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Marijuana Legalization Debate: A rational look. | The Allegiant

Marijuana Legalization Debate: A rational look



Marijuana legalization debate by Philip Bonifonte

marijuana legalization debateWith the recent pas­sage of Ini­tia­tive 502 in the State of Wash­ing­ton and the Col­orado Amend­ment 64 it might be time to take a breath, step back and take a ratio­nal look at mar­i­juana legal­iza­tion debate and a few of the lin­ger­ing stereo­types, half-truths and out­right lies that are still mak­ing the rounds among the less-knowledgeable of the population.

Ini­tia­tive 502 basi­cally makes it legal for adults over 21 to pos­sess and smoke mar­i­juana, but there are still many caveats in these bills that the pub­lic should know about. Smok­ing in pub­lic will be a civil infrac­tion; per­sonal “grows” in the home are still ille­gal, except for cer­ti­fied med­ical mar­i­juana patients. DUI pro­vi­sions are heav­ily empha­sized, with lim­its of 5 nanograms of THC per mil­li­liter of blood, but how this will apply to med­ical mar­i­juana users remains to be seen. There is also a ques­tion in this regard as to the long res­i­dency time of THC in the body – it is pos­si­ble to have these lev­els yet not be impaired.

DUI … which brings us to my first point, namely that many peo­ple that are against legal­iza­tion of any sort insist that smok­ing weed and dri­ving is just as dan­ger­ous as drunk dri­ving. While I agree that in prin­ci­ple both sub­stances will affect one’s dri­ving abil­i­ties, I would add that the actual effects of them are as dif­fer­ent as night and day. Alco­hol often gives a per­son “beer mus­cles” and brings out the aggres­sive, extro­verted side of their per­son­al­ity. When they drive they tend to speed, over­es­ti­mate their abil­i­ties and either ignore or totally miss traf­fic con­trol devices such as stop signs and traf­fic lights.

The typ­i­cal mar­i­juana smoker, on the other hand, will usu­ally be seen dri­ving 15 MPH in a 40 MPHzone. They are more likely to fall asleep at a stop sign than run it, and their gen­eral atti­tude is one of intro­ver­sion, under­es­ti­mat­ing their abil­i­ties and erring on the side of being overly-cautious.

Which would I rather deal with on the street? Can you guess? At least I stand a chance with the pot smoker – the alco­hol con­sumer, I won’t see THEM until the very last moment when it’s too late to avoid them.


BRAIN DAMAGE … oppo­nents of mar­i­juana point to research find­ings that indi­cate brain dam­age, mem­ory loss, loss of IQ and other afflic­tions as a result of smok­ing mar­i­juana. They claim these as fact, when in actu­al­ity they are noth­ing more than the results of research that really could have gone either way. The choice of sub­jects, the sci­en­tific method that is fol­lowed (or not), con­fus­ing cor­re­la­tion with cau­sa­tion – all will lead to erro­neous results and even more erro­neous con­clu­sions. While I agree that there is often some short-term mem­ory loss involved in smok­ing herb (“Where’s my hat? Oh my God I can’t find my HAT!!!”), long-term mem­ory loss, as well as the other losses cited, do not occur in the major­ity of smok­ers that exer­cise a mod­icum of restraint in their smok­ing. If you blaze through a few dozen bong-fulls of Pur­ple Haze morn­ing, noon and night of COURSE you’re going to expe­ri­ence prob­lems – that’s true of the abuse of ANY sub­stance, be it weed, aspirin or bot­tled water.

LOSS OF INTELLIGENCE … yeah, explain THATone to the hun­dreds of high-achievers such as Sir Richard Bran­son, Michael Phelps and Barack Obama that reg­u­larly par­take (par­took?) of the herb. As a result of a bat­tery of tests I had to take a few years ago for a high-security posi­tion I know that my OWN IQ has not only NOT fallen, but has actu­ally INCREASED since I started smok­ing, a span of over 35 years.

Go fig­ure.

WEED DESTROYS YOUNG MINDS … well, to that I would say that ANY sub­stance that has the poten­tial to alter one’s per­cep­tions, whether legal or not, should be avoided in one’s youth. Of course, that would kill a large por­tion of the pre­scrip­tion drug trade, because they’d lose out on all those bil­lions they make from con­trol drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro, among hun­dreds of oth­ers given like M&Ms to our kids.

That’s why the “Over 21” stip­u­la­tion on the new bills is, I believe, a won­der­ful idea.

WEED IS A GATEWAY DRUG … and here I thought we were in the 21st cen­tury! The facts are that (1) an addic­tive per­son­al­ity will advance through the ranks of their per­sonal Hell, start­ing with the most eas­ily pro­cured; alco­holics start with beer and work their way up (or down) to White Light­ning and Mad Dog. Drug abusers will start with weed sim­ply because it is the cheap­est and eas­i­est to score in the neighborhood.

But just as every drinker is not a drunk, so too every smoker is not an addict. Once again, cor­re­la­tion is NOT equal to causation.

WEED MUST BE ILLEGAL FOR A GOOD REASON … yeah, and that “good rea­son” is that start­ing back in 1930 we had such lumi­nar­ies as Harry Anslinger and William Ran­dolph Hearst who used yel­low jour­nal­ism, prej­u­dice and strong-arm tac­tics to make mar­i­juana ille­gal for the ben­e­fit of their own hid­den agen­das – Anslinger to fur­ther his posi­tion as head of the newly-formed Fed­eral Bureau of Nar­cotics, and Hearst to pro­tect his tim­ber inter­ests (hemp was a direct com­peti­tor to wood and pulp prod­ucts – a supe­rior one, in fact).

Throw in a church-funded pro­pa­ganda film such as Reefer Mad­ness and you had the masses fear­ing the wild-eyed, piano-playing Mary Jane addicts that would come and devour their chil­dren in the dark of night.

Me, I pre­fer Twinkies, but c’est la vie.

WEED IS STILL ILLEGAL FEDERALLY … I think that says more of the duplic­i­tous jug­ger­naut that is the U.S. Gov­ern­ment than any­thing else. Obama sent his Fed­eral stormtroop­ers into California’s State-legal med­ical mar­i­juana dis­pen­saries start­ing in the late months of 2011, where they smashed win­dows and dis­play cases, arrested legit­i­mate users and dis­trib­u­tors en masse and, in the process, broke Obama’s vow of “leav­ing them alone”.

Well, Obama has said the same thing again now in regard to Wash­ing­ton and Col­orado, so let’s just sit back and see, shall we?


Posted by on Nov 22 2013. Filed under Front Page, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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