(David McNew/Getty Images)
Published with great success since 1970, Doonesbury is the most famous political and social themed strip in America, with an important hard core of admirers here too, and is characterized above all by the choice of its author, Garry Trudeau, to evolve his characters, not to keep them in limbo as happens, for example, with the children of the Peanuts: and therefore in half a century of publication (the strip has been suspended since 2014 and since then Trudeau has only drawn the Sunday tables) c ‘is who went to Vietnam, who died of AIDS, who was embedded journalist in Iraq, and in particular one of them is Zonker Harris, a stoner, a hippy who has made “doing nothing” his philosophy of life at least until Doonesbury made him a small legal cannabis farmer seven years ago. Who would have thought that the immoral habit of the young long-haired Zonker would one day become not only accepted, but even a respectable business?
Yet it happened, American society has evolved – not in everything, of course, but that’s another matter -, and not from today: from the legalization of cultivation for therapeutic use in the 1980s to liberalization for personal use, in Colorado , now almost ten years ago, until the most recent measures approved by the new Senate with a democratic majority, things are in slow but constant change. And in Italy? In Italy we have a series on San Patrignano, which has caused a lot of discussion. To say.
Here the stoner is still a stoner, for a large part of public opinion, and in any case he is a stoner for the police. Hundreds of thousands of people have watched, over the years, the clip of an episode of One Day in the Magistrate’s Court in which a boy is at the stand, taken to court “for two joints”, and in the comments many wonder what sense it makes: none, that’s just the way it is. For the rest, there is no trace of the legalization debate. There are impossible things and things that are so realistic and simple to obtain and rational and common sense – a category now evoked by the whole political class – which, however, is not even mentioned, and cannabis is perhaps the most sensational example in this sense.
It does not matter that other countries are legalizing, that prohibition has failed above all in limiting its consumption, that illegal circuits are taking advantage of it. Does not matter. It just counts that it cannot be legalized. As if it were an axiom, an insurmountable fact, as if changing were a gigantic gamble. This goes far beyond the conditioning of the Vatican and the political traditionalism that continually refers to the Vatican, often without a real connection with what Oltretevere thinks. No, it is an absolute fact. Cannabis is not legalized. Why? Why not.
There are no arguments for not experimenting this way, all those who have been pitted in these long forty years of prohibition have proved unfounded and often ridiculous, starting with the idea of the gateway drug. Not to mention the fact that logically both smoking and alcohol should be banned, if indeed one were consistent with certain arguments or allegedly. The sign of an immobile country is one in which if you propose the legalization of cannabis they give you a stoner. Not to talk about it anymore: because there is no possibility of evolution for the stoner here.
In the previous legislature there were even the votes, a sort of majority, to get it right, but the opportunity passed. In this it is more difficult. In the next, there is no reason to believe that legalization will be a hugely popular topic.
And the decades pass. Like this. Without being able to talk about it. Without anything changing, stuck in limbo.
Pippo Civati is the founder and director of the publishing house People. He was an elected member of the Democratic Party and created the movement Possible. His new book will be released in June 2021 Ignorance has never helped anyone (People).