saternow, lynn 2010

Lynn Saternow

The headline on Friday’s front page kind of reminded me of old tongue-twister: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood!

Adding to the headline it would read: How much pot can one man smoke (if one man could smoke pot)?

OK, my mind works differently from normal humans. But it struck me funny in two ways:

• How can anyone really say how much pot one man can smoke?

• Why do we still care?

Surveys have shown that 50 percent of the people in the United States have tried marijuana at one time or another. If you were living in the 1960s it’s probably 80 percent. Some of our presidents have admitted trying it, although Bubba said he didn’t inhale. Sure!

Almost everyday you can pick up the paper and read about somebody local getting nailed for pot or paraphernalia to smoke pot. When are we going to legalize this stuff so we can get tax money from the sale? We could probably pay off the national debt in two years.

What made this story special was that this guy allegedly ordered the pot — between 7 è to 10 pounds —to be delivered to a Farrell home by UPS. Holy smokes!

He could have had it delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, but it probably would have gone bad before it made it to his door.

Calling CSI! Why wasn’t the exact amount listed already? Was it 10 pounds when it was confiscated by state police, but only 7 è pounds by the time it got to the evidence locker? Hey, I used to watch “NYPD Blue.” Then again, maybe somebody had to sample it to make sure it was actually marijuana.

The big question is whether the suspect bought this for his own use or if he was going to sell it. Obviously, the punishments differ. The best thing to do is smoke 10 pounds of marijuana during the trial in the courtroom to prove that it can be done. (Better have a lot of munchies on hand.)

And if the jury foreman sings, “Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend, pass it over to me,” that guy is getting off free as a bird.

When I was at Kent State during the ’60s, trucks used to pull into frat houses with garbage cans full of marijuana. I think police just looked the other way because they knew in a year or two those kids would be heading off to Vietnam and some weren’t coming back. Or maybe they were getting their pot too.

I was a true, blue athlete in those college days and didn’t mess with the stuff. Rolling Rock was the vice of choice then.

But obviously, some athletes may like it. Recently a big deal was made that the greatest U.S. swimmer in Olympic history, Michael Phelps, was photographed taking an apparent hit from a bong. Then, it’s big news that Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes is charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. I wondered how he got so “high” on that Super Bowl-winning catch.

I’m not condoning the use of pot by any means. But with all the criminal activity in Mercer County and this country, it’s sad that authorities and the courts still waste their time with pot busts. As I said, just think of the tax money it would generate if it were legalized. And maybe people would stick with that instead of going to other illegal drugs. Besides that, probably half the thrill for many young people is that it is illegal. They can get more kicks by defying authority. Then again, most kids who get caught by police, probably get a severe beating when they get home. And they deserve it for stealing their parents’ stash!



The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for the Opinion page.

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