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The Sheriff’s Deputy that spoke at last Friday’s Red Ribbon Week PTSA meeting spoke fast, since he had lots of ground to cover. We learned the effects of various drugs on the body, we heard which ones are abused the most in our community, and we saw examples of how students hide drugs at school

One of the most fascinating things I learned was that “music festival” is often a euphemism for “rave.” The Deputy said that when kids say they’re going to a music festival, it usually means they’re going to a rave. He described raves as having loud music, flashing lights, casual sex and lots of drugs. (Here’s the Urban Dictionary definition of a rave.) He said they’re often held in convention centers, warehouses or the desert, and any security that’s there can either be bought off so they ignore the drugs or is just concerned about weapons, not drugs.

Here’s an example of a “music festival” this weekend: 2009 Cypress Hill Smokeout Festival. It’s being held at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, which is named for the San Manuel Indian Nation. The San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino is also a sponsor of SmokeOut, as are LA Weekly, MySpace and Jack in the Box. In case you have doubts that SmokeOut isn’t purely a music festival, here’s a screenshot of the homepage:

And don’t miss Saturday’s expert session: “For musicians, marijuana has long proved to be a source of creative inspiration. For listeners, music and marijuana is the perfect stoner cocktail. Smoke a joint, blunt or bong, and kick back and enjoy your favorite tunes.”

The Deputy also informed us that much of the marijuana consumed locally comes from legal medical dispensaries. He said that kids will go and tell a doctor (or should I put that in quotes?) that they have a headache or some other pain, and will be prescribed marijuana for it. They’ll then re-sell the marijuana at the school for a profit. If you’re not sure how this works, perhaps you can learn at the Medical Marijuana Expo at SmokeOut. Don’t worry about having difficulty finding a medical marijuana dispensary: this past Sunday’s NY Times article, “Los Angeles Prepares for Clash over Marijuana“, says that, “There are more marijuana stores here than public schools. Signs emblazoned with cannabis plants or green crosses sit next to dry cleaners, gas stations and restaurants.” For the record, I voted for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes here in California. I never imagined that it would be this unregulated, however, and that it could wind up in the hands of children.

Hopefully parents will understand what this really is before they let their kids attend. And if they do attend, hopefully they won’t drive while they’re high.