Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Oregonian, this State’s leading Newspaper, Supports Legalized Recreational Marijuana (Bad Idea)

I have been thinking.  I believe that George Bernard Shaw would approve – if he was still alive.  He was once quoted as saying:  “Few people think more than two or three times a year; and I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.”

OK, what have I been thinking about?  Well, today, and yesterday, I’ve been thinking about marijuana.  Legalized marijuana is going to be on the Oregon ballot very soon; and indications are that it will pass quite easily.  I’m sorry to hear that because I think it’s a bad idea – a very bad idea.  And, I think the public is misinformed about marijuana and the inevitable downside, particularly for children and young adults.

Why should you care what I think?  I’m not sure.  But, I’d like you to give me a chance to convince you.

The Oregonian, the State’s leading newspaper, on Sunday, gave their opinion.  “It’s Time to Legalize Recreational Marijuana.”

Who am I to doubt the combined wisdom of the Oregonian’s Editorial Board?  Whoever the Editorial Board is.  They don’t seem to identify themselves.  You might ask, what is their combined life experience?  What makes them experts?  Do they have self-serving reasons for their editorial position?  Do they now smoke marijuana?  Have they in the past?  Perhaps more accurately, the economist, Edward Glasser once opined that individuals, like make up the editorial boards, are “entrepreneurs of error.”  What does that mean?  Principally, he is referring to business leaders who furnish opinions when it will increase their own financial returns.  The Oregonian’s Editorial Board is, after all, representing a business that hopes to make a profit.  They realize that the majority of their constituents in the Portland Metro area will vote for the legalization of marijuana – so, hell, why not give them what they want?

I must say that the Oregonian’s reasoning, in defense of their opinion on marijuana, was a little weak.  However, it did cause me to think about it.  What was their reasoning?

1)     “Oregon has had a wink-wink, nudge-nudge relationship with recreational marijuana use since 1998, when legalization for medical purposes created a wide-open system that distributes pot cards to just about anyone with a vague medical claim and the signature of a compliant physician.”

2)     “But let’s be honest:  recreational marijuana is all but legal in Oregon now and has been for years.  Measure 91, deserves Oregonians’ support, would eliminate the charade and give adults’ freer access to an intoxicant that should not have been prohibited in the first place.”

3)     “Opponents of the measure are right about a couple of things.  Allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana inevitably will make it easier for kids to get their hands on the stuff, as will Measure 91’s provision allowing Oregonians to grow their own.  It’s also true that outright legalization will increase the number of people driving under the influence, which is particularly problematic given the absence of a simple and reliable test for intoxication.  There is no bong Breathalyzer.”

4)     “The potential increase in intoxicated driving is, again, a reason for concern, and the measure directs the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to recommend appropriate changes to the vehicle code by 2017.”

5)     “A completely legal high is only a short drive away for anyone in the Portland Metro area.”

6)     “The Measure appropriately leaves the task of regulating the new industry to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which knows a thing or two about the distribution and sale of intoxicants.  The OLCC would adopt the necessary rules by 2016”

7)     “As of July 1, almost 65,000 Oregonians had medical marijuana cards, and many of those 65,000 have friends with whom – just a guess – they share the fruits of the system.”

8)     “And then, there’s the big pot shop across the river – aka Washington.”

Now, I’d like to give you some of my thoughts.  First, as a matter of full disclosure:  I have a modest educational background (a Masters in Public Administration).  Sorry, no degree in journalism or any Ivy League background.  I’ve worked in local and Federal law enforcement.  And, I’ve worked in the corporate sector for many years as a Security Manager.  A considerable part of that corporate security work involved illegal drugs in the workplace environment.

PS:  I’ve never smoked marijuana or used any other illegal drug.  And, I have no financial interest in whether or not Measure 91 should pass.

To be continued…

True Nelson
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