Another quandary

‘Cause I was already a smoker, it was easy to get addicted. The one thing that they don’t teach you about marijuana is how addictive it is.
Merle Haggard-country singer

I have spent a lot of time here lately in one quandary or another. Most everyone is at least a little conflicted on the ground-zero mosque – they have the right to do it, but it is the wrong thing to do. One could even throw in the preacher who wanted to burn the Koran – he had the right, but it was outright stupid.

Now, California comes up with Proposition 19 on the ballot and I have another quandary. It is a proposition to legalize marijuana. It is true we have not been very successful in the war against marijuana. It seems like only the criminals are winning in that war, and the violence is ramping up. That is the beginning of my dilemma. If the war is not working, should we continue fighting it? And what about California? California is broke. Even with the “limited use” medical marijuana, it has become a huge cash crop, and California needs all the money it can get. Could marijuana help get them out of debt?

But there is another side to marijuana. Legalization is not all roses. Marijuana proponents are quick to tell anyone that marijuana is no worse than alcohol, but what exactly does that mean? Alcohol is only the worst sociological problem in the United States and most of the rest of the world. I spent 37 years as a cop, believe me, I know. If alcohol related calls were removed from the mix, the number of police officers could probably be cut in half.

Still, I would never call for another alcohol prohibition. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with alcohol unless it is abused. If everyone stayed below the level of intoxication that release inhabitations, change moods and interferes with logical thinking, there would be no problem.

What can we expect from legalized marijuana? First, it appears to be a gateway drug. From what I have seen, it makes people stupid. They act and do things in ways a person not under its influence would not – like experiment with highly addictive drugs. Anyone who thinks it is harmless is uninformed. If it makes everyone mellow and passive, why are police officers sent to so many marijuana-induced fights? Why have those same officers stopped so many erratically driven cars filled with marijuana smoke? Is it as bad as alcohol? Probably not yet, because it is illegal, but if it becomes legal, who knows? Is it better to be killed in an alcohol induced wreck or a marijuana induced one.

I find it interesting that progressive California has Proposition 19 on the ballot at this particular time. It is a time when California and many other states are passing laws against smoking cigarettes. Is marijuana less toxic than tobacco? Marijuana has most of the evil chemicals in cigarettes plus an intoxicant. Why would we want that?

Last, there is the question about the legal authority to pass laws on drugs. Drugs are the purview of the United States Food and Drug Administration, just as immigration is the purview of the Immigration Act. The U.S. government believes it is the final authority in certain arenas. They have shown that in the suit against the Arizona illegal alien law. Will they feel that way about marijuana?

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Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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