“The War on Drugs” was (is) a stupid approach for handling drug use. Prohibition on alcohol in the 1920s didn’t work and the legal / illegal frameworks of the current era have completely failed. Drug use, particularly cannabis, is endemic. At last the “light bulb” has gone on and the beginning of a legalization process has begun. The concept of a legal, taxable, and controlled distribution has taken root and the government revenue agencies are frothing at the bit to get their hands on an untapped revenue stream. Enforcement agencies have better things to do and are looking forward washing their hands of the petty enforcement rituals they inflict on mostly law abiding citizens. The application of the laws as they now stand is impossible. A law that can’t be enforced is no longer the law. So there is really no choice but to create a legal frame work for drug use.
The following thoughts have come to mind while paying attention to the dialogue surrounding the legalization of Pot. It seems we haven’t learned much from the “Tobacco Debates” of recent years.
- Number one: The inhalation of foreign substances into one’s lungs is probably not a good thing. It took us a couple of hundred years with tobacco smoke to come to that conclusion and yet as an issue there seems to be little thought or discussion of the ill effects of just inhaling noxious substances, psychoactive or otherwise
- Number 2: The issue of second hand smoke – It is a given that pot is detrimental to brain development in youth and the very young so it would stand to reason that second hand smoke may end up being a far bigger issue in the Pot debates than in the recent Tobacco issue. Should children, or any one else for that matter, be subject to the ill effects of second hand pot smoke or vapour. I am looking forward to that becoming part of the debate. If you are a parent with young children there is a very strong possibility that your drug use will have a significant impact on your child’s mental development.
- Number 3: Will there be an issue similar to the fetal-alcohol syndrome if pregnant women smoke up? It took us more than a few years to determine the links between alcohol consumption by pregnant women and its detrimental effects.
- Number 4: The links between Pot use and Mental illness are out there but they don’t seem to be attracting too much interest. After all Cannabis use alters one’s brain chemistry and is that necessarily a good thing?
- Number 5: In Colorado it has been noted that legalization has created a surge in the use of “edible” cannabis products and that is creating a whole new variety of problems all the way from the control of product strength to how do we keep “doped” candy bars out of the hands of children?
- Number 6: How is Vancouver going to control or ban the annual “smoke-in” ? Technically the drug is still illegal, as is smoking in a public place, but the authorities have chosen to not enforce the law and the result is the mass misbehavoir of a large crowd who have no truck with societal norms. Will the city have to resort to using riot police?
Pot has to be made legal, controlled and taxed. The world is full of idiots and we can’t prevent people from acting in idiotic ways but at least we can generate tax revenues to do some good and get it out of hands of criminals. I suspect when it is legal Pot smokers are not going to be happy. The end result will not be what they wanted or expected. With the corporate interests of a new huge commercial industry to be protected along with the government protecting its new found revenue stream I suspect “home grown” operations will be strictly controlled if not eliminated. After all, in the world of booze how many individuals have a moonshine operation in their basement?
Pot has the reputation of being “a harmless recreational drug” and I suspect that is largely a myth. Here is a link to some information that may be useful in the ongoing discussions National Institute on Drug Abuse
While I am at it here are a couple of my more outlandish opinions and rants.
- Performance enhancing drugs in sport. Why do we bother banning these drugs? If an athlete chooses the drug enhancement route why should we care? The negative effects are self inflicted and as individuals they will bear the final cost. The standard answer is that drug use creates an uneven playing field. But once again why should we care? The list of drugs keeps growing and the testing protocols are always a step behind. The current policy has not eliminated use and has only succeeded is creating a huge expensive bureaucracy of testing and enforcement. What a waste of time, money and energy. Don’t we have better things to do rather than catering to a bunch of overgrown adolescents indulging in less than meaningful activities? To paraphrase John Lennon “who cares who is the greatest Bass Player / Tennis Play / Weight lifter, etc. in the state of Israel?”
- Sport and Pop Music both of these activities are meant to be recreational and if we relegate the activities to a cadre of professionals we are defeating the intent of the activities. Couch potatoes may be recreating but not in a meaningful way. Apart from coaches, trainers and educators I suggest that there should be no such thing as a “Professional Sportsman” or a “Professional Musician”. The top echelon in both of those categories reap millions of dollars for what are essentially non-productive activities. There is something basically wrong when we pay these people millions of dollars and yet quibble about the cost of welfare and paying productive workers meaningful wages.