Marijuana 2018: Increasing trends in ‘Getting High’

With the enactment of Proposition 64 in November, 2017; on January 1st of this year, California became the sixth state to allow sales of recreational marijuana; joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada.

Massachusetts will begin selling retail marijuana beginning July first. The state of Maine has approved the sale and use of recreational marijuana also, but there is no set date as of this writing to begin sales. The enactment of this state legislation by those states further continually proves that the majority of citizens in those states traditionally seek to “de-unify“ from the rest of the United States.

As pointed out by Chief Ken Corney, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, “We are, of course, disappointed that the self-serving moneyed interests behind this marijuana business plan prevailed at the cost of public health, safety, and the wellbeing of our communities.”

The Proposition campaign, as reported in the Los Angeles Times Newspaper (Nov. 9, 2017), was passed with the financial support of liberal billionaires Sean Parker and the New York hedge fund billionaire George Soros; whom together raised close to $16 million, about 10 times the money brought in by those opposed to the legislation.

Among the opposition to the legislation was former Representative Patrick Kennedy, who stated, “It’s disappointing that big marijuana and their millions of out-of-state dollars were able to influence the outcome of this election. We will continue to hold this industry accountable, and raise the serious public health and safety issues that will certainly come in the wake of legalization.“

The California Law, Proposition 64, allows Californians who are 21 and older to possess, transport, buy and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes and allow individuals to grow as many as six plants.

The measure also allows retail sales of marijuana and imposes a 15 percent tax.

Why have the citizens of these states approved the recreational sales and use of marijuana? It is all about economics my friends.

The marijuana market in the United States now stands at around $7 billion, and California alone will top this, with an expected sales figure to reach $7 billion in just a few years. California, as with the other states whom have legalized recreational sales and use of marijuana, are in dire need of revenue…the citizens recognized this, thus passage of the legislation. Marijuana is now a very lucrative business…investors are being lured into it at a rapid rate. But is there another reason for the enactment of this law? You bet!

Getting high is the other reason. The people in the states that have enacted such legislation are typically known for placing their emotions over their intellect…“if it feels good, do it!“

The legislation that is in effect in California, and the other states, is in direct defiance and opposition to federal laws concerning the drug. The federal drug law lists marijuana and its by-products (such as hash-hish) as a Schedule IV Drug, and the use, possession, distribution, and sales of the drug are illegal. Texas, along with the majority of states are in agreement and compliance with the federal statutes and their state laws echo this.

California, in recognizing that “getting high“ imposes certain problems however, such as their city and state police officers gearing up to address the Driving Under the Influence laws. But what are other major problems that exist for the enactment of the marijuana legislation?

Just yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague concerning the news of California law. We discussed the news on television concerning the stores selling marijuana and marijuana products. My colleague watched one news station that showed a store that “resembled a bakery,“ selling cookies, cup cakes, and other edibles along with the pure marijuana products. Although the law in California and the other states are explicit in applying to “adults at the age of 21 and over,“ we know that these edibles, such as the cookie and cupcakes, will draw children into the picture; to include some parents and other care-givers feeding the children the marijuana edible products. And, as with alcohol beverage, there will be adult persons buying marijuana and the associated products for our youth; and this reportedly has already been the case.

Despite the laws in effect, marijuana imposes many physical, psychological and societal problems. As most of you readers are aware, there is short term and long term affects of using the drug. To review, the short term affects are: short term memory problems, severe anxiety, having delusions and hallucinations, panic, loss of sense of personal identity, lowered reaction time, increased heart rate, increased risk of stroke, problems with coordination, (impairing safe driving or playing sports, sexual problems in males, and up to seven times more likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease than non-users.

The long term effects of using marijuana are: Decline in IQ (up to 8 points if prolonged use started in adolescent age), poor school performance and higher odds of dropping out of school, impaired thinking and ability to learn and perform complex tasks, complacency, lower life satisfaction, addiction, potential development of opiate abuse, relationship problems, antisocial behavior, financial difficulties, increased welfare dependence, and greater chances of being unemployed or not getting good jobs.

Having worked in the field of alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency programs for almost 40 years, I can attest to the effects of marijuana use as presented to you in the preceding paragraph; and most disturbingly to the family unit. There are many myths associated with cannabis. One such myth is that it is not addictive.

This is a myth that has been disproven over and over, despite it being listed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM-5), and although there are those that are in denial of it. I often talk about a person I encountered in our program while serving in the military as a Drug/Alcohol Control Officer. During a random urinalysis drug screen, this person tested positive for cannabis. While awaiting his discharge from service he was provided counseling services. He told me that he did not intend to stop smoking marijuana, even though his spouse was adamantly opposed to it.

This person’s addiction to cannabis was so intense, that upon discharge he left his wife and two young daughters and moved to the wilderness of Alaska, exclaiming to me “where I can grow and smoke pot in peace.“ Now, that is true dependency on the drug. I have many other stories of this nature that I could tell you, but this is not the time or place to do so; cases I not only worked in the military, but also as a chemical dependency program administrator for the State of Texas.

To those states who are “toying“ with the minds of their citizens in the enactment of recreational marijuana laws, I say, as my colleagues and I say so often, why approve another mind altering chemical substance with its subsequent problems when we already witness the devastating effects of another substance, ethyl alcohol; the abuse of such which has caused so much pain and suffering among the majority of Americans. But then, this is a problem that the Californians and the other states enacting such laws will have to deal with…all of the complications that ensue. I hope so very much that such legislation never comes to fruition in our state.

Happy “toking“ Californians! Until next time, Stay Healthy My Friends!