>Party On

>Today’s Bizarro is brought to you by Just Say No.

I was a touch surprised that this cartoon got through the gauntlet of editors-that-be and appeared in newspapers all over the continent without any complaints. (That I know of.) My guess is that the kind of people who would object to this cartoon didn’t understand it.

Usually, any reference to illegal “drugs” that is not wholly pro-abstinence gets some heat. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an avid consumer of recreational drugs, though I’ve tried a few of the more popular ones. But on principle alone, I am incensed by the absurd notion that alcohol in moderation is acceptable but natural substances like hemp and psilocybin mushrooms are “of the devil.”

What started with greedy capitalists wanting to ban natural substances they could not sell to the public so that they could make more money off of booze and nicotine (and paper made of wood, and cloth made of cotton instead of hemp) has received such a PR snowjob that most Americans still believe they should be illegal. Even people who have smoked pot and eaten mushrooms continue to lobby for their criminalization. How many of you learned in school that George Washington was a hemp farmer and believed it was the crop that the United States should build its economy on? That’s my point, neither did I.

The reason these substances are associated with darkness and evil is because they are illegal and are sold by criminals. Marijuana is no more of a gateway to death by heroin overdose than Cheetos is to murder. (Statistics show that 99.8% of all convicted murderers have eaten Cheetos at some point in their life, many are even “addicted” to them.)

I’d love to see our society grow up, but I’m not holding my breath.

NOTE: To my mind there is a HUGE difference between natural substances like pot and mushrooms and manmade chemicals like acid, meth, XTC, etc. One can argue the logic of keeping those illegal or not, but my point here is that plants don’t belong in the same category as those.

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29 Responses to >Party On

  1. Milé Murtanovski says:

    >Also, smoking some pot (or better yet, having some in a chocolate chip cookie!) is less likely to make someone get behind the wheel of a car than drinking booze is.Also, also, XTC is a fantastic band.m.

  2. Josh says:

    >This is why I belong to the libertarian party. We are adamant about decriminalizng drugs.

  3. shipping troll says:

    >Our local morning radio guy, Brother Wease, (who is quite the liberal and greatly annoys the local conservative contingent) likes to argue that the ultimate "gateway drug" is milk. Everyone has had it at some point in their lives, even if it was once and they found out they were allergic.

  4. Yet Another Steve says:

    >Back at college in the late '60s, we "hippies" used to sit in our dorm rooms smoking pot (with masking tape over the cracks in the door frame, of course), listening to music and writing stories by candlelight, and we could always tell when it was bar-closing time because we'd hear the frat boys out in the halls, puking and throwing their beer cans around. I believe they're making the laws nowadays.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >How did the editors miss the artist's left eye?Good job.

  6. Pagani says:

    >Hey, wait a sec… I didn't give any permission to use me in a cartoon! It's a "look and feel" infringement if nothing else. I am nonplussed!

  7. Luis says:

    >I think the saving grace of the cartoon in the editors' eyes might be that the artist's painting actually *has* mushrooms in it. If there were no mushrooms in the painting, then the drug reference would be more explicit.

  8. Penny says:

    >There was a fabulous two part series on "Nova" where they followed doctors from Harvard Medical School. The one who became an emergency physician stated for the record that he had never seen ANYTHING wreak so much havoc on the human body and our society as alcohol.Perfectly legal alcohol.The mind boggles.

  9. Anonymous says:

    >I hate needles, bitter brews, and smoke (I have allergies something fierce), so most drugs are out the window just based on preferences. I've avoided the whole drug debate, to be honest, since it doesn't much apply to me directly. Still, it's nice to hear about it and to hear the reasoning behind the views.Particularly when the reasons are as down-to-earth as yours.

  10. Anonymous says:

    >Dude… if you honestly believe that if certain drugs were legalized, that the drug dealers would suddenly become corporate bankers and accountants, then you've been consuming far too much of something.Rendering drugs legal will only create competition for 'the underworld', who will then reply with more potent drugs, more potent mixtures, etc., and market their product as having 'more bang for your buck' than the legal offerings.I've worked with drug dealers (as a street worker), and, in short, legalizing drugs will definitely not remove the crime element. 100% guaranteed. That is simply a comfortable illusion.That should be obvious to anyone who has successfully completed grade 4.

  11. Anonymous says:

    >It is a well documented statistic that 100% of all divorces begin with marriage.

  12. RSJ says:

    >Good points on our strange approach to drugs. We really do live in an upside-down Bizarro-World country when the ("Here's your brain on drugs") Partnership for a Drug-Free America is jointly sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser beer, and Big Pharma, creators of the deadly Vioxx, OxyContin, Prozac and many, many more toxic drugs.Most of the anti-marijuana information our government continues to spout — gateway drug to heroin, etc. — comes from someone not a scientist, but an ambitious careerist bureaucrat and the first federal drug czar, Harry J. Anslinger, a racist who believed pot made nice white girls run off with black jazz musicians. Here's a typical quote from race-hatin' Harry: "Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men." For 32 years, starting with his appointment as head of the Federal Narcotics Bureau in 1930, Anslinger slung his bull on drugs and got our government and some foreign ones to buy it. Meanwhile, every serious scientific study, and cultural experience since the '60s, has shown all of Anslinger's drug delusions as just that — the crazed ramblings of an avowed racist. (What was he smoking? might be the appropriate line here.)Sorry I went on so long, but I feel it's important to reveal the true history of our government's drug bias, at least regarding marijuana, since so many have suffered long sentences in jail and ruined lives thanks to Anslinger's pot pipe dreams.Further reading:"Why Is Marijuana Illegal?"http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2003/12/22/whyIsMarijuanaIllegal.html

  13. anziulewicz says:

    >I could not agree with you more, Dan. Frankly I consider psilocybin mushrooms to be one of the most innocuous recreational substances in existence: Complete non-addictive (both physically and psychologically) and harmless (psilocybin passes through the human body complete un-metabolized and is excreted unchanged in the urine), and LOTS OF FUN. Best of all, six hours later everything is completely back to normal.

  14. Anonymous says:

    >Perhaps if man didn't lace pot with all sorts of weird stuff. Pot is a different beast than it was 20 years ago. Although, I get your point completely.

  15. doug nicodemus says:

    >i am so glad you explained that one…i missed that and i sometimes consume "happy" substances…guess i was being to literaL

  16. PIRARO says:

    >@Anonymous…I suspect you're right about legalization not removing the criminal element entirely, but it did work with alcohol prohibition. Criminals might still come up with more potent, black market drugs, but giving people legal alternatives would keep most people from having to deal with criminals at all. I think the average recreational user would be happy with what they could get at a store, rather than having to seek out the illegal stuff.

  17. Josh says:

    >RSJ: I don't wish to come off as overly critical, but your slam against "Big Phamra" is a complaint that's gotten on my nerves in recent months. Yes, there have been cases where harmful drugs have been released (Phen-fen, Vioxx, ect.), and junkies have ended up dying because they try to use prescription drugs to get a high. But I'm sick of everyone thinking that the pharmaceutical companies don't care about people. If they were interested only in profit and not in health, why are they developing chemotherapy drugs? Why are they making medication to treat cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological conditions? Why are they continuing to research medication that could be used to better treat diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's?Bottom line: just because it's a for-profit business doesn't make it "evil" or "immoral".

  18. ebilucy says:

    >Although I don't care for too much politics in my cartoons, I basically agree with what you said here. However, whether or not hemp, etc should be made legal, it's not now. And the people producing it, en masse, for the large and growing demand, are mostly not nice people. Anything illegal, worth that much cash, is going to have the growers/sellers fighting viciously for it.A lot of violence, guns and blood are involved in that innocent, little high. Alcohol is my substance of choice. Far from perfect, I recognize, but whatever its faults, it's legal. Which means that no one is using guns/grenades/violence to produce and sell it. If I drink my evening beer responsibly, I'm pretty sure that there's no blood on my hands.This may all change – things that are legal become illegal, and vice versa. But that's the fun of this country: get enough people to agree with you, and the laws will change.

  19. Waldo says:

    >Josh – Sorry to disagree but.. I disagree. Big business Pharma has several cures to simple "illnesses" on the shelves to never see the light of day because attacking the symptoms are much more profitable year after year verses a one time treatment. Example: the common cold – HUGE profits in relieving the sniffing, seizing, aches, and pains every winter. Imagine the decreased revenues if they released a "cure to the common cold"?I guarantee that the Pharma teams evaluate the profitability AND impacts to existing products before they get past the initial trials phase.

  20. RSJ says:

    >@ anonymous: Yes, that's why I score my beer from a guy on the corner. Taking the incredible profit margins out of drugs also removes the criminal element, as it did with alcohol when prohibition ended.@Josh, the people taking Vioxx, for example, weren't druggies trying to get high, but heart patients trying to treat their condition. Sadly, they didn't realize the company, Merck, in this case, would cut corners and defraud them, selling them a drug which could induce heart attacks. They also didn't realize our corporate-friendly FDA would allow such drugs on the market. And that's just one example — I could provide more.Most of the research on the drugs you mentioned is financed by the US taxpayer — we just don't see the price reduction on the shelf or in the hospital. The drug companies are making highway-robbery profits, so excuse me if I don't shed ny tears for them.You might also reflect that in our neighbor to the north the same drugs that we pay usurious prices for here are sold at a considerable discount and Big Pharma still makes a profit — just a smaller one. (Or do you think the enhanced profits of a large corporation are more important than a patient's health?) There is also the issue of American physicians over-prescribing drugs, particularly for the elderly, but that's another topic.If, God forbid, you are ever laying in the hospital deathly ill and get a peek at what they are charging you for drugs, it will either kill you or make you think. I hope it does the latter.

  21. Anonymous says:

    >How can I purchase a print of "Still Life with Mushrooms", please? It's absolutely stunning!

  22. PIRARO says:

    >You can get a color print of any of my cartoons by doing this:COLOR PRINTSYou can buy a color print of any cartoon for about $25 through a website run by a friend of mine. Go to http://tinyurl.com/n93bhmand click on PiraroPrints/BizarroPosters. If you have any trouble with the site contact my partner, Rey, and he'll be happy to assist you. Rey@bizarro.com

  23. Josh says:

    >Waldo: you can't "cure" the common cold because it's a virus. The only way to prevent someone from getting it would be to develop a vaccine that prevents the virus from taking hold in the body.

  24. RSJ says:

    >@ ebilucy: What you say is true regarding cocaine and opium, but pot is grown all over the USA and strapped small farmers often cultivate some as a bumper crop hedge against bad crop yields or market downturns.My friend in California tells me that all kinds of nice folks are growing medical marijuana all over the state and there are no guns or blood involved in harvesting and selling their crops. The hardcore gangbangers are selling meth, smack and coke, not pot.

  25. Joe says:

    >Yeah so while I agree about some of that, the idea that things are okay because they are "natural" is sorta ridiculous. Eating two or three nutmeg (uh, nuts? nutmegs?) can kill you, as can mistletoe, holly, hemlock, and of course many fungi (Cortinarius is frequently mistaken for psilocybe and is as bad for your kidneys as waking up in a bathtub full of ice with a note next to you).

  26. Waldo says:

    >Josh – "The only way to prevent someone from getting it would be to develop a vaccine that prevents the virus from taking hold in the body."And why would big Pharma's board members allow a vaccine to be released????? That would kill their quarterly profits.

  27. Josh says:

    >Waldo: then why do they produce vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, ect?

  28. Penny says:

    >@Josh – Vaccines are produced for the things that cause lasting harm/can kill you. There are over 200 different viruses that cause the common cold. It would be utterly impossible to come up with 200 different vaccines that work. And since colds don't kill people, it would be illogical to put that much effort and money into researching said vaccines. Every time you have a cold, you are then immune to that particular virus for the rest of your life, anyway.I'm not a proponent for Big Pharma. I do think they have jacked the American Public quite well. However, I also don't think they are the very definition of evil, either.

  29. ebilucy says:

    >Hey RSJ, you're right. I don't equate pot with the harder drugs, and a lot of people grow their own or grow it without the implicit guns/violence I mentioned. But as you pointed out, in California, where some form of pot ("medical marajuana") is legal, lots are growing it. But how about up in BC? Montana? Hawaii? Or anywhere else it's not legal? Those growers aren't (all) benign and laid back. It's a serious, dangerous business for them. And the demand is still sky high, despite any consequences down the road.

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