Is it Wrong to Sell Meth Pipes in Convenience Stores?
Or is it none of our business…
By Brandon Brown
There are people, right now, upset at a local business owner for selling something that people in their neighbourhood fucking need: clean, unused, and most importantly EMPTY meth and crack pipes – I know what you’re thinking: fuck ya, even just hearing about it makes me wanna go burn a puddle right fucking now. I believe that the real focus should be on the people who are faced with hot, full (or god help us not quite recently enough empty) meth and crack pipes and not on local business owner’s selling practises, and here’s a four-fifths-assed attempt at me showing my work. Bonus! my thoughts on prohibition!
Recently, a local business owner has come under some scrutiny as a result of their displaying and selling what are, to adult eyes, obvious articles of drug paraphernalia. And, not just any drugs: Crystal Meth and Crack Cocaine, the dirtiest drugs fucking ever – and, right next to the ice cream! Fuck ya! As a former methamphetamine user, I noticed the first time I walked in and there they were; while, sadly, there was no tiger tiger ice cream. Immediately a cascade of memories floods my perceptual field. Memory. Awake for days on end. Rolling the glass between my thumb and fingers. With others, yet, alone. I order my ice cream and leave – the experience is brief. I frequent this store often, the humans who work there are friendly, it’s close to my house. I feel welcome there. 4 stars out of 5.
People are upset that these pipes are here. Crack and meth are schedule 1 substances in Canada – they are illegal to possess. Obviously, people have these substances, we know that. People also obviously make money selling pipes that aren’t technically for meth and crack, but actually are. This calls in the entire question of prohibition as something useful or who it’s actually serving. Regulations pertaining to production, distribution, and sale of all pharmaceuticals would ensure at the very least that people were getting what they were hoping to get, assuming the goal is to keep people alive, which I highly doubt. Please refer to crack cocaine in the 80s in LA and its connection to the central intelligence agency for a great model of how to destroy a group using addictive drugs. Regulating the place of sale would also create an access point for recovery planning – just a thought, but it makes more sense than what we’re doing in literally every way – AND, to kick it off, they definitely wouldn’t let you sell crack pipes in places children go out in the open. Everyone wins, except for somebody. Whomever that somebody is seems to be doing a fine job of keeping things in their obviously not working state.
That’s a side issue at this point, or is it the whole issue, I’m not sure. Fact is, there’s a bunch of people in our neighbourhoods smoking meth and crack (hopefully out of clean pipes and not light bulbs or tin foil) in houses (or not) with their children (or not). Some of the parents in my neighbourhood are worried that their children will become desensitized to meth pipes and this will somehow increase the likelihood that they'll use meth - chances are these children don't even know what they look like. Maybe this is a great chance to talk to your kids about drugs. Anyway, the real children I’m worried about are the ones who are desensitized to the smoking of meth in their own homes, by their family members. The smells, the ritual. That’s what we should be worried about. If you want the guy to be a little more discreet, ask him in his fucking store – he’s a nice guy. Or are you scared of dark skinned people? Hell, I agree with the upset mothers and do-gooders in the neighbourhood, they probably should be with the tobacco – but the problem with prohibition is that there’s no rules governing the sale of periphery items. A good comparison is tobacco. They have to hide it. Boom, regulate.
So what can we do about people smoking meth and crack? Great question, one that involves every aspect of what it means to be a person. One’s family, one’s ancestral history, one’s stories about one’s self and the world, one’s physical form, one’s astrology. I read an interesting quote recently (read books, you lazy fuckers) by, I think, Allan Watts: “Change one part of the system and change the system”. This has wonderful implications in the lives of individuals and on the social system as a whole. Systems within systems. Someone has mentioned adding clean pipes to safe injection sites and the like. This is a good step.
Are we living with goodness and love? Are our laws just? How are we relating to people and their suffering? Can we feel their and our own suffering? Are we opening ourselves to the suffering around us? Have we closed our hearts to our fellow humans?
When I hear people concerned that someone is selling clean pipes to people who smoke meth, and they’re concerned about the sale of the pipe and not where it’s going or more importantly who it’s going to or who might live with them, I grow concerned about the priorities of our society. Offending someone’s sensibilities is more of an outrage than what has been an arguably intentional marginalization of an entire section of the population, in our own back yards, alleyways, and in our neighbours’ homes. We want to push these people, their problems, and their suffering away from our selves, our children, and our families. This is a natural response to something we don’t like or we think might be dangerous. I believe it is our responsibility to overcome this.
I mean, there’s fucking sugar literally everywhere. If you want to do something nice for your kids, start getting raging fucking mad at stores until they stop selling sugar, because your (comparatively) rich ass kid is waaayyyyyy more likely to be addicted to sugar than crystal meth, unless of course you – as a parent - smoke meth. Once again, for the people in the back, children of parents who smoke meth. Who is worrying about them? Somebody, somewhere. Not most of us, that seems to be for sure.
So, move the pipes. Ask him. I’m afraid of sketchy drug folks too. I don’t particularly want them around my house, eying up my shit, busting into my car when I leave the window rolled down and stealing my gym bag and change, buying their nasty meth pipes in my convenience store - but I don’t think that pushing them further to the margins of our society is the answer, and I don’t own a fucking convenience store. I don’t believe that ignoring a problem solves it, especially a problem that feels as good as methamphetamines feel those first few hundred times. I think the closer and more intimate we get with our problems, the more possible they become to solve and understand. I think that when people find something healthy that they love to do, no matter what that is, that there is less chance that they will become or stay addicted to drugs or live unhealthy lifestyles. I believe that human connection can literally save lives – can still the hand that ends one’s own life or another’s. I believe that faith in one’s self can sometimes be started with the faith of another. We have a lot of very bad off people that we like to pretend aren’t there or wish would go away – we need some very slight tweaks to some very specific parts of our system and I think it would work a little bit better. Maybe, if we realize that when one of us suffers, we all suffer, we can do what needs to be done.
Vote for me.