberally from the late Bill Hicks. All stand-up comedy is derivative, if not downright incestuous. Robin Williams was the new Jonathan Winters. Even my (and most everybody else's) favorite, Richard Pryor, used Redd Foxx's act as a jumping-off point.

What got me is that the person who posted it was called "McLovin." That's always funny.

My least-favorite comment was from a guy who quoted my line about drugs being stupid and then added, "and I am SURE you get a lot of party invitations ... ahahahahaha!"

How does one respond to someone who misspells "ha ha"? Come on, dude. It's a two-letter word! Sound it out.

As a matter of fact, I do get invited to parties. Not so much for my witty repartee, but rather for my ability to drive drunk-ass people home without other motorists having to fear for their lives. But I generally don't go to such parties, because only a really small percentage of drinkers get more interesting as the night goes along.

I never go to marijuana-smoking gatherings. (You can't really call such things "parties," because that word suggests a certain energy level.) That stuff is still illegal, and I have yet to meet even one stoner who gets more interesting as time drags forward.

One guy wrote me a nice e-mail, suggesting that I had adopted a holier-than-thou stance, and then calling me a "prig." I've been called that word before, without the "r" in it, and I've been called a different word that starts with the same first three letters, but never a prig.

I swear I don't consider myself holier than thou. I'm just different than thou. But when I point that out, stoners get all defensive. Well, their moment to show me and everybody else what's up may be on the horizon. On the ballot in California this fall is a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in the state.

Not surprisingly, supporters and opponents of the measure are already lining up and having their say. The surprise comes from the bedfellows who are joining up on each side of the issue. Law enforcement is split (albeit not evenly) on the issue. A group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) argues that so much time is spent dealing with nonviolent drug offenders that there aren't enough cops to go after (in the immortal words of Gilbert Gottfried) "the people out there with chainsaws."

Much of the money that went into the signature-gathering effort came from a guy who has become wealthy selling medical marijuana in the state, but there is strong opposition in Northern California communities where much of the local economy is based on the huge profits made in the currently illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana.

Another big supporter of the measure is George Zimmer, founder and spokesperson for the Men's Wearhouse. (I always thought that guy sounded extra-mellow in those commercials.) But Jerry Brown, California's attorney general and probable Democratic gubernatorial nominee—and the most-prominent counter-culture politician in the history of that state—does not support the measure.

Passage is by no means certain. Just two years ago, there was an initiative that, if passed, would have favored treatment over jail time for drug offenders. It was voted down by an almost 60-40 margin.

Backers of the Tax Cannabis Act claim that it would not increase drug use in the state, but merely save law-enforcement time and resources. As written, the proposal would ban users from smoking marijuana in public or around minors. (Yeah, right!) It would also be a crime to possess it on school grounds and/or to drive under the influence of marijuana. (Yeah, yeah, right, right!!)

We'll see what kind of push it gets. To quote Bill Hicks: "They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot-smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize it's not worth the f---ing effort. There is a difference."

Is it just me, or does that sound like the definition of unmotivated?