Saturday, January 31, 2015

Legalized Marijuana – My Thoughts

Pot is in the news a lot these days. Some want to make it legal for medication, and others want it made legal for anything and everything. Being one who believes in moderation in all things (including moderation), I’m somewhere in the middle on this issue. NO, I do NOT mean wishy-washy; what I believe, I believe firmly. I’m just not to either extreme.

To be fair, yes, I tried it a few times when I was young. I never bought it and I never sold it, but I did accept a few tokes when offered it a half-dozen times or so. Though I wasn’t a Christian at the time, I WAS raised in a Christian home, so maybe my thinking was influenced more than I realized by that upbringing. After a few times, I declined further offers, but not because I thought it was horribly immoral (anymore than frequent consumption of alcohol is).

My thinking was, first off, that I could have a beer or glass of wine and not get drunk, but I couldn’t take a toke without deliberately intending to catch a buzz. Secondly, the stuff tasted worse than smoldering autumn leaves, so there was certainly no pleasure in the process. Thirdly, my wife at the time was applying for a teaching job and, had I got caught catching a buzz with one of my buddies, it might have made her job search more difficult. Common sense told me to leave the stuff alone. I eventually dropped those two “friends” also. Now, many years later, I would like to see pot made ALMOST legal, and for more than one reason.

First, remember that the only thing accomplished by prohibition was to ruin certain segments of agriculture and business and make the criminals rich (such as Al Capone and the Kennedy’s). It’s obvious that’s what current laws do to today’s criminal class (drug cartels and street punks). It’s also said that the corruption is so pervasive that many of our top politicians and military brass is involved in the drug trade. That involvement goes back as far as the early 60’s from what I can tell, and I’m sure it hasn’t lessened any over the years.

Secondly, the only reason that it was made illegal in the first place was NOT due to overwhelming evidence of its negative effects (though that DID come later), but because the timber and plastics industries wanted to knock inexpensive hemp fiber out of the running for manufacturing. Unfortunately, the hemp farmers didn’t have the deep pockets of the timber and plastics (oil) industries.

My third reason for questioning the illegality of marijuana is that most of the negative findings about it have been based on smoking it. Even breathing the smoke from your weekend campfire should be avoided, as should ANY smoke, but that leaves the “science” on marijuana a little lop-sided. Like most studies, by most ANY group, the majority of such studies started out with the result they wanted and then figured out the easiest way to get there. Their conclusions may still be valid, but their bias and methods should be questioned. Injection and consumption haven’t really been studied much, except by those wishing to promote it.

Fourth, there is now overwhelming evidence that marijuana has at least some medicinal value, and perhaps a LOT of medicinal value. Of course, the LAST thing the drug companies want is for people to treat or cure a condition or disease with something as cheap and easy as “herbal” brownies. They will strive to keep it illegal until they can patent a process to extract the medicinal properties and sell their pot products without competition from the backyard gardener.

Fifth, we are taking kids who get locked up for pot possession, housing them with hardcore drug addicts and violent criminals, and then wondering why they don’t straighten out when they’re released. We are, in essence, TRAINING them to hate and to try to beat, an unfair and often corrupt police, court and prison systems. Why are we surprised at the results?

Now understand that the following is only my opinion, so yes, you should also keep in mind the old vulgarism about opinions and a certain body part: Medical marijuana should be made legal, so that only a doctor’s prescription is needed. Alternatives to smoking it should be encouraged, of course. Indeed, ALL herbal medicine should be legalized, since Big Pharma tries so hard to make it ILLEGAL. Possession, use and growing marijuana should only be misdemeanors, with no escalating penalties for subsequent charges. Under NO circumstances should it ever be deemed a felony. Growers should simply be subject to business and tax laws that any other business is subject to, and should be allowed to sell only to medicinal companies OR directly to those with prescriptions.

Marijuana used for fiber is entirely different than that grown for the drug trade and farmers should be allowed to grow it without interference, as long as it is sold solely to manufacturing companies or commodity dealers.

SO, there is my opinion; take it for what it’s worth to you. © 2015


Ralph Goff said...

Far as I know medical marijuana is legal here in Sask. I'll have to put it on my "bucket list" to try one of these days. I should also watch this documentary.

Gorges Smythe said...

I wouldn't suggest it, Ralph; it tastes horrible.

Chickenmom said...

When my father was in the last stage of his cancer, one of his doctors recommend marijuana. I wish I had known where to get it.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

My husband and I had a discussion on this since MO may go in the direction of legalization. Our discussion was what will be done with those in jail/prison for possession/growing (not related to other crimes or harder drugs). He says keep them locked up since it was a crime at the time, I say let them out because it would be terrible to be in there for something that is now legal.

Gorges Smythe said...

Just ask any high school kid, Cm.

I'm with you Kathy, it's not like it was theft or murder.