Tuesday, January 21, 2014

True’s Miscellany for January 2014 / Marijuana

It’s been awhile since my last post.  Well, I’ve been a little under the weather – although I hate to admit it.  The weather in Portland has been mostly mild (and that’s an understatement) compared to the Midwest and East Coast.  Nonetheless, I seem to have developed a very persistent cough that just doesn’t want to go away, or allow me a good night’s sleep.  No, I don’t smoke cigarettes or marijuana.

Speaking of marijuana, the President has made some interesting, if somewhat confusing, comments about the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.  Apparently, he supports the legalization of MJ in said states, but has also added a caveat.  If, for example, marijuana is harmless for responsible adults, why not a small amount of cocaine or methamphetamine?  I think this is a rhetorical question on his part and that he is not necessarily endorsing such a move; but he also seems to have articulated some potential risks down the road.  This issue is complicated.  I understand that.

Oregon, under its referendum process, is nearing a vote on the legalization of marijuana.  I kind of hope that Oregon voters, understanding the uncertainty of legalized marijuana and the resulting social construct, will vote the measure down.  I’m concerned about our young people.  Why don’t we let Washington experiment with their children before Oregon follows suit?

Now, some of you will be offended.  After all, some of you will claim marijuana is harmless, no worse than alcohol.  Alright, but is it OK if I disagree?  Such a statement of marijuana’s harmlessness is little more than ‘bumper sticker’ science.  Secondly, they will say that marijuana will not be sold to minors.  OK, and yes that same restriction has worked for alcohol really well, right?  No, once marijuana is legalized into the mainstream and readily available, kids will get it – big time.  Oh, you say, they already get it.  Yes, and they get heroin too.  Is that justification for legalizing that drug?  No, of course not.

I hope that Oregon voters wake-up and act like grownups.  Yes, I agree that an adult caught with a minimal amount of marijuana should be treated appropriately – a reasonable fine would seem adequate.  But, let’s not push it in the public’s face.  Let’s not imply to our children that any mind altering substance is OK.  As we all know, alcohol has caused untold misery.  But, we’ve learned to live with it, understand it, and theoretically help those who abuse it, with some success.  Marijuana is a social uncertainty.  Let’s see how it works out in Washington.  Oregonians, let’s wait a few years.

True Nelson
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