Thursday, November 8, 2012

We're Moving...

I'm moving to Colorado...
By now I'm sure everybody has heard that on Tuesday Colorado passed Amendment 64 which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. Ok I'm not really moving to Colorado, nor do I have any desire to move there so that I can legally get baked. But whether you support the legalization of marijuana or not this is something we must take notice of.
It's true Amendment 64 passed, and it is now legal for anyone over the age of 21 to smoke pot, however Federal Law still prohibits such use, so there will still be some battles between the federal government and state governments in the very near future. I'm not a pot smoker myself, personally I think it makes you dumb, after all there's a reason Spicoli wasn't a straight A student, but hey, smoke em if you got em.
Sure you'll have to be 21 to purchase marijuana just as with alcohol, but what the local, and federal government for that matter, have failed to understand is that the legalization of marijuana will initially be like Lennie from the book, Of Mice and Men. Remember Lennie? He had a new toy, a puppy. Something he loved with all his big dumb heart. In fact he loved it so much he ended up killing it. Why? Because he didn't know how to handle it. And that's exactly the way the American people will be with weed. We'll be a bunch of big dumb Lennie's. We'll get this new toy and not know how to handle it. Oh sure all you Phish followers out there will be cool, but what about the rest of us?
We haven't had any education. No real guidelines have been set. Say I go home after work, smoke a dubie then get drug tested the next morning. Will I pass? Will I lose my job? Isn't it the same as going home and having a beer? And what about driving a car? There's no testing, that I know of, such as a field sobriety test that determines if someone is high or not. Because of today's drinking and driving laws most folks know not to get behind the wheel after they've had a few drinks. We know the dangers. Getting caught, losing our license, killing people. We know this. So we don't do it. But think about how long it has taken us to figure this out. Prohibition ended in 1933. I can remember when I was young, my uncle drinking a beer while he was driving, and it wasn't any big deal. Or at least society didn't think so. Even though the affects of the alcohol were the same then as they are now. So will the legalization of weed be different?  Or is this one of those, let's just get it legal and we'll figure out the details as we go along.
Oh sure, I hear ya out there. But weed is a gateway drug! It will lead to coke or heroin. The next generation of our youth will be a bunch of Anthony Kiedis' living under a bridge. No, actually caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol are the gateway drugs. Grade schoolers drink soda. Middle school kids drink energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster. We sneak behind the garage and fire up a pack of smokes we stole from the Ol' Man when we're 12 and 13. Or we down our first beer at 14/15. Truth be told, most kids don't smoke pot until they're in high school or college. By that time our bodies have already experienced gateway drugs.
Honestly, for me, I'm all for legalizing pot. Not that I'm protesting on the steps outside to courthouse  for my state to legalize it, but why not? I know people bring up the argument, do you want your surgeon getting high before he cuts you open? Well no, of course not. I don't want him drunk, taking pain pills or sniffin' glue either, but he could. I guess that's the faith we put in our doctors. I'm sure there's going to be some cases where people make bad decisions directly related to getting high. I didn't want some Exxon Mobil Captain getting drunk and spilling tons and tons of oil in our oceans either but I don't think we should ban Goose and Juice because of it. 
As with every hot button debate, there are pros and cons, and the legalization of Mary Jane is no exception.
So tell me Lifers, what do you think? Are you for or against legalizing the bud?


  1. Ah, yes, Colorado. As another blogger, Terri, said - Rocky Mountain High. But I'm here in the OTHER state that legalized marijuana Tuesday night - Washington.

    I think that most people who are not users (I am NOT, for the record) would be SHOCKED to know how many of their friends are. I honestly believe it is a bit (a lot) more widespread that people believe. That stuff coming in from Mexico is not just being sold on dirty street corners.

    Here, taxes will be huge. 25% excise tax on sales from grower to processor, 25% on sales from processor to retailer, and 25% at the retail level. This is IN ADDITION to local, state and general sales tax. They figure average retail price will be $13 per gram.

    In criminal justice circles, they've already had training on impaired driving. Alcohol is not the only thing you can be arrested for driving after consuming. You can't drive impaired on anything here, and people are already prosecuted for it. Of course proof isn't quite as easy as a breathalyzer, but then again, it hangs around in the bloodstream longer, too.

    Here's another pro - if we legalized it wide scale here in the US, what effect would that have on some of the Mexican drug cartels? Just a thinking point.

    I heard a lot of arguments on both sides as we approached the time to vote on it. My favorite against it is that kids/teens will get a hold of it. Seriously, if anyone believes there's going to be a big increase in underage use needs to go hang out in a high school for a while. Or actually talk to their children. My son tells me all the time that 75% of his graduating class is either drinking or smoking pot. I've seen a kid right here in our neighborhood that posts pictures of it on Facebook. And no, I'm not in a scary part of town. That's a sad reality, and legalization has NOTHING to do with it.

    On the lighter side, it IS going to be something employers will have to deal with. Alcohol is a legal drug, and employers can't prohibit you from drinking off duty. (for the most part - let's go with generalizations here, as I don't want my surgeon or pilot working with a hangover) If marijuana is a legal drug, they are going to have to rethink how they approach drug testing.

    That said, we're a long way from stores down the street. It's still illegal at the federal level. There's a whole lot of regulation that has to be put in place. But in Washington, as of December 6th, it is not illegal to possess and ounce or less of pot. Of course it's not LEGAL to buy it, grow it or sell it yet (for another year), but if it somehow magically appears... at least we won't be wasting tax payer money prosecuting it.

    Wow, sorry, I was really long winded!

  2. Ally pretty much covered it all. I left a comment on her post as well. Having worked in the jail system as well as drug rehab in the last several months, I think I have a totally different picture of the issue than I use to. Being in fairly close proximity to Colorado, its what we are hearing about most around here.

    From a tax standpoint, I'm not sure why the US hasn't tapped into that market until now. Being married to an air traffic controller, I know that while an employer can not prohibit you from drinking alcohol there are some pretty strict guidelines and frequent random drug tests which include checking blood alcohol at his job. Even with the legalization there will still be some jobs that require a clean test regardless. I think that should just be a responsibility you accept when you apply for that type of job (which should include surgeons in my opinion).

  3. We are with you here in Washington. I haven't really given it a whole lot of thought. I voted against it here, but am now intrigued to see what affect it has on crime here, and what the DOJ will do in response. I still won't be smoking it but will be hoping for at least some positive changes.