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Yes It’s True: We’re still pot crazy after all these years

Even after all these years, there still are people in our midst who believe that marijuana is an evil substance, a gateway drug.

I noticed this continuing phenomenon, which has reached the sensibility of the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century, in the wake of the news that the Wayland City Planning Commission will have its first public hearing regulating the sale, possession and distribution of “the evil weed.”

I have grown more than weary of the hysteria that has surrounded this so-called issue that I thought finally was settled, at least in Michigan, by 56 percent of voters statewide who four years ago approved a ballot proposal to make recreational marijuana legal. A proposition in 2008 to legalize recreational marijuana use was passed handily in 2008.

And now comes a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives to make recreational pot legal nationwide.

Opposition to making weed legal largely has been the crusades of religious fundamentalists, the prison industry, the alcohol lobby and the pharmaceutical industry. The latter three have an obvious financial interest in continuing the horribly failed policies of the past that made otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.

I remember Jack Webb on TV’s “Dragnet” in 1969 referring to marijuana as a gateway drug, arguing that a high percentage of cocaine and heroin addicts started out on pot. My response was that his stat was meaningless because probably 99% of all alcoholics started out on milk.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I did indeed smoke marijuana during my college years, from 1968 to 1970 and then quit out of fears of getting caught. But rather than tell everybody I was glad to get off the evil weed, I declared that, “I had a good time.”

Way back in those days there were those who held on to the ridiculous notion that marijuana was addictive. Some believe it to this day. I listened to two township board trustees wax eloquent about their concerns for babies born addicted because their mothers had smoked the stuff.

I remember all too well President Richard M. Nixon declaring War of Drugs in 1971, a war that was hopelessly lost and tossed a whole bunch of public money down the toilet. I remember taking pictures of proud police officers with their harvests of weed they found in out of the way locations, foolishly thinking they somehow had made the world a better place.

On a more personal note, I had a friend in college who was caught selling marijuana and was sentenced to 60 days in jail and was deported back to his native England. I never saw him again and I was glad he never squealed on me and my comrades.

After all of those years in the Dark Ages I came to the conclusion that making pot illegal was a lot like Prohibition of alcohol from 1919 to 1933, a worthless adventure that only served to increase crime.

Yet fears of “brain chromosome damage” and other tall tales live on even to this day, proven by the reluctance of authorities and lawmakers to implement provisions approved twice by a majority of voters in Michigan.

I was glad to hear that the state-wide ballot proposal approved in 2018 would regulate pot much like alcohol because people shouldn’t use it when they drive and they shouldn’t be able to toke up anywhere they wish. Like so many other things, it needs to regulated with common sense rules.

Know this, people. The public hearing May 10 will not encourage any debate about the pros and cons of marijuana use. That ship sailed a long time ago. The discussion will be about where, when and how marijuana can be bought, sold, distributed and processed. That is all.

17 Comments

  • The author maintains pot is not a gateway drug to other, more destructive substances. I vehemently disagree.

    I had a relation (cousin) who was an average student, loved to play sports. An older classmate introduced him to pot and he took to it like a seal to water. He lost all interest in school, sports, and frankly became a bum.
    Over the next 40 years he married, had 2 kids with his wife, divorced, and fled the state. All during his early married life he never had a steady job, but could always scrounge up money for drugs.
    He ended up in jail a few times for passing bad checks/shoplifting/stealing. He worked on oil rigs for a few years in the Gulf of Mexico and quit. He ended up out West and eventually died from cancer. Before he left this world he helped his girlfriend overdose on heroin. He never did get off the drug habit till the day he died.
    I had a friend from high school get drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam, where he discovered pot and hashish. When he was discharged, he came home a committed pothead and started mainlining heroin and snorting coke because the pot wasn’t enough kick for him anymore. He couldn’t keep a job and beat his wife before divorcing. The last time I saw him he was a shell of his former self. From 180 lbs. of muscle to 120 lbs. of skin and bones – didn’t even recognize him until he called to me.

    These are but two examples I’ve personally witnessed the transformation from healthy individuals to mental and physical wrecks. There are many factors creating a productive life, but drugs of any kind hinders and can destroy it. You can criticize my post all you want (and will, I’m sure) but I’m sure many others have been affected or know others having been touched by drug abuse. And I include alcohol in that mix.
    I would hope the City Council would pass on this issue, but I know they won’t. Money or the fear of being sued is foremost in their minds.
    So be it. God help us!

  • I have experienced the effects of pot firsthand. Nothing good comes from it. You plant a demon seed, you raise a flower of fire.

    Please tell your children and grandchildren the downfalls of pot. Look at the marvels pot has brought to Amsterdam. To use a Trump term…. a real S. Hole.

  • Yes, DTOM’s comment is purely anecdotal, with no suggestion of causation. I could cite marijuana users with long term marriages, successful careers, well reared children. Did their use of cannabis cause those good outcomes?

    • And they brag to their spouse, children, family and co-workers they were former or an active pothead… that would explain a lot of strange behavior over the years. Pot does nobody any good except to sedate them. Don’t delude yourselves otherwise.
      You can put a dress and lipstick on a pig, but it’s still swine.

  • Marijuana has at least 6 cancer causing substances, please remember that when you cheerlead in support of its use.

    • Most of the supporters of pot are or have been heavy users and many have tried other more destructive drugs. Some are in the cycle of abuse and experience Hell frequently after the euphoria on injecting or snorting their poison of choice. Such is the cycle of decadence and privilege to abuse themselves and get others involved. Our society continues the downward slide into the abyss.

      • I recall the line as
        “A friend of mine got busted and they gave him 30 Years”
        Same song as marijuana being more fun than beer by Phil Ochs titled
        “Love me, Love me, I am a liberal”
        A song that DTOM, Army Bob, and friends would also find amusing.
        It’s time folks sat down and had a few laughs together.
        Hopefully beer drinking is permitted.

    • “Smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer,” you say, Mr. G. More fun, Fred? I don’t know. Smoking weed can be a lot of fun, no doubt about that. But as you well know, I do like drinking beer too. Fortunately, one needn’t choose. Maybe in some states, it’s still a no-no, but Michigan has enacted legislation that regard, to provide for individual freedom and liberty.

  • I’m surprised that no one has argued that even the legalization of marijuana has apparently not lessened the stigma of its use.
    Judging by the remarks of some here, one might feel judged negatively by these writers even if their use of marijuana were a legitimate avenue to relief from many medical conditions, including debilitating pain, suicidal depression, and crippling anxiety.
    I find some of the comments offered to be rather inane. For example, to cite that marijuana has carcinogenic compounds it it seems rather ridiculous considering that one can find carcinogens in almost everything that surrounds us daily. Each of us makes choices about where and to which cancer-causing agents we expose ourselves.
    In addition, to make a broad claim that “most of the supporters of pot are or have been heavy users” is irresponsible because there are no citations or statistics to back up that assertion. We cannot possibly know if this is true or an emotional outburst.
    I have known pot users whose lives have turned to sh*t. I have known pot users whose lives have not. I have known smokers, drinkers, gamblers, etc. who fall into both categories. And the arguments can go on ad infinitum.
    As with all things, the goal to strive for is moderation. As is the goal to teach our children well in allowing to make educated, moral, ethical decisions about alcohol, sex, and all of life’s encounters.
    The reality is that pot is now a legal substance, and the stigma needs desperately to be removed from it.
    Sure, there will always be those who judge anyone who partakes, just as they judge those who drink, smoke, or are sexually active.
    Adults make choices. Their freedoms allow it to happen.
    It is hypocritical to demand Constitutional rights on the one hand, and to condemn legislative rights on the other.
    Like it or not, marijuana is now a legal substance with legitimate standing as a business entity and a social outlet just like alcohol and tobacco.
    Time to put this issue to rest.

    • Well said Lynn. I am sure the peanut gallery will jump all over You. They confuse facts with feelings.

    • Ms. Mandaville,
      Your words “I find some of the comments offered to be rather inane. For example, to cite that marijuana has carcinogenic compounds it it seems rather ridiculous considering that one can find carcinogens in almost everything that surrounds us daily.” reminds me of the cigarette smokers in the 1960s when cigarettes were proven to cause cancer, most smokers said exactly what you did. Secondhand smoke can harm or kill those who do not smoke it. Please rethink your stand on this. Thanks.

      • Mr. Traxler,
        With respect, I feel I have been misunderstood.
        We know that many of the products and food stuffs we consume contain substances that are harmful to us. In addition, we hear from different studies that something that has been considered terrible for us is now beneficial.
        Smoking is a health concern, regardless of what we choose to smoke. It behooves us to avoid second-hand smoke. Weed is available to us in many forms other than as something to smoke.
        While marijuana may have benefits to many people, each of us “chooses our poison.” But sometimes, as with a drug like pot, the benefits outweigh the dangers. For folks with debilitating pain from certain cancers, smoking some pot is of little concern when relief is at hand.
        My statement stands. Marijuana is legal. It’s sale and use are legal. The stigma needs to be eliminated. For those who choose to continue to judge pot users, I would encourage tolerance. Otherwise, just ignore those who choose to partake.
        The choice to use pot, as well as the choice to judge the users, is within all of our rights.
        Don’t want the effects of second-hand pot smoke? Stay away from the users. Easy-peasy.

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