Once in a while we like to go back to the past to see if what was predicted actually came true.
In this 1967 episode of the original ripped-from-the-headlines series, Dragnet, a smart proto-yuppie father being investigated for his pot use tells the LAPD's finest, Sgt. Joe Friday and Officer Bill Gannon, that “marijuana's going to be just like liquor — packaged and taxed and sold right off the shelf” in the future.
Daddy Paul Shipley was almost right: It's practically sold over the counter in Los Angeles. And in November California voters will have a chance to fully legalize it for those 21 and older. Friday wouldn't have been happy:
In the show the LAPD duo is looking into the couple because the mother's dad, a prominent businessman, is worried about the couple's “experimentation,” especially because they have a baby girl.
What's strange about the episode is that the mom and dad are made out to be completely responsible and reasonable. They're not happy when the cops show up asking questions about what they do in their own home. Both argue that pot's not such a bad thing.
Pot's illegal, character Paul Shipley tells the lawmen, but “in a couple years things may change when all the kids grow up and start wearing ties and going to the polls.”
Uh. That's exactly right. Except for the ties. People in the future dress dress like they're all going to the gym.
His wife, Jean Shipley, tells the badges, “Marijuana is no more addictive than having a drink before dinner.”
Of course, Friday and Gannon think pot is a “gateway drug” that will lead this otherwise upstanding couple to the curb in no time. Every kid they arrest for LSD “has marijuana in his pocket,” Friday sneers.
And, of course, the LAPD go-getters end up being right in the end. As the couple holds a pot party and Friday and company burst in, something tragic happens.
“The Big High” episode is billed, like all Dragnet shows, as a true story. Papa Shipley, the show tisk-tisks, is convicted. Jean Shipley heads to a mental institution.
So watch that weed people, because it will bite you on the ass. Or not.
We're not sure what's better, however, the 1967 version of weed, in which yuppie couples do it casually once in a while, or the 2010 version, in which everyone does it, but pot shops get robbed, people get killed and we're not sure from which syndicate the stuff comes from.
The worst thing about marijuana today is not its high, but its bloody road.
The best thing about cannabis in 1967?
“A bag like this goes for $15,” says Friday. “It's called a lid.”
An image of joints and a pack of “Happy Trip” rolling papers flashes on screen.
“The finished cigarette is called a joint,” he says. “It sells on the street from .50 to .75 cents.”
Those were the days.