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09 July, 2014

Freedom Inc.

Phoneto by Zonk'em

Outside of Buck's Spice Shop and Darby's, two businesses I gladly choose to support, there is an interstice of green in the sidewalk. Grey, gray,...grass! There's a little (but still larger than the li'l lawn) brass plaque identifying this space as a park. Now and then, there's the sign you see here, miniscule but effective.

"Keep off the grass*" resinates this week, what with the opening of the first legal pot stores outside of Colorado. As my family waited on Sunday morning for a table at Darby's, we saw the sign and the roach** thoughtfully tucked into the park to stack on another entendre***.

We laughed, and took a few photos, inspiring other people to do the same. My kids didn't start doing drugs, I managed to hold onto my job, and breakfast--although served to Led Zeppelin live--was delicious, and in no way a freakshow. Legal pot in 2014 Washington is, what?

It was interesting to hear reports on NPR that actually spoke of today's opening of pot stores here in terms of "civil rights," maybe not on par with gay marriage (local reaction: we're totally used to it, what?), but a great day for freedom, in the words of a guy who'd been in line since 4AM (sorry, guy who showed up at 4:20) to be the first to buy legal weed,**** only to say he'd light up to "Dark Side of the Moon,"***** sorta like he has for 33% of the 1,287 bags of reefer****** he's bougth before, illegally.

Equality for people who don't fit in the archaic man-woman identities and roles is a civil rights issue, but what happened today is a consumer issue. In Americo, though, consumer freedom has increasingly stood in for and even pushed aside the more basic freedoms in the Constitution.

Today gets reported by those who worry as the Beginning of the End, gateway drug to utter debauchery and decay. Meanwhile, others spout some crap about Freedom when what they're being offered is a chance to pay premium prices plus 25% tax (that's right, Washington State imposes a 25% tax on this freedom) for something that's actually pretty easy to get outside of the official stores. The saying "Freedom isn't Free" needs to be amended, "And it's Heavily Taxed".

So, light up and celebrate if you must, but don't let the ability to go to a store and light up legally make you think you're more free, don't let THC be the opiate of the masses, and don't develop memory loss about more fundamental freedoms at stake in this changing AmeriCo. For real freedom, don't feed the stores that will compete and merge and take-over and consolidate into the same corporate creature that stalks every revenue flow; go chip a park out of the concrete.

* an archaic term for psychoactive cannabis
** an archaic term for the remains of a partially smocked grass cigarette, or "joint"
*** a French term. I only explain archaic terms, so you're on your own for this one
**** archaic term for grass*
***** archaic stoner music
****** archaic term for a joint** or maybe weed****