From Psychedelic Press Volume XV: One step forwards, and it appears we’ve taken two steps back. Perhaps then a side-shuffle to avoid the oncoming carnival of an ever-transforming everyday world, only to find that it doesn’t actually look a great deal different from our new vantage point. Indeed, the chains of identity appear to have been tightened. Have we not just spent decades loosening them? Morphing the metal links into fairy chains? For the psychedelic enthusiast living in society’s liminal spaces, this is no benevolent acid trip. It is the law. Or, more specifically, an additional drug law.
Every generation must be punished for being young. It appears like it’s our rite of passage into adulthood. A state co-ordinated beating to wake us up to the brutal reality we must live within for the remainder of our lives. Sixties and LSD. Eighties and ecstasy. Millenials and, well, anything they/we can get our hands on that is novel and un-investigated, unregulated, and—fingers crossed—unruly. Denied a private communitas with friends and family, a public rapping suffices to expunge the spirit of adventure and exploration.
Of course, if we all lived by the law—which in print I heartily recommend we all do—then perhaps it is a public rite. Remember to take your liminal victimisation, alienation, and anger into adulthood – it will serve you well and feed the feedback loop of human economy quite perfectly. Let’s be honest though. Not only will existing generations flout the existing drug laws and dealers the new Psychoactive Substances Bill, probably just out of habit having not realised the law has changed, the next one will do so with the full knowledge that their transgression is their private rite.
If the law wishes to be seen as the ‘other’, as an entity opposed to the people and not decided by the people, then this would seem the perfect act. Having said that, maybe one can’t live by the law until one has broken it? Otherwise, we would just be robotically following the bureaucratic web that’s built up over generations at the behest of brief public scares and the agendas of this, that, and the other. By giving us barriers, are they helping us wake up? I doubt it. Theresa May has no idea what she is doing (she couldn’t even be bothered to join in the Commons debate.) There is no post-liminal state of adulthood here, no right or left wing ideology, just knee-jerk, unthoughtful reaction.
Economy, stupid. No, black market, stupid. Unregulated free-for-all-dealers, stupid. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a far-right, libertarian anarchist, a mental health professional, a Keynesian economist, or an elf from dimension Let’s-Pretend-Nothing-Is-Happening, the Psychoactive Substances Bill just doesn’t make any sense. Sure, it’s not going to send any users to jail, perhaps only a few dealers, but many more will be made (tax-free!) rich as a result, and the health of people it’s been designed to protect will be potentially open to more harm than good.
I know, dear Psychedelic Press readers, I am moaning to the converted (and to those of you not in the UK, further apologies), but 2016 can’t be another year of one medical step forward for two legal steps back. I hope it will be a year of two medical steps forwards and a complete stomp and trample of the drug laws, and with any luck we’ll be ecstatically dancing the fox-trot for generations to come. With the massive proliferation of psychedelic groups, dinners, dances, and parties, it’s about getting involved…loudly.
This is the editorial for the Psychedelic Press journal Volume XV.