Will Rogers had it right when he suggested the American people were smarter than their elected political leaders. So was his fellow humorist Samuel Clements, who wrote under the pen name of Mark Twain.
Neither of them had high regard for the Washington D.C. crowd who we poor, uneducated citizens send to the nation's capital to decide our collective fate. Rogers and Clements were both poker players, by the way. And I can't swear to it...
...but I suspect they partook of a plant known in the Caribbean as the Blessed Herb but which we call marijuana.
When the citizens of Nevada voted to legalize marijuana, America's soothsayers groaned and predicted the nation was going to hell. They thought the populace had lost its mind and that Las Vegas, Reno, Carson City and Searchlight where retired Senator Harry Reid was born would be swept up by a maelstrom of crime.
Guess what, folks? It didn't happen.
Since the legislation was enacted making pot legal, crime is down. People are happier. They smile at one another on the street. And they go about their business of being happy, productive and sane.
On my last trip to Las Vegas, I drove down Tropicana Boulevard and stopped at one of the many marijuana shops that dot the city. I had trouble finding a parking space in the parking lot and was forced to leave my car at a Mexican restaurant adjacent to the place.
I entered the building and saw three employees. They were smiling and welcomed me to Las Vegas.
"How are things since you guys opened up for business?," I said.
They glanced at each other and began laughing.
"Wonderful!," they said in chorus. "Things have never been better."
I walked into the room where they dispensed different types of cannabis, herbal oils, and other products including a Willie Nelson special. Half a dozen clerks were busy assisting customers in the crowded room.
A cute blond in her 20s wearing a hippie headband asked if she could assist me.
"Everybody seems happy," I noted. "Are you happy with your job?"
She leaned forward with a disarming smile. "This is the best place I ever worked," she said. "In the past, I dreaded going to the office, but now I can't wait to get here and help people find peace and live better lives."
And I am saying this to people who condemn marijuana, one of the most innocent plants on the face of the earth. That is what the blessed herb does for you.
After I made my selection, I drove to The Orleans resort about two miles down Tropicana. I checked into the casino resort, dumped my luggage in my room, and headed for the poker room. A tournament was about to start and I signed up for it.
I called one of the poker room supervisors aside and asked him how his customers were behaving since marijuana went on sale.
"Believe it or not, they're fantastic," he said. "They are more mellow and they're better behaved than before."
I asked him if he used the plant in his personal life.
"Next question, please?" he said merrily.
Author: Geno Lawrenzi Jr.
(Geno Lawrenzi Jr. is an international journalist, magazine author and ghostwriter and poker player who lives in Phoenx, AZ. He has published 2,000 articles in 50 magazines and 125 newspapers. If you want to share a gambling story or book idea with him, send an email to email@example.com ).
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