It’s been 40 years since the Woodstock event, and I regret every last moment that I didn’t go. At the time, I felt too committed to working at Newel to just take a couple of days off. I had seen many of the musicians who performed at Woodstock at concerts in Central Park and the Fillmore East; but history has sharpened the lens my loss in not joining my generation at such a watershed experience.
When I went back college for my sophomore year that fall, I had no aspiration to actually be a musician, let alone an antiques dealer; I was preparing to play varsity soccer after a respectable year playing on an undefeated freshman team (back then, freshman didn’t play varsity soccer). I had sharpened my game by playing in soccer pickup games in Central Park where everyone was a foreigner except me, who they call “American”. Good times, except perhaps for Vietnam.
Good drugs were also part of the scene. Any documentary about Woodstock can’t help but comment on this critical component of the event. It also proved that people who took the drugs of choice for that concert (predominately marijuana and LSD) survived and didn’t inflict pain and suffering on themselves or others.
This brings me to my point that talk of legalized marijuana and taxing its sale couldn’t come soon enough. We tax cigarettes, alcohol, cars, and just about anything else that could potentially harm you. I suspect that people who use marijuana won’t increase their use if they have to pay a tax on it no more that someone who drinks or smokes. Certainly the job creation and tax benefits won’t hurt; it’s hard to image that my generation can’t support legalization a lot more than the controversy over health care.
Perhaps the most striking example of how everyone can benefit from a reasonable form of legalization is the lifting of onerous burden of public funding for the police and court system to properly enforce the present laws. It is an eye opening experience to go to your local court room and see the absurdity of how much time and money are spend on an issue that should be cash positive for the government and not a drain of resources.
It’s been 40 years since Woodstock, and it’s also 40 years since we landed on the Moon. Not too much has changed in either realm. We haven’t returned to the moon because there isn’t anything there that we desperately need; marijuana is still here but it can offer us financial and other benefits we do desperately need.