Let’s not go to pot


(I was hoping that someone else would beat me to writing this letter). Recently the Press carried a headline reading: “Residents: Pot Legalization A Good Move.” The article written by Clarissa Kell was primarily interviews with Seth Selthofner of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and of Nuggy’s owners Doug and Aimee Warner of Escanaba. All three were excited that the legalization of marijuana for 21-year olds is a positive move. Sadly, 55 percent of Michiganders voted that way — surprised me. Will it bring tax monies? Some. Will it bring some tourists? Hope not. Will it bring businesses here? What kind? Recall that employers can still require their employees to pass drug tests and some Colorado businesses recruit and hire out of state employees. Doug Warner thinks that Escanaba would be “foolish” to opt out of selling pot because the city needs money. Do we? Do we need commercial growers and sellers? Will there be a black market without them? Probably. Is there now? Yes. Are we better off now? Can we live with lesser legal penalties for minor pot infractions? Surely, yes.

There are reasons why law enforcement and the medical community are opposed to recreational marijuana. The job for law enforcement will be huge. They have a hard enough time enforcing medical pot laws. Medical experts claim that the brains of teens and adults are not fully formed until about the age of 23 and that 90 percent of those who struggle with addiction start to use before the age of 21. Pot users claim that pot is not a gateway drug; most professionals say otherwise. Most hard core addicts began with pot. The pot now grown is way more potent than the stuff Bill Clinton never inhaled.

Testing for pot on drugged drivers will exist, as technically difficult as it might be. If you favored legislation, do not complain too much when someone close to you is killed by a buzzed driver. Alcohol related accidents are bad enough. Pot is supposed to mellow one out — that behind the wheel is deadly.

If adults use it, how are you going to keep your kids from not doing it? Can you? Will you? Will having it around readily not create an issue? Do you want your children to observe you or see the results? Recently a local health agency published a booklet for teens titled “I Won’t Smoke Marijuana Because….” and it listed 50 reasons why not to….“I hate being out of control, I like my brain cells, it won’t solve my problems, I’ve got better things to do with my time, it could damage my reproductive system, etc.” I have had local teens tell me that they can smoke while pregnant…and they did. Imagine babies’ pain withdrawing from any drug.

Is this all worth it? A bad gamble? Solutions? I am not sure there is a good one. I am convinced we are in for trouble. Prove me wrong. Anything California endorses scares me.

Mike Olson

Ford River/Escanaba