Thursday, 24 September

Marijuana, booze and tobacco

To be honest, marijuana, alcohol and tobacco products have to fall under approximately the same rules. All three are, of course, harmful and all three, let’s say, are not the heroin. So. If strict restrictions are imposed – then on all three substances equally. If the use of them is allowed but not publicly – then it must work similarly for all of them. If publicly – the same.

What does an ordinary spectator see?

Alcohol. This year God blessed us with cold nights and rainy spells – but usually, starting from May, on the sidewalks under windows, a public binge-drinking takes place all evenings and late nights long. Every second bench turns into the table for bottles and finger food.

The police, judging by the wide-spread and duration of the boozing, complains about night-time noise, react as vigorously as on parking on the sidewalks. And not because the police are far away. No, they aren’t. They just have priorities: the only time when I myself called – they arrived lightning fast. One drunkard pulled another one under the arms but then dropped him under my windows and suddenly started beating his head with the feet and the lying broke up screaming “help, killing”. When I cited this to the operator of 102, she asked matter-of-factly “do they have knives or guns?” – and two minutes later two patrol cars arrived. Clear priorities: “help” so that they “don’t kill”. But what about a simple public boozing which annoys so much? Huh.

Because of inactivity of the police, there are fantasies about self-control: at least, keep the stock of water-filled condoms on the balcony and throw them in response to noisy benches. But you realize that it would cost you more – that’s why you lie and, gnashing your teeth, try to fall asleep along with the drunken rumbling.

Tobacco. Next building is the school. Judging by the crowds of teens under the house and garages throughout the day, to get access for cigarettes – it’s not a problem at all.

It’s no good mentioning how many times each day you breathe other people’s smoke on the sidewalks. As for the vapers, they’re used to show off: the bigger cloud you let out, the cooler you are. And if it’s not smoke but steam with the smell of vanilla, a damn vaper seems to believe that it’s a pleasure for everyone to go through his cloud and breathe his smelly secondaries.

At least at the bus stops, in crowded places, in the underground, smoking is no longer acceptable after the ban. Thanks for that, at least.

Of course, restrictions and bans are no guarantee of the complete change of behaviour. Returning from the kindergarten with my kid, a drunk man with a lit cigarette in the teeth comes out from the lift on the first floor. I say to him what shouldn’t be said near a child: “What the fudge! How will I get there with a kid?” “Oops, sorry, I should have thought.”

But, at least, he or she, smoking in the lift or at the stop, won’t consider themselves fully right.

Marijuana. We have a forest park in our district. For example, you walk with a dog down the furthermost paths, turn up from the bushes – and they shy away from you. A bunch of gangsters squat around a plastic “gravity bong” – it seems they don’t have enough weed to smoke in a less embarrassing way. They, by the way, left that plastic on the grass, assholes.

And then you go with the eldest kid, who has already learned to read from school, and you have to explain to him what the inscription “weed treasure” means on the wall of the house. And what the response inscription on the same wall means: “kill treasure hunts”. (Of course, not only marijuana is sold this way – but this is a different focus).

Therefore. My wife and I are walking along the beach in Poland, near Gdansk and suffer. Why is it so civilized? What is the difference? Everyone throws a frisbee, lets the kites and simply walks. Wow! Nobody boozes! Why? But we know the statistics that the fellows-Poles drink about the same amount as our compatriots. Then it turned out that it simply wasn’t allowed to booze just on the beach (different in Ukraine: to down a snifter and jump straight in the water!). Of course, our Polish friends explain, winos or students drink in the parks but police turn blind eye on them and kick them out only when they make too much noise – but at least it stopped being so wide-spread. Because they no longer feel themselves herrroes, trrrue men, the Slavs who are able to overdrink everyone and move mountains – but drunkards who must hide from the police.

Instead. It doesn’t seem from the news that economy collapsed in the Netherlands or Canada or that after the legalisation of marijuana all go high every day and don’t want to work – or that these countries plunged into the chaos of crime and massive degeneration of population. Of course, I personally know two or three potheads who can’t go outside without rolling a joint – it looks same miserable as alcohol abuse. But it’s better pondering sociologically rather than on the basis “once, in the army”.

Without saying anything in advance, we can propose to our legislators to act on the basis of research, rather than traditions. Not only medical research – what causes high mortality and the like. To ask the police, for instance: do you have more calls because of the drunken family abuse or the stoned one. Not even in terms of the majority but per drunken or stoned capita. Or to ask the doctors of the ambulance: do you often have to stitch the heads after drunken fights or stoned ones. (I personally, haven’t heard about the fight under the effect of Cannabis but, maybe, everything happens). Or to ask the lifeguards: who is more often caught from the water dead or, if lucky, half-alive? Or to ask the military on the front: who cause more troubles, potheads or avatars?

(You are about to nag that the author is himself a pothead. If anyone is interested, the author, in theory, is a radical health promoter who is annoyed by his own sugar addiction (but he is OK with coffee addiction). In practice, the author can lash out and smoke a cigarette once in a month, or one joint for two or drink some beer. It doesn’t matter – the author is a supporter of “live and let live” theory. You don’t get on someone’s way and you are treated the same way.

Once I asked a friend, a young person, who due to the Maidan uprise became the official: why don’t they try to decriminalize that poor marijuana? He answers: they care for ratings. You won’t make yourself clean after this. (By the way, at least recent bill on the legalization of medical use of drugs with cannabis, mainly as an analgesic, is already a thing).

I perfectly understand that deputies act (to put it mildly) not only for objective sake of society but also (to put it mildly) for the sake of their own asses in the deputy’s chairs. Well then. If ratings depend on the conservative society that is not yet ready for loosening the rules concerning marijuana – the rules concerning tobacco and alcohol can be hardened symmetrically. For instance, as in Poland, to allow drinking only at home or in a bar – but not on benches or beaches. Officials can hide behind “public order”, “Ukrainian kids”, “health of the nation” – or behind whatever hypocritical words.

Artem Chapeye

Leave A Reply