Puff Puff Pass

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“But why this topic?” were the words that came out from John’s mouth. “Why this, Ken?” Its not as if you smoke weed (otherwise known as Marijuana or Medical Cannabis) or have ever done so in the past, so why are you delving into the fray of such a complicated topic?”

When you ask those against the legalization, why they oppose the law, more than 90% would say that if allowed, it would destroy our society. They would point to opiates like Heroin and its devastating withdrawal symptoms; and how in the past it almost single brought down the Chinese empire. In fact, it was so bad that the then Emperor had to outlaw the opiate which in turn led to the first Opiate war with the British Empire-details of which are not for this piece. To sum it all up, addiction to the drug by their kids is what parents fear most. Let me put things in perspective; at one time in our Country’s past, Alcohol was illegal and its sale, a Federal offence. Whenever my thoughts stray to that period and the law in particular, I cannot help but chuckle.

When you ask those against the legalization, why they oppose the law, more than 90% would say that if allowed, it would destroy our society. They would point to opiates like Heroin and its devastating withdrawal symptoms; and how in the past it almost single-handedly brought down the Chinese empire. In fact, it was so bad that the then Emperor had to outlaw the opiate which in turn led to the first Opiate war with the British Empire-details of which are not for this piece. To sum it all up, addiction to the drug by their kids is what parents fear most. Let me put things in perspective; at one time in our Country’s past, Alcohol was deemed illegal and its sale, a Federal offence. Whenever my thoughts stray to that period and the law in particular, I cannot help but chuckle.

Merriam-Webster defines addiction as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction thus: “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, physiological, social and spiritual manifestations”.

The reason why I had to quote such resources is to show you my present quandary when it comes to Marijuana. From these definitions, anything could be addictive…Alcohol inclusive…If Alcohol (which is addictive) is legal, then why should Marijuana be excluded from legalization? Be it as it may, Marijuana has its social benefits; it can be used as a recreation drug and if America is a country that prides its self as one that allows its citizens to make its own decisions, this drug should be made legal with adequate checks in place to avoid underage/ indiscriminate use-just like the checks that are in place for Alcohol.

Also, legalized Marijuana will ensure a product standard. It has been well documented that some of the products on the black market (on the streets) are sometimes laced with synthetic additives, which could be dangerous to the health of the user. In a legalized retail market, before a business is setup to sell its products, it has to pass multiple health inspection of its facilities and products.

In addition to its social benefits, the legalization of Marijuana also has its revenue benefits for cash strapped governments and I think this is where the opportunity lies for such states.  The monies accrued from taxes off sales from each unit of the drug will be plowed back into government programs and infrastructures. Instead of meeting up with shady people under dangerous conditions, wouldn’t you prefer it if you could just walk into a shop and buy your Marijuana and walk out confidently? This is where businesses offer the most incentive and I believe that this would drive folks off the street corners for legitimate businesses.

The benefits of legalizing Marijuana far outweighs criminalizing it. Criminalizing it like the Alcohol probation in the 1920’s only enriches men of the underworld while cutting out the state from harnessing its benefits for its citizens. I applaud Colorado and from what I hear, states like California, Michigan are putting up the issue on the ballot later this year. Yes America is changing…Embrace change!!

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