Except in the areas of civil rights and medical marijuana, the legacy of the sixties counterculture has been largely superficial. Still, though the light has dimmed and gone underground, something in me would like to think the sixties phenomenon was a dress rehearsal for a grander, wider leap in consciousness yet to come.
Very commonly substances are criminalized because they're associated with what's called the dangerous classes, you know, poor people, or working people.... Actually, the peak of marijuana use was as i said, in the seventies, but that was rich kids, so you don't throw them in jail. And then it got seriously criminalized, you know, you really throw people in jail for it, when it was poor people.
In my neighborhood - west 121st street in new york, "white harlem" - there were only two drugs: smack and marijuana. by the time i was 13, some friends and i were using marijuana fairly regularly. the reefer madness myth was still very strong then, but i'd been into jazz and those lyrics included so many casual references to pot that it was completely demystified for me.
I agree that marijuana laws are overdue for an overhaul. I also favor the medical use of marijuana -- if it's prescribed by a physician. I cannot understand why the federal government should interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, nor why it would ignore the will of a majority of voters who have legally approved such legislation.