In the state where I live, Massachusetts, there is now legal weed for all. My town, Fall River, is right on the edge of getting its weed store. This is because we're a poverty pocket. All the drugs get here first.
By, the way, I keep calling it "weed" because I'm unsure of what to call marijuana these days, having lived through "Mary Jane," "dope," "smoke" and a number of other colorful names for the stuff. The state still likes calling it "marijuana," in the same way that the state has an Alcohol Control Board and not a "let's do tequila shooters until we puke" board. Government is low on whimsy when they're taking in money, but they're hysterically whimsical when they're passing out the money they've collected. As a reporter, I once attended a press conference touting a program teaching kids how to get a job in the construction industry. I was a terrible bonehead when I was a teenage boy, but one of the few things I could do for myself was get a job in construction.
But like a guy who's taken one bong hit too many, I digress.
In addition to letting weed become legal, the state is considering a crackdown on flavored pipe tobacco, various flavored vaping solutions and flavored cigars.
The crackdown is needed, we're told, because cherry-flavored pipe tobacco is "marketed to children," even though I hardly ever have to elbow teenagers out of the way when I'm buying pipe tobacco.
Still, the notion that cigars might be available with a light vanilla flavoring offends the consciences of the $50,000-a-year "facilitators" and "coordinators" who run the state's tobacco prohibition efforts.
The newly legal weed, I might add, will be available as lollipops, gummy bears and cookies. Presumably, children don't like lollipops, gummy bears or cookies. What they like is a cigar.
Of course, weed is good for you, and tobacco is bad for you. In just my lifetime, I've seen marijuana go from "a gateway to heroin" to "a plant that cures EVERYTHING!"
We Americans are not a subtle people. We believe that what is bad is horrible, and what is good is angelic, and all the ground in between is occupied by weak-minded people who can't make up their minds. This explains, not only the election of Pres. Donald Trump but also most of the furor surrounding sexuality in this country.
I started writing this column, in my head, about two weeks ago, when my wife and I both read a newspaper story about a coming crackdown on flavored tobacco.
"It's marketed to children, is what the government says," I told my wife. "I wonder who they think the target market is for cupcake-flavored vodka."
Cupcake-flavored vodka is available in every liquor store, as is vodka that tastes like blueberries, caramel or s'mores.
"I can tell you who cupcake-flavored vodka is marketed to," my wife said. "I used to BE a teenage girl."
I'm not that worried about the weed thing, though. The state assures me that legal marijuana will not be available to underage people, just the same way that beer wasn't available to me and my hammerhead buddies back in high school.
And so what if some of the new weed products look like lollipops and gummy bears. Everything will be fine.
Kids hate candy.
Image courtesy of Sarah Johnson.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a collection of his columns about the rise of Pres. Donald J. Trump, is called, "The Land of Trumpin'," and is available in paperback from Amazon.com, and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and Google.