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Society does not need legal marijuana

  1. Balzafire
    For my brother, I’m sure it started out as a social activity, something fun and exciting to do with his buddies. He was a teenager when he began smoking pot, and I remember the pungent odor, seeing marijuana cigarettes rolled tightly in white paper and the paraphernalia in his room.

    I was a child then, so I didn’t think much of what was happening. But I recall that my parents were frustrated and angry about his newfound habit.

    They had good reason to be.

    Pot was his first drug of choice, but my brother eventually graduated to harder stuff, finally settling on crack cocaine, a drug that would take him and our family through years of pain, disappointment and despair.

    I tell this story because it looks like California — where marijuana use has become increasingly mainstream — may become the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

    I question whether this is the right move.

    I am familiar with what the proponents of legalizing marijuana for recreational use have to say. They believe that legalization would reduce marijuana-related crimes and could generate additional tax revenues, and stress that pot is no more harmful than smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol.

    A poll published in last Sunday’s paper showed that 42 percent of adults who describe themselves as current users smoke it to relieve pain, while 39 percent use it recreationally.

    Last year, the American Medical Association reversed its stance and asked the federal government to reconsider pot as a Schedule 1 substance, meaning that it is a dangerous drug (like heroin or LSD) with no accepted medical use. The group called for more research.

    These are all arguments worth debating.

    I understand that not everyone who smokes pot will experiment with harder drugs. I’m also not against its use for medicinal purposes. If you have a disease that causes chronic and unbearable pain, and smoking cannabis eases that pain, then do what you need to do.

    The problem noted in a Sacramento Bee story, though, is that the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes is “changing the social dynamic,” essentially making it more acceptable to the broader population.

    Even with tighter controls on its use — as in the case of alcohol and cigarettes — I fear that legalization for recreational purposes will give more young people a reason to give it a try, sending an already vulnerable population the wrong message.

    From personal experience in dealing with my brother, marijuana is far from harmless.

    Whether it was weed or crack, drugs transformed him into a different person, one who cared only about himself and his next hit. Little did we know that that first toke as a young man would embolden him to try other avenues to achieve a bigger high.

    As a society, we have decided that there are certain drugs that we’re willing to accept. Whether we choose to indulge or not, many of us love our cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, which, by the way, have disastrous effects if not used in moderation.

    Let’s not add marijuana to the list.

    By Julie Lynem
    Aug. 15, 2010


  1. Balzafire
    And another:

    Legal pot will increase crashes, deaths, arrests

    Q: Hi, Monty.

    I’d be interested in what you (law enforcement in general or you specifically) see happening if marijuana is made legal by the voters in November.

    Are there any scientific standards for DUI with pot similar to blood alcohol levels? Is there anything besides smell that an officer might suspect pot DUI? (Consider that it may be ingested without smoking, as in cookies, etc.) Are there any field sobriety tests for pot? Are there any field “intoxilyzers” for pot? Do you know of any studies done with respect to accident stats while on pot? Do you know of any studies on the effect of pot on driving skills? Slowed reaction times, restricted depth perception, field of vision, etc.? Any studies as to the effect on a person suffering trauma, as in an auto accident?


    A: Impairment as a result of being under the influence of alcohol is no different from being under the influence of marijuana or any other controlled substance or illegal drug. The fact that something has altered a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely is the concern.

    With alcohol, law enforcement has been provided with scientific apparatuses that can measure the percentage of your blood that contains alcohol, and the state has established a specific number, 0.08 percent, as a guideline. The measurement is very simple and can be done within seconds and virtually anywhere.

    When testing for substances contained in a person’s blood or urine, such as marijuana, here in California a blood-urine test is required. Through this test, law enforcement is able to obtain a percentage or measured amount of marijuana in the person’s blood. As you can imagine, the results of this blood-urine test is not immediate and available to the officer to take into consideration at the time of a field sobriety test.

    Field sobriety tests are designed to measure a person’s motor skills and aid the officer in establishing a person’s level of intoxication, regardless if it is alcohol, marijuana or a mix of the two. Officers are trained to look for objective symptoms of intoxication and narrow their focus to specific intoxicants.

    The absence of an odor of alcohol does not mean that the person did not consume alcohol, but that may lead the officer to ask a different series of questions or check for other symptoms. If you are attempting to learn what specific field sobriety test applies to a person suspected of being under the influence of marijuana as opposed to alcohol, I can only hope that you never have to experience them.

    I have read scores of studies as they pertain to marijuana impairing a person’s ability to drive. There are similar studies pertaining to alcohol, paint fumes, mushrooms, cocaine and pretty much everything else, and I question why people use them. The bottom line is that people take these drugs and drink alcohol to change something — and it is this change that takes place and how it affects your ability to drive a vehicle that is the concern.

    My first thought when it comes to the possibility of legalizing marijuana is how it will increase the number of crashes, injuries, deaths and arrests. There is no question that this will happen; it’s just going to be how much more will it happen?

    I have no doubt that should marijuana be legalized, the scientific community will be there to provide a measuring device that law enforcement can use in the field. I know there are already some tests that can be administered in the field, but I’m not certain that they can detect anything more than the presence of marijuana, as compared with a specific amount. Marijuana stays in your system much longer than alcohol does. So you may not be impaired, but it still shows up in your system. This may not seem like much of an issue. But in those cases where a driver has been involved in a fatal or injury crash, is unable to perform a field sobriety test and his blood test comes back showing he had marijuana in his system, there are going to be issues.

    There are established and accepted levels of marijuana in a person’s blood that already are taken into consideration by the courts.

    But marijuana, just like alcohol, affects people differently. That is why a field sobriety test is given and a preliminary alcohol screening device is just a portion of this testing procedure.

    As you may have guessed by this point, I am not a marijuana supporter when it comes to allowing it to be accessible to anyone and most importantly to anyone who is going to be operating a vehicle.

    If you are one of those folks who have a medical issue and marijuana truly is the only thing that keeps you from suffering, stay in the comfort of your own home when you are not feeling well and do what you are legally entitled to do. But, please don’t think that while you are feeling no pain as a result of this that you can go out and enjoy the ride, at least not from the driver’s seat.

    Monty Hight is a retired CHP officer.

    August 14, 2010
  2. Kiddycrack
    SWIM hates how everyone assumes that since they smoked pot when they were younger thats why they are doing crack cocaine.. Its like saying this person ate a piece of pizza and then he killed someone, the pizza caused him to do it. Its quite ridiculous ISO
  3. Buddha2012
    Even though swims feel sorry for the person who lost his brother to crack/cocaine, it's not faire to marijuana users to say that the legalizing of it will eventually lead people to try harder drugs. NOW what it may do is cause people to want to try OTHER drugs, but that's a different story. If people want to do crack,cocaine,heroine , that's their choice , not one that every marijuana user makes.

    Responsible drug use = a responsible citizen i swim's opinion
  4. Balzafire
    My cousin-in-law is willing to bet that the brother tried alcohol before marijuana, so maybe alcohol was the "gateway" drug that led him to experiment with other mind-altering substances. Did the silly woman ever consider that? No. Of course not.
  5. mmmbreakfast
    SWIM tried alcohol and tobacco before marijuana. It was geting drunk at a club in germany and experiencing the high from first use of tobacco were what inticed him to try marijuana. He has since then tried many substances but can say with 100% certainty that alcohol and tobacco were his "gateway drugs". These substances are both perfectly legal and enticed him to try illegal drugs. When he started smoking marijuana it was the only thing he wanted to do in terms of mind altering substances, but when he was caught by his parents because of smelling like it he started drinking a lot more because it was so easy to conceal. This led him to have a problem with alcohol that he never would have had if pot were legal for drinking didn't interest him that much until marijuana was no longer an option.
  6. abuseforapie
    Just because this womans brother is irresponsible doesn't mean that marijuana should have the blame put on it. If he chased big highs, that was his own fault, nobody put the crack pipe there except him. Why should irresponsible people ruin the time for the rest of us? She clearly states herself that 'not everybody will use harder drugs' and 'if you have chronic pain and marijuana helps, then you gotta do what you gotta do'. It's already been proven that Marijuana is harmless and has medical benefits, why must they continue to fight an unwinnable war? People are still going to use it anyway. Fine, if they want to lock everybody up for toking a joint they can go ahead.

    And Balza is right, I mean, everybody knows Alcohol produces a much stronger intoxication effect than marijuana every could; and we all know how strong crack is. So if he was looking for the 'strongest high' then Alcohol could have very well been the ignition for this shit storm.
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