They want us to relax, but we should stay paranoid. They want us to take their cannabidiol and believe it’s for our health. They want us to buy this project and believe it’s our free choice, the results of all their work to legalize it. They want us to feel good knowing that this drug is different from those other drugs, different from the ones that contribute to human suffering. But we should stay paranoid.
Who are they? As if I could tell you. They might be reading this. If we name them, they’ll know. You might even be one of them. In that case, this isn’t paranoia, it’s just self preservation. They/them/you? You’re all part of the conspiracy. You just can’t see it.
See, they’re the big biomedical corporations that plan to steal $16 billion from consumers over the next five years. They have always wanted us to buy into the same magic pills. They have always called traditional medicines alternative, then outlawed them until they could profit from them.
We think they’ve got names like Pfizer, Novartis, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche, but that’s not them. The real one’s don’t have names, but they’ve certainly got a market share.
Who are they? They are the food and drug administrators whose job is to stamp their name on every vitamin, mineral, and supplement bottle, to shrug their shoulders and say they can’t evaluate the truth of any company’s claims, and to stay out of the way of profits and branding.
Who are they? They’re politicians, arms dealers, and military generals that want us to forget the collateral damage that the War on Drugs has cost the world. And see, that’s a big cost, because the war started long before Nixon named it that in 1971. I’ll tell you, but don’t tell them I did. That war started in 1930, when Harry J. Anslinger came to head the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He’s the one that said, “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.” He’s the one that pushed to call it marijuana rather than hemp so it sounded more foreign and dangerous. But he’s just one of them, and there have been a whole lot more since.
Like the ones that pushed for legalization: they’re all the same. They’re the ones that want the US to be the most progressive country at the forefront of legalization, but they don’t want to end their war or fix our past. That’s just too profitable. That’s just too tied up with America’s ongoing exploitation of Latin America, right? That’s just the same old harvest of empire, isn’t it? And so is that prison industrial complex that profited for every racist arrest, every minimum sentence they pressed, every neighborhood they razed.
And speaking of securing racist profits, what about all those that were part of the underground economy before it was legalized? What about their felony sentences, which now keep them from fully taking part of the profits of the legal economy?
Who are they? As if I could tell you. Because, that’s where you might be a little bit like them.
That’s where you might be a little confused in your role in these schemes. See, cause you just want to relax. You always have. That’s probably why you dosed before it was CBD, when it was THC, or just good old weed.
You wanted to relax, but you knew it was a tad too unhealthy, a tad too socially unacceptable, a tad too associated with that bad black market. You wanted to, but it was too much.
But now, you promise yourself it’s healthy. You promise yourself it has nothing to do with exploitation. You wanted to then, but now? Now, you just want to relax… but you should stay paranoid.
Ruben Enrique Campos is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and works in the Department of Ethnic Studies. He studies culture and society, usually with a focus on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and class inequalities. He’s currently writing his dissertation on the Hip Hop scene in Mexico City, where he lived and conducted intensive fieldwork for just over a year. Aside from constantly struggling to write, read, and be a serious academic, he listens to music, consumes comic books, and exhibits a serious waste of potential.