Thursday, November 15, 2012

One toke over the line, sweet Jesus

By Richard K. Barry

Sure, some guy named Barack Obama was re-elected president last week, but the really good news was further down the ballot:

A record 48 percent of Americans support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, just one week after three states voted to legalize the drug under some conditions — including Colorado and Washington's historic votes to allow the personal use and sale of pot.

It's complicated, and I don't want to get into too much detail. Suffice it to say that those who partake in these states have something to cheer about. There are, however, some naysayers:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed legalization, was less enthused. "Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly," he said.

Heh, heh. Cheetos, Goldfish. Good one.

Anyway, this all put me in mind of a song, suggested to me by a friend familiar with the ballot initiatives in these states. You may recall the Brewer and Shipley tune from 1970, "One Toke Over the Line." Unlike some songs like "Puff the Magic Dragon" or "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" that people suggest might be about drugs, "One Toke Over the Line" is about drugs. No doubt about it.

The best fun fact I found is that it was once featured on The Lawrence Welk Show by a couple of cast members, after which Lawrence applauded the pair's singing of this "modern spiritual." For those who don't know, one line in the song is "One toke over the line, sweet Jesus." Guess that was enough for Larry.

So here's the original, which is a really nice folky thing, followed by the version on Lawrence Welk, which is too funny. You'll note in the intro by Brewer and Shipley they actually refer to the Welk version. 

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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  • I often wonder if most Americans are aware of just how harsh our nation's anti-drug laws and the damage this does to the U.S.
    I read somewhere that last year, there were a record number of people arrested for pot alone. Something like 2 million people.
    Then there's the enormous fiscal cost of all this. Some 50 percent of the 2 million-plus people the U.S. incarcerates are locked up for drug offenses.
    Of course, the drug laws are only harsh is you are a low-income person. If that's the case, you can expect a decades-long, harsh sentence. But if you're, say, a famous obese radio talk show host, and worth hundreds of millions, you just get a slap on the wrist, if that.

    By Blogger Marc McDonald, at 3:26 AM  

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