YOUR VOTE 2016 – NO on Propositions 56 and 64

YOUR VOTE 2016 – NO on Propositions 56 and 64
Hardy L. Brown. Photo by Benoit Malphettes

Hardy L. Brown. Photo by Benoit Malphettes

In case you haven’t already heard, we have 17 state propositions on the ballot for this upcoming election, two of which involve smoking. Conjointly, voters will be casting their votes on local measures. Provided the various propositions, this week I’d like to focus specifically on smoking tobacco and marijuana use. 

Growing up on a tobacco farm and having smoked cigarettes as a young adult, I learned quite a bit about tobacco. I specifically discovered while some people, such as myself were able to quit easily, not everyone can. Some of my siblings continue to smoke and have said they will carry on even if Prop 54 passes. They know the harmful effects and the high costs associated with smoking tobacco, but will find a way to decrease the impact of purchasing cigarettes by the pack. 

While supporters of Prop 54 believe smoking tobacco is too costly on our healthcare system and a health hazard, the same supporters argue marijuana is too costly on our criminal justice system and should be legalized for medical and recreational use. I cannot comprehend the support for smoking marijuana yet being against smoking tobacco for nearly the same reasons. 

I’m a huge fan of the blues and recall a song by the late Muddy Waters entitled, “Champagne and Reefer,” also referred to as marijuana. The lyrics went something like this:

Yeah bring me champagne when I’m thirsty.
Bring me reefer when I want to get high.
Yeah bring me champagne when I’m thirsty.
Bring me reefer when I want to get high.
Well you know when I’m lonely.
Bring my woman set her right down here by my side.

Well you know there should be no law,
on people that want to smoke a little dope.
Well you know there should be no law,
on people that want to smoke a little dope.
Well you know it’s good for your head,
And it relax your body don’t you know.

Everytime I get high,
I lay my head down on my baby’s breast.
Well you know I lay down be quiet,
Tryin’ to take my rest.
Well you know she done hug and kiss me.
Says Muddy your one man that I love the best.

I’m gonna get high.
Gonna get high just as sure as you know my name.
Y’know I’m gonna get so high this morning.
It’s going to be a cryin’ shame.
Well you know I’m gonna stick with my reefer.
Ain’t gonna be messin’ round with no cocaine.

Even though I’m aware of a number of African- Americans who mess around with marijuana (weed, joint, reefer), it’s considered dope to most and should not be used because of its impacts as described in the song by Muddy Waters. We have countless other issues including smoking tobacco that are destroying our people and introducing another will hinder our communities even further. 

I personally think those who want to raise the cost of tobacco products and legalize the use of marijuana are in it for monetary gain, in order to build their empires off the backs of misinformed impoverished people. 

I witnessed Black farmers in Sanford, North Carolina lose their land because authorities who were regulating the sell of tobacco would not grant them access to seeds or tobacco plants to cultivate the crop. Consequently, Blacks were left with providing all of the labor to harvest tobacco on White-owned farms while dipping snuff, and smoking and chewing tobacco. 

I’m afraid the promises being made to Blacks in California to support marijuana legalization and pay more out-of-pocket to stop smoking habits, is just another attempt to exhaust what little money the underprivileged have to further assist the wealthy. 

We are now stuck with the adverse effects of tobacco-legalized products and the same will ring true for marijuana. Muddy’s description of dope, getting high and resting, is the same today. 

Vote NO on Props 56 and 64.

About The Author

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