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Michael Who? Let’s Protect Our National Parks.

This week when the press was nattering on in headlines about Michael Phelps getting caught smoking a bong at a party, I thought, “Michael who?”
This shows you how much I pay attention to sports. It took me about 2 hours to remember that Mr. Phelps was an Olympic athlete. My next thought was, “Why does anyone care if he smokes pot? Isn’t he like 22?”
I would be more concerned if he was shooting steroids to improve his athletic performance than smoking a drug that is known to make folks couch potatoes. Really, people, think of the headlines, “Famed Olympic Swimmer Caught on a 3am Run to Dunkin Donuts for a 24 Pack of Donut Holes.” vs. a headline like “Famed American Male Swimmer Looking Oddly Like 1970s East German Women’s Swimming Team.”
While I do not like marijuana and I really don’t care to be around anyone smoking it, as the smoke is a migraine headache trigger for me; and as the daughter of a parent who has smoked it for years, I don’t tend not respect regular users, but… but… but…
Really, America, it is time to legalize and tax this stupid-making herb. If we allow Colt 45 to be sold at liquor stores and the state of California makes a tax off of it, then a dime bag of pot should also be sold and taxed.
Why do I think this? As long as this drug is illegal our prisons are full, our national parks are being raped by greedy drug farming capitalists, and we are losing tons of tax dollars to drug lords and cartels who are holding many cities north & south of the border hostage.
We have not set up Sequoia National Park to be a place for the Mexican Cartels to grow marijuana and trash the land, we set up Sequoia to preserve a unique biosphere on the western Sierras. When I first read in 2005 in the LA Times of the cartels slashing & burning oak forest to grow marijuana for the illegal drug trade, I was FURIOUS.
I was even more furious that the US government has known about this since at least 2003 (from the LA Times article), even though they chose to ignore it:

Sequoia Kings Canyon spokesperson Alexandra Picavet thinks the drug debate has kept the problem from getting traction. “People get blinded by the marijuana issue…. We don’t want people planting asparagus on the land, either. This is agricultural assault on a national park, no matter what they’re growing.”
Lawmakers say the issue is crowded out by more pressing matters. This year’s federal drug-control strategy did not address pot cultivation on public land. And the Sierra Club acknowledges other priorities than drug bandits.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), whose district includes Sequoia National Park, called hearings on the marijuana incursion in 2003. He says the issue is under the radar for most lawmakers in Washington.
“They don’t even know that it exists…. People don’t think about it,” Nunes says.
The pot growers are no longer the stereotype of hapless hippies. They are part of sophisticated criminal organizations schooled on the Colombian cartels’ economy of scale, says Ruzzamenti. “They do things big. Even if you lose a little here, you’ll make it up in the long run. They’ve taken this lesson to another level,” he says.
Most of the ringleaders, say investigators, are U.S. nationals based in Southern California with connections to cartel families in Michoacán, Mexico; field workers are well-armed Mexican laborers.
“We’ve found AR-15s, shotguns, rifles, knives strapped to poles, crude crossbows,” says J.D. Swed, chief ranger at Sequoia.

It is high time that we allow American farmers to legally grown the herb – let’s help set them free from Monsanto & Number 2 corn – and for the US & various states to make a little tax money. Let’s make it cheap enough that there is no incentive for drug cartels to rape our national parks and to be involved at all.
If folks want to get high, let them. Tax the shit and then change the DUI laws to include both alcohol and marijuana influenced equally. Take the tax monies and place it into education and health care. We tax alcohol and cigarettes, let’s tax the herb.
We need the money more than the drug cartels do. As for Mr. Phelps, we put him up on the hero pedestal, let’s not knock him down off of it for anything less than steroid drug abuse that will effect why we put him on the pedestal in the first place.