On the cover of the latest issue of High Times, one will find a photo of Oliver Stone dressed in a tuxedo and smoking a joint. Stone is, quite unabashedly, a pot smoker. The controversial director is also a big fan of American weed cultivation.
“There’s good weed everywhere in the world, but my God, these Americans are brilliant,” said Stone.
As far as legalization is concerned, Stone says it “can be done legally, safely, healthy, and it can be taxed and the government can pay for education and stuff like that. Also, you can save a fortune by not putting kids in jail.”
“That would be my personal solution, but as a politician, I would fight for decriminalization first, because that is the immediate by-product of this mess that we got ourselves into,” added Stone.”It’s very hard to pull out of a $40 billion-a-year industry, which is the prison industry. It’s probably more than $40 billion. But they will fight you tooth and nail to keep these prisons as big as they are,” Stone said.
“It’s worse than slavery, per capita. In the black community, it is a form of slavery, this drug war, because it imprisons a huge portion of people, destroys their lives, coarsens our culture,” said Stone. “And why? Marijuana is much less harmful than tobacco and prescription drugs in many cases and certainly alcohol. This puritanical strain got started with Nixon. It was a political issue for him, and it’s gotten worse. It’s like the Pentagon. You can’t stop it.”
Yes, the modern puritanical strain began with Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs,” but puritanism is as American as apple pie. There has always existed a compulsion to prohibit anything fun and relaxing; that would disrupt the deranged Protestant ethic that suggests any idle time must be filled with work lest the Devil corrupt the mind.
Check out the brief video interview Stone did with High Times below, in which he elaborates on marijuana and the War on Drugs.