The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
How High Should We Be?
Jamala Rogers
In 2014, the Wisconsin legislature legalized a restrictive use of cannibas for the
treatment of seizure disorders opening up the debate for marijuana legalization. Voters
in 16 counties and two cities in Wisconsin will face marijuana referendums on
November 6. If I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, all will pass and give impetus to a
state law that legalizes the plant. Of course, any state law must be signed by Gov.
Scott “No Way” Walker who has opposed making pot legal in his state.

I have never done drugs and never desired to even experiment with them. As a Black,
radical women in the U.S., I always felt that I needed to be fully alert. I have fought
tirelessly for the de-criminalization of drugs, particularly marijuana, but I always
stopped short on supporting legalization.

If my view on marijuana is to evolve, it will require assistance from my readers. Help
me with the issues I struggle with:

Despite the arguments I’ve heard over the years that marijuana is not as harmful as
other drugs, that it’s a natural plant (so is deadly Oleander!), it has definite negative
effects on the brain and body.  In exchange for that nice high, the short-term results
are increased heart rates, lowered blood pressure, distorted perception and loss of
coordination. Long-term use leads to loss of memory, risk of lung ailments and loss of
bone density. There’s a reason — I often tell people — that marijuana is prescribed to
people with terminal illness.

Americans are abusive about drugs and everything else. We are deep into self-
medication abusing prescription drugs, alcohol and everything in between. I foresee
medical weed being over-prescribed by doctors as they have done with opioids.

Thirty states have legalized medical marijuana. Nine states and Washington, DC have
legalized recreation marijuana that requires no doctor’s permission. Now people can
grow, distribute and possess in states where the drug is legal in the state. Yet pot is
still illegal on the federal level. I can see some continued racial targeting with this
scenario.

For decades, Black and Brown folks were hauled off to prison for long periods of time
for possession of weed — regardless of the amount. Nationally, Blacks are four times
more like to be charged with weed possession than whites despite the comparable use.
In the Badger state, Blacks are SIX times as likely to be charged for the drug, the
fourth highest disparity in the country.

Last year, the cannabis industry brought in $10 billion and the profits are expected to
rocket. Business is booming, yet Black entrepreneurs and Black farmers can’t seem to
catch a break. Racism and lack of capital are the main barriers. African Americans
own a measly one percent of the 3,500 marijuana dispensaries in the U.S. Growers
and the related businesses are locked down by white folks.

Lastly, I can’t wrap my head around Girl Scouts selling cookies outside a marijuana
shop. One scout in San Diego sold a record 300 boxes in less than 6 hours. For this
former Girl Scout and eternal child advocate, something is just wrong with that
picture.
With the widespread use of pot, are you comfortable that your surgeon enjoyed a
blunt before surgery on your heart? Or that your pilot hit a spliff before take-off? Or
that your mechanic took in a joint before s/he worked on your brakes?

Am I wrong to envision a society where pot and opioid abusers will run amuck
causing widespread chaos and confusion? Am I the only one who thinks Zombie Land
when the issue of legalization comes up? Cap City Hues readers help me think this one
through. Email me at
fergusonamerica@gmail.com.