Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Vending Machine Pot

When I was a kid, I remember sometimes going to a family restaurant with my grandparents where there was a cigarette vending machine in the lobby. Since they smoked, occasionally I’d be sent on an "errand." Of course, technically, I wasn’t supposed to do this. And they might have caught some trouble (from both the authorities and my parents) if I weren’t discreet and had been discovered while on one of these missions. But I was discreet and they didn’t get into any trouble. The last time I checked, I wasn’t carrying any moral scars and--as I’ve mentioned before--I don’t smoke or even, particularly, like smoking. At some point, however, the people decided that this easy access to tobacco might not be in the best interests of all children and parents trying to raise their children not to smoke, so the machines were pulled.

But there are always new twists on old themes. Now, in California, there’s something of an opposite movement. To be sure, no one is proposing adding cigarette machines to restaurant lobbies. Heaven forbid the demon tobacco find any toleration or sanction in health-obsessed California! No, here, we prefer Mary Jane, Hashish, Pot, or whatever you like to call it. Granted, you need to have a "prescription" and you have to use your fingerprint to make the machine function. But the argument for these machines is curious: its defenders argue convenience but also, oddly, anonymity. The machines are not in restaurant lobbies, but tucked away out of sight. So where’s the convenience? If convenience were the issue, then we’d have them in at least as many places as we have Starbucks, right? There’s still some sense of shame surrounding the purchase of pot? Imagine that!? There’s still some sense of shame (or at least embarrassment) surrounding the purchase of condoms and feminine hygiene products too, but that doesn’t prevent nearly every restaurant and bar from placing those vending machines in their restrooms. In many restrooms, you can even purchase aspirin and allergy medication from vending machines--so why not this "medication?" Why not Viagra vending machines? Or oxycontin? Penicillin anyone? (You can put that next to the Viagra, of course!) So I think these guys are making a mistake. The extremes the machine’s manufacturer took to prevent kids from being sent on an "errand," make it seem unlikely that there will be many accidental purchases by unauthorized individuals. So why not just put them everywhere? If marijuana use is just as innocuous as aspirin use, why not put them out in the open? And then, before you know it, society will accept it in the same way it now appears to accept illicit sex.

Just make sure--no matter what--you keep that tobacco behind the counter in a locked glass cabinet. Otherwise kids might get the wrong idea.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Hey, Julie, you're the one who decided to live in California with the whack-a-dos!

An apparently true story I must relate here took place a number of years ago in a crowded moving London subway car. It seems that one overexcited standing couple, pressed by the crowd, were engaging in what comes naturally. Remarkably no one said a word but silently looked elsewhere. Afterward the rather satisfied gentleman lighted up a cigarette, which caused an uproar, and the couple were ejected.

The Brits are alway ahead of California in Political Correctness.

"Hey, Julie, you're the one who decided to live in California with the whack-a-dos."

Tony, I'm not sure what geographic sector, or cone of anachronism Julie has been living in. Where in California do they confuse hashish with pot? Does anyone use the term "Mary Jane" anymore? Have they been watching 50's documentaries about the perils of marr-ij-oowanna cigarettes, when they might better have been reading about the carcinogenic, addictive nature of American tobacco products?

Hey, man, everyone knows that, like, when you smoke ganja you just want to be peaceful. But tobacco makes you want to be violent, and invade countries, man. That's why the man says we can only smoke cigarettes, not weed.

Man.

Will a pot-head be able and willing to stop a tyranical government?

Well, it's another one for the Hall of Shame here at NLT.

After removing the thick layers of sarcasm and the overkill on the facetious quotation marks, there's not much there (and in some cases, hard to make out just what your point is - for example, are you for or against cigarette machines in public places?). Ho-hum, straight tobacco products are just dandy but other drugs are evil and represent the downfall of man and suchlike. Too bad reality is more complicated.

Nicotine is a drug, a seriously addictive drug, and to deny that is just to be willfully ignorant. And yes, pot, too is a drug, with some adverse effects, no doubt.

I can think of one fellow who might appreciate a secure, anonymous source for
Viagra and Oxycontin . Here's a hint - he won the Claremont Institute's Statesman of the Year Award (laughter supressed) a year or two back! But really, let's show some mercy and some pity to drug addicts of all kinds, from alcohol and tobacco to pot, Viagra, Oxycontin, etc.

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