May we please discuss marijuana, medical or otherwise, and alcohol in the same sentence? If I were to try to poison myself to death by consuming alcohol, I could easily do so. That was proved in our community last year. Were alcohol illegal and marijuana legal, perhaps we wouldn't have lost a minor to alcohol poisoning last year. No regular user has ever "poisoned" themselves with marijuana and no one has ever died as a direct result of having smoked it.
Alcohol is one of the leading causes of vehicular death. As marijuana becomes legal, there will doubtless be more incidents of "buzzed driving." While I cannot defend this practice any more than driving drunk, the mechanics are different regarding attention spans, reaction times, and cognitive association with one's environment. Check the police reports, if you wish, but I don't ever recall an article in the Record Searchlight regarding an accident vehicle reeking of marijuana. Could it be that marijuana-impaired drivers are safer than drunks?
Domestic violence is fueled by the consumption of alcohol. Someone who just got high is inhabiting an entirely different mental construct than one who just drank. I have never met a violent "stoner," although I have met more than my fair share of obnoxious, violent drunks. Logic dictates that any drinker who is against legalizing marijuana is a world-class hypocrite.
There are, conservatively, 7,500 people in Shasta County who have medical marijuana prescriptions. Knock the dispensaries, if you wish, but they will succeed or fail based upon services provided in the market. Any dispensary that creates a bad name for itself will be out of business in very little time, without need for police tactics. I am sure that the people who smoke outside of dispensaries are the same people who drink in the liquor store parking lot. The ignorant will always be with us - drunk, stoned or dead-cold sober!
The problem boils down to an implicit threat of enforcing federal law over state law. This is patently ridiculous, as our president and drug czar have both said they will not prosecute. I would have rather our police chief had sent out a letter to all dispensaries reminding them of their responsibility, as businesses, to our community to regulate their clients' on-site behavior, rather than to have "blown smoke" at them.
The bottom line is that, like it or not, this is the end of an era. Marijuana will soon be legal in the state of California as we, the people, will vote for legality in 2010. Any deaths associated with marijuana have been from the criminal element. Legalization will remove that incentive, once and for all. We Americans are already bankrupting the Mexican cartels - not through prohibition, but through de-criminalization! We are watching very bad law under deconstruction. Those who would vie for control of anyone's mind through manipulation of law, regardless of the purity of their motives, really need to create a new paradigm.
October 11, 2009