|NO WEED IN THE WINDY CITY! Chicago Alderman Roberto Maldonado voices his opposition to Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's proposal to decriminalize marijuana.|
When I was a kid, I thought it was normal for my Uncle Harold to throw my drunken Uncle Frank out the front door and into the snow on Christmas night every year. I would stand in the bay window at the Knox farm and watch Uncle Frank trying to stand up, patches of snow on his balding head. Then I'd run to my mom and tell her that Uncle Frank was outside in the snow and couldn't get up. "I know, I know, Jimmy," she'd say. "Just stay close to me."
So I would stick close to my mom and later stood, holding onto her skirt as my aunt swilled vodka right out of the bottle under the stairs in the farm's pantry.
I've seen a lot of drunks in my family, blog readers--too many!
My favorite first cousin Tommy was found dead drunk in a skid row apartment in Waukegan by his two sons in February of 1987. He had been dead for two weeks when they found him.
There are lots more stories of alcohol abuse on the Irish side of the family. Heck, there are even booze death stories on the German side, my dad's side. My dad's brother Donny owned a bar in Crystal Lake and died drunk on his lounger in my grandparents' living room in 1952 at the ripe old age of 34.
So as I've watched the pissing contest in Chicago about marijuana possession and whether or not possession of a small amount of pot should be decriminalized, I've been amazed at the vitriol. Let's face it, pot is much less dangerous than alcohol.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel does not want to legalize pot; he just wants to have Chicago police issue a ticket for those caught with a small amount of the green, leafy substance. After listening to the opposition, you'd think he wanted to allow kilos to be brought to Daley Plaza and sold to the highest bidder.
And all of this comes 45 years after the Summer of Love when America first turned on to marijuana. 45 friggin' years! Unbelievable!
No one ever got thrown out in the snow on Christmas for smoking too much marijuana. No one ever died in a skid row apartment in Waukegan because of smoking too many joints.
When President Jimmy Carter first talked about legalizing marijuana in the late 1970's, I pictured Americans stopping at a convenience store after work, picking up a joint for a dollar, and heading home to smoke the joint as they watched Walter Cronkite.
Boy, was I wrong!
The latest game here in Galesburg is to have the Galesburg cops bring drug sniffing dogs to the Amtrak station and have the dogs examine the luggage of passengers getting off the California Zepher.
The cops have had numerous busts, and some of the "criminals" are from states that have medical marijuana laws and claim they are carrying the pot legally. The police arrest them anyway.
Now tell me, in a town with unemployment over 10% and the poverty rate at Galesburg High School between 50 & 60%, don't the cops have better things to do than bust train passengers carrying pot? How about community outreach programs, guys? How about walking beats in the poor neighborhoods and getting to know the citizens?
So even though I bashed Mayor Rahmbo in my last posting, Mr. Mayor, you are right on with the decriminalization of marijuana.
It's about damn time!