Let’s Talk Pot

I have friends and relatives in California who have prescriptions for medical marijuana. I’m not a doctor, but I think they’re legally doing the same thing I did illegally in the 60s and 70s (and maybe the 80s… who can remember clearly). None of them are degenerates… well, any more than they were before they started smoking.

I just read a story on Huffington/Mediaite/Politico about the DEA oversight committee in Congress. The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration was appearing. She was grilled questioned by Congressmen Jared Polis and Steve Cohen. They are both Democrats. They both disapprove of our country’s policies toward marijuana users.

“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis asked.

“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart replied.

“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”

“I don’t think any illegal drug is good.”

“Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?”

“Again, all drugs…”

“It’s either ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘I don’t know.’”

The scene was scarcely different with Cohen asking these questions.

“Would you agree that marijuana causes less harm to individuals than meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin?” he asked.

“As a former police officer, as a 32-year DEA agent, I can tell you that I think marijuana is an insidious drug,” Leonhart replied.

“That’s not the question I asked you, ma’am. Does it cause less damage to the American society and to individuals than meth, crack cocaine and heroin? Does it make people have to kill to get their fix?”

“I can tell you that more teens enter treatment for marijuana.”

“Can you answer my question? Answer my question, please.”

Neither congressman got the answer they wanted, apparently, before their respective times expired.

I graduated high school in 1968. We all inhaled.

I have friends and relatives in California who have prescriptions for medical marijuana. I’m not a doctor, but I think they’re legally doing the same thing I did illegally in the 60s and 70s (and maybe the 80s… who can remember clearly). None of them are degenerates… well, any more than they were before they started smoking.

As Representative Ron Paul so eloquently pointed out, it’s not legality that controls these controlled substances.

“How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would,” he said to applause and laughter.

The problem isn’t what pot does to you. The problem is what arresting 18 year olds (or adults) does to them. Does the punishment fit the crime?

Where would my career be if I had been arrested? I suspect many (most) of you could ask the same question and shudder at the answer.

When I was 18 I thought pot would be legal by now. By age 30 I realized it would remain illegal forever. Now I’m not so sure.

I don’t want people driving stoned. I don’t want students getting high (like they don’t already). The only thing legalizing pot will change is how many are arrested. I can live with that.

Note: The marijuana tax stamp pictured above is real.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Pot”

  1. I’d REALLY like to know how many people are arrested for crimes related to MJ. Alcohol, crack, meth, PCP…..THOSE are the REAL deals when dealing with crime. My thought is that most stoners don’t commit much crime….unless it’s a way to satisfy their munchies craze…… 🙂

  2. Illegal drugs are illegal…period…no matter who used them! Granted not all marijuana users become heroin or cocaine users, but more than likely those with highly addicted personalities started out with it and/or used it in conjunction with the other drugs. I graduated high school in 1969 and I never tried pot (or ANY drug), even once, and I’m no goody-two-shoes. I never could understand why anyone needs to alter their state of mind….unless there is something wrong with their mind….which I suppose there is if they use an illegal substance. Sorry, but I don’t think you can convince a rational health care professional that illegal mind-altering drugs have a place in society.

    1. Hi Donna – thanks for joining in.

      My point isn’t that pot is good nor would I encourage you or anyone to use it. My question is does the penalty fit the crime?

      Should a kid smoking a joint (Do they still smoke joints? Am I dating myself?) be excluded from a myriad of grown-up opportunities because he had the misfortune to be caught? Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton all broke this law. Geoff Fox broke this law.

      Would society be better served with me being a convicted felon or ex-con?

      1. I don’t understand why someone who is breaking the law shouldn’t be punished. If a person robbed someone but only made off with $1.00, shouldn’t he still be arrested? That person knowingly committed a crime. Perhaps some people think marijuana use is innocuous, but talk to a drug rehab counselor and you may see it from a different perspective.
        I wouldn’t care if those Presidents had been excluded from a myriad of grown-up opportunities, but I’m glad you out-Foxed the cops, because forecasting the weather wouldn’t be the same without you!

  3. Carol, if you have never consumed an alcoholic beverage, then you’ve never tried any drug as you state; and kudos to you.

    However, if you have ever consumed an alcoholic beverage, you have indeed used the very drug that has caused more harm than any other drug, (legal or illegal), and that has always been the largest “gateway drug” ever.

    Pot being illegal is idiotic when a far more horrific drug (alcohol) is perfectly legal.

    1. I so much agree with you…alcohol,by far has more crime issues,moods change to being obnoxious,,the worse thing I have found out about pot,is it is calming…it is better for controlling pain than the drugs vicoden and percoset whichdoctors so readilly perscribe…Im so thankful it can no be medically used in our state..

  4. Peter, I am guessing that I am the “Carol” who you are referring to and thank you for the kudos, as I do not drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or take drugs (don’t infer that an aspirin or acetaminophen would constitute a drug, please). I agree that abusing alcohol can be and IS deadly for more than just the abuser. As a member of M.A.D.D., I am well aware of the epidemic. But alcohol use by adults is legal.
    Pot being illegal is not idiotic. That is my conviction and I understand you and many others disagree. That’s the way of the world.

  5. Perhaps we should explore how to farm pot and when it becomes legal we will be ready to sell our crops. Lordy—Lordy

  6. Drugs are a public health problem, not a law enforcement issue. The drug war has been “the unwinnable war we can’t afford to lose” for generations. It needs to end now.

  7. I’ve long felt that possession of marijuana should be legalized (or possibly work more with the current ‘decriminalization’ that seems to be working- for now) but that operating a vehicle while under the influence (of anything, not just marijuana) should carry more severe penalties than it does now.

    Currently, in Connecticut, if you are arrested for your first DUI, and you successfully pass drug/alcohol education classes, your case will be dismissed and erased from your record. I’m not sure that this is the proper way to handle DUIs, which are a big problem in society, and occur across all segments of society.

    The penalties for subsequent DUIs are more severe, but it’s not the stereotypical ‘alcoholic’ or ‘drug addict’ that drives a car while under the influence. There are too many people from all walks of life that do this, and it’s one of the more dangerous ‘minor’ crimes going, because every instance has the potential to kill people.

    I have never personally had any issue with what people want to do in the privacy of their own homes. If you want to drink an entire case of beer or smoke some weed, be my guest. Just don’t do something stupid in addition, like driving a car, that might kill me.

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