A recent Vanity Fair article by Bill Bradley explores where baby boomers longing to relive their prime Summer of Love years but trapped inside states yet to legalize cannabis are scoring their product, and highlights how marijuana usage is quickly becoming a kind of mundane nonissue for many Americans, with legality almost beside the point.
Well, almost. Bradley’s sources insisted on anonymity, with one quoted as saying, “We all grew up with this being illegal and it was something reprobates did … For people like us, we still can’t be put in a national magazine that we get high.” Various sources go on to describe smoking up on vacation and relying on young folks—and in a twist sure to confuse anyone with memories of trying to construct a kind of filter out of dryer sheets and cardboard tubing or dashing drops in their eyes after returning home from a night out in their adolescence—sometimes their children, to procure product.
While Bradley’s article focuses on a kind of nostalgia for a counter culture youth-gone-by, it’s interesting to consider a recent interview with rapper Talib Kweli in Rolling Stone where he suggested that more relaxed attitudes towards marijuana are less the result of any kind of nostalgia, liberal agenda or 1960s aftershock than “a libertarian movement in the conservative circles that is starting to see that there’s a financial benefit and a political benefit to legalizing pot.”
Imagine how radical activists like Abbie Hoffman might react to that news, that all that was ever stopping marijuana from reaching mainstream status was that conservatives and capitalists had yet to see its potential as a luxury item to be enjoyed on ski vacations or prior to a nice massage.
You know who would really puzzle at Kweli’s quote, as well as the baby boomers in the Vanity Fair article? The thousands of young capitalists currently behind bars, serving prison terms due to their inability to wait for legislation to catch up with demand.
The Vanity Fair article is cute, and that an older generation of consumers is ready and willing to sink their pensions or social security into the cannabis industry is noteworthy, but let’s not forget that bringing some fresh baked edibles to the codger at the end of the hall in your apartment building could still get you sent to prison in most parts of the country. Keep in mind, too, that if Kweli is right and libertarians are coming around to the benefits of legalization, they might not be coming around to it fast enough for those currently incarcerated who lack the name recognition of Willie Nelson.