By Lee Camp
November 19th, 2020
Despite a seeming media blackout on the topic, voters continue to use ballot measures to push decriminalization to get around the control special interests exert over state legislators.
Something seismic happened in this election and it has nothing to do with Joe Biden winning. And yes, Joe Biden did indeed win. I’m sorry for those of you Trump fans who believe the election was rigged against him. It simply wasn’t.
Yes, millions of Americans were indeed purged from the voter rolls – but they were mostly people of color. So if MAGA Nation are waiting for those votes to be counted, then Trump will actually do even worse. And I honestly don’t care if you’re thinking, “But I saw a video on Tik-Tok of someone burning a ballot and then smothering it in hot sauce and eating it.” That doesn’t mean 50,000 votes were switched in Nevada. I saw a video on Twitter of a guy who could shoot laser beams out of his urethra — that doesn’t make it REAL! . . . And before you ask – Yes, he used his power to fight crime.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. While everyone focuses on the presidential election, something else important happened in this election. Something seismic. Something that represents the fruition of tireless hours of work from activists, protesters, and organizers. (And no, I’m not talking about the fact that I finally did the wounded peacock yoga pose. But I did, and my balls have yet to unfurl. … Okay, I don’t actually do yoga. And it’s not out of some toxic-masculine belief that men shouldn’t wear unitards and have their feet behind their head. It’s because I don’t want to have to talk to people about yoga. … That’s the main reason.)
In every state where some aspect of the Drug War was on the ballot, the people of those states voted to legalize or decriminalize drugs. In every single one.
- Montana legalized marijuana.
- South Dakota legalized marijuana.
- Mississippi legalized medical marijuana.
- Oregon decriminalized ALL drugs.
- Arizona legalized marijuana.
- DC decriminalized psychedelics.
- New Jersey voted to legalize marijuana.
This is incredible because it reveals the widespread understanding – even in conservative states – that the Drug War has been used to destroy millions of lives in this country and an understanding that the vast majority of people who smoke a joint occasionally are not running around like werewolves during a full-moon sexually assaulting opossums.
Most people in this country now understand that occasionally tinkering with your brain now and again for fun or the purposes of simple brain wave exploration does not make you evil. It makes you an average human. I mean, hell, if you’ve ever spun around real fast until you’re dizzy, then you’ve “Tripped The Brain Fantastic”. If you’ve ever had a drink of alcohol of any kind, then you’ve experimented with your mental chemistry. And if you haven’t ever had a drink of alcohol, then that means you’re Mormon and while I respect your religious beliefs, you may want to loosen the straps on your magic underwear because I think it’s cutting off the circulation to your happy bits. (I tried on those magic anti-masturbation underwear one time just to see what the hype was, and I found out if you yank on them in just the right way, you can have a jolly good time.)
The point is, the War on Drugs has always been — to use academic terminology — fucking nuts. And it was designed from day one to disrupt and destroy minority and activist communities. And for anyone whose brain is functioning truly poorly, you might now be thinking, “Well, if activists and minorities didn’t do drugs, then they wouldn’t get locked up.” But the numbers show those groups partake in drugs at the same percentages as almost every other group of people. … And a lot less, it seems, than investment bankers. The problem is that our police choose to enforce ridiculous drug laws more often against certain groups.
Black people use drugs at similar rates as white people and yet are 6.5 times more likely to be arrested for it. It’s like jaywalking or driving over the speed limit — everyone does it at least some of the time. You know, if you’re late, or you’ve borrowed a friend’s car and you want to see how fast it can go, or you have somebody tied up in the trunk and you want to see if you go over a speed bump at 75 miles an hour whether you can get his head to bang against the inside of the trunk so that he yells “OW!” in that hilarious way he always does. Point is, we’ve all been driving over the speed limit at some point, which means the police officers effectively choose who they grab for doing it. It doesn’t mean the people who get caught “breaking the law” are super villains. It means our criminal justice system is racist … and sexist … and ableist … and really all of the “ists.”
In the case of the Drug War, we’ve ended up with millions of people locked up for nonviolent drug violations, resulting in the largest prison state in the world. When you think about it, why should someone care if someone else smokes some weed? Some people who support our drug laws respond, “Well, I don’t like it because it’s bad for you. It’s bad for your body to do drugs.” Bad for your body?? So is fried food and bizarre body piercings and playing football and having babies and using tanning beds and watching “Dancing with the Stars!” But just because those things destroy your body and sometimes your brain doesn’t mean I think they should be illegal. (In fact, I think they should be mandatory – all at the same time with confetti cannons and trumpets playing “Hail To The Chief!”)
To quote from Vox – an outlet for brain-dead liberals that sometimes gets something right, “It’s telling, though, that 13 of the 15 states that have legalized marijuana so far have been forced to do it by ballot initiative. For whatever reason, elected lawmakers and legislatures remain scared to touch this issue. So a patchwork of ballot measures has moved the US in an unexpected direction.”
Yes, for whatever reason. Could it be that many of them are funded by Big Pharma or Big Law Enforcement, or at the least fear that Big Pharma and Big Blue would help their opponents if they supported decriminalizing drugs? Nah! Couldn’t be that. Couldn’t be that all our politicians are spineless cockroaches hiding every time the lights are turned on. (Extra Credit Trivia: Cockroaches are indeed spineless.)
Ballot measures – not politicians – show how much Americans agree if we’re allowed to actually take issues beyond the Red v. Blue Derangement Syndrome and actually think about each issue like a human being. Most Americans want to end the Drug War, and have free health care, and have free college education, and decrease the military, and have net neutrality, and a $15 minimum wage, and a livable planet, AND to PARDON JULIAN ASSANGE! (My very official Twitter poll says 97% of people want Assange freed.)
Come on, Donald Trump: piss off the rest of the ruling elite by pardoning Julian Assange. That’s the best prank you have left! . . . Well, I take that back. The best prank is rubbing your poo into the ornate latticework of every 18th Century piece of furniture in the White House. But second best is pardoning Julian Assange. You’ve got nothing left to lose.
Lee Camp is an American comedian, writer, activist, and host and co-creator of the hit comedy news show Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp and Redacted Tonight: VIP on RT America. He’s a former Headline writer for the Onion and a former staff humor writer for the Huffington Post. He has performed thousands of stand-up comedy shows throughout the US and internationally. He’s also the creator and host of the web show Moment of Clarity. His other books include Moment of Clarity, and his 2018 stand-up comedy special Not Allowed on American TV has received rave reviews. He’s also the cohost of the weekly podcast Common Censored.