Do we or don’t we? Should we or shouldn’t we? Oh the conundrum.
I came from the time when pot was ‘it’. It was with us everywhere we went. Almost all of our activities included smoking a joint and ‘having some fun’. I can speak with some knowledge about what happened and what I saw regarding my friends as well as those I didn’t know. There are myths and fallacies. There are truths and realisms. I still don’t quite understand why we, today, want to go there.
Is cannabis a necessity? I guess it depends on who you talk to about legalizing it. But one thing is very, very clear. The government is salivating over the amount of tax money they are about to collect when it goes legally public. I, for one, don’t believe that public policy of this importance should be dictated simply by how much money can be made. They can spin this whole thing anyway they want but it all comes down to money. It is legalized taxation. Period.
I’ll be very clear where I stand on this issue. IT IS A BAD IDEA. I can say that because a) I lived in the time and know first hand what many of the truths are and b) I worked as an addiction counsellor for 25 years in a local re-hab unit. I’ve seen and heard more than most out there who are suggesting that they know enough to say “OK”. Politicians are the worst at this because they have no idea what they are talking about and yet they will ultimately make the decision for us.
I understand that there is a body of evidence that says the health risks and the present time danger has been overstated. True-perhaps. But let us consider a pragmatic approach to legalizing it other than the money grab from citizens, some of which will spend more on pot in a week than they will on groceries.
Let us consider 5 reasons to legalize cannabis:
1. I wholeheartedly endorse and support the legalization for medical use only. NO questions. All the reasons to legalize cannabis are to benefit those who would be legally and professionally prescribed it by a fully trained physician. He/she would prescribe cannabis as he/she would prescribe any other controlled substance. It is or could be dispensed in the same manner and covered under health care plans just like any other pain killer would be. We don’t seem to have any trouble tolerating the misuse of narcotic pain killers at tremendous cost so why would we not use cannabis for the treatment of medically based needs. Certainly cheaper and likely less harmful than oxy products.
2. There could be an element of quality control which doesn’t exist with externally grown cannabis. Under government supervison the levels of THC could be more closely monitored.
3. The amount of resources that go into the ‘war’ on drugs is astronomical and could be diverted to wage more pointed law enforcement that would/could provide better protection from organized crime. Human trafficking for instance or prosecuting those engaged in sexually based abuse of children could get the attention they deserve. Besides, we were never in danger of winning this particular war. If we really wanted to win that one we needed to work on reducing the demand side of things and not the supply side–no demand–no supply needed–DAH!
4. Incarcerate the really big movers and shakers in the drug business but to be jailed for personal use of up to stated quantities for personal use is crazy making and too expensive. Let’s try community service if we feel the need to slap a wrist or two for repeaters.There would be much more room in prisons for those who really are a danger to society and themselves.
5. Covered under medical prescription cannabis could bring relief to many who cannot tolerate the side effects of cancer treatments. I don’t think folks growing their own is a great idea but they should have full access to pot as they would have for any other medical remedy.
5 reasons NOT to legalize cannabis:
1. Do we REALLY need to introduce another drug into the mainstream for our children to use and abuse. Does it provide ANY benefit to society other than to satisfy the nonsense about being everyone’s right to use it or whatever else they might want. If we were a community with no laws or norms to live by I’d agree. That is not the case. It is our right to drive at 100 mph down a side street filled with little kids but that doesn’t mean that we get to do it. What a terrible reason to legalize cannabis.
2. Like it or not cannabis does create lapses in judgement, reaction times (driving a car?) are affected, its use does impede the users ability to organize and co-relate facts, does effect physical health and well being, can reduce sperm counts in males, does or can contribute to the development of some mental health disorders, and certainly promotes lethargy. Our kids have enough to be concerned about while growing up without adults and supposed mentors, who are supposed to protect, guide and lead their kids as they grow up, condoning something that has NO social value what so ever.
3. There is some concern about how cannabis affects a still developing brain in adolescents.
4. Eventually kids will begin to use cannabis as a coping strategy to deal with depression, stress, anger and so on instead of learning the appropriate life skills necessary to live with every day living conditions. They will learn to take the easy way out of any situation that causes them any discomfort or challenge.
5. Cannabis is, in my estimation, an addictive drug. A very simple test would be to try to take it away from your teenager once in his/her possession and experience their response. There are withdrawal symptoms attached to prolonged use both mentally and physically. There was a time when the THC levels were low and that risk was minimal. Now with the advances in growing techniques the THC levels are through the roof and the possibilities of becoming addicted to the drug have increased dramatically as well.
Good luck with the legalization thing. We will pay a heavy price for this ludicrous decision down the way all for the sake of being able to say–“It’s my right if I want to smoke it.” Hey junior when your lungs have had it and your mental health is in the tank-who is going to pay for trying to keep you alive?? Not me–
Anyways, that’s how I see it–thanks for stopping by.
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