I attended a rough junior high outside of San Jose, Calif., a school where the stoner girls at my ceramics table carved “Joe Elliot” into their forearms with wood screws to prove Def Leppard allegiance.
In eighth grade my friend started hanging out behind the portables with the stoners, which was weird because she was the school’s star softball pitcher. She could swing her arm around so fast that I thought it might dislocate and fly off toward the bleachers.
She smoked pot before school every day. Before long she started missing practice, which didn’t matter once her grades failed and she couldn’t play softball. She had spent years perfecting that pitch.
My friend and I attended different high schools, but I saw her at the end of freshman year at the mall, about 20 pounds heavier, with greasy hair and dirty clothes. I asked a guy from her school what had happened, and he just said, “Burn out.”
Gateway drug marijuana is now legal, used medicinally in Washington and 12 other states, with 15 states pending legislation for its medicinal use.
With California’s new over-the-counter cannabis sales, marijuana dispensaries have appeared like pox. The Durango Herald reported Nov. 8, that in Los Angeles, dispensaries now outnumber Starbucks Coffee shops, and almost match the number of public schools.
It’s real life reefer madness.
With the legalization of medical marijuana, its legal distribution, and the federal government’s pledge not to prosecute medical pot users, stoner society might have legitimized its panacea. Or, it might have found reason enough to claim fibromyalgia; not all those doobie café patrons have cancer, debilitating pain, or even a legitimate illness.
Most users likely work. If demand is so high that comedian Jay Leno framed a whole joke segment around the new medical marijuana industry on Dec. 3, then Californians can expect to encounter a lot of high workers.
Lawsuits now encumber California’s Department of Motor Vehicles for revoking the licenses of people with medical marijuana permits.
Cannabisnews.com posted Dec. 12 that Washington state ranks second on the nation’s list of marijuana outdoor grows, and advocacy groups work tirelessly toward approbation of dispensaries wherever medical marijuana is legal. Washington state is on the short list.
Making marijuana easier to obtain puts society at risk, especially when used under false pretenses of pain or illness.
I learned this first-hand in Colorado, living next door to a user who couldn’t even leave the house to light up. Her kids lay around stoned second-hand, and had to fend for themselves at meal times. Their grandmother fought for custody. Marijuana saps initiative, ambition and responsibility from its smokers.
The psychoactive compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) impairs the brain’s body movement coordination (cerebellum), learning and memory (hippocampus), higher cognitive functions (cerebral cortex), and other abilities with effects lasting one to three hours when inhaled. Eaten, marijuana’s effects can last much longer.
Consider marijuana’s effects on workers who multitask, or who safeguard others. How about the staff at your child’s day care? Bus drivers? Construction workers?
No one wants their ER phlebotomist to smoke a joint before an IV start, but if Washington state follows California’s lead in legalizing dispensaries, health care facilities — and all businesses — will have to drug test workers with frequent signs of fatigue and red eyes.
Some users insist their senses, coordination, reflexes and mental acuity are not compromised by the drug, demanding that science and observation are biased.
People frequently insist the same when their friends take their car keys to avoid a DUI.
December 16, 2009
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Marijuana saps initiative, ambition and responsibility