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Medical marijuana in Escanaba

October 31, 2012
Daily Press


Now, I don't know who the mayor pro tem of the city of Escanaba is, but I can truly say that this man sounds like a political "sound bite". In the Oct. 19 edition of the Daily Press, the front page headline read: "Council: Change medical pot law." Mayor Pro-Tem Brady Nelson has been spearheading changes to the Medical Marijuana Act because he is concerned about "marijuana use in Escanaba and its' contribution to the local drug problem"; he's concerned about "public safety and the affects of drug abuse such as violence, damage and break-ins." This all sounds a little like the 1930's film: "Reefer Madness!" He went on to say that "local marijuana concerns include break-ins at legal growers and pot smoke going into other's airspace including a day care" (according to Public Safety).

The "real" problem locally is not marijuana but rather alcohol and prescription drug abuse that has become the primary reason for violent crimes in Delta County, and Mr. Brady should read the "Court" section of the Daily Press for the proof. I have never known "anyone" who has acted in a violent way while under the influence of marijuana and it's likely I never will... and I'm not alone. I witnessed a woman who was dying of cancer and didn't have an appetite or a will to live until she smoked pot. Unfortunately, she has since passed-on, but her final years were filled with joy and hope.

Mr. Brady also claims that local law enforcement officials are confused and do not know how to deal with knowing who is a legitimate marijuana provider. Is he serious?! The state of Michigan enters a certification for legal marijuana providers into a public log, and every law enforcement entity has access to it. There is nothing confusing about any of it; if you don't have a legal reason to grow marijuana, you're busted - it's as simple as that.

This is another example of a politician blaming something (marijuana) for local problems. Without researching the entire scope of our social problems and realizing that there are certain truths that must be realized, Mr. Nelson just appears to be a martyr for a political opt that just may work in little conservative Escanaba.

The United States has become the land of corporate prisons that make 80 percent of their money from incarcerating non-violent criminals who are serving there time for primarily marijuana-related crimes. Even Ron Paul, a touted politician of the Tea Party, believes that most illegal substances (including marijuana) should be made legal because the "war on drugs" has not worked and has cost this nation trillions of dollars with little tangible results-and Ron Paul is a doctor.

In conclusion, I am not an advocate of marijuana as much as I am an advocate for social clarity; after all, I'm 56 years old and don't need to smoke pot, but have done so in the past with no ill effects. It is up to our local politicians to advocate for the truth for the general public just as importantly as it is for our regional and national politicians to seek the same resolve.

The problem with violent crime, as related to drugs, is not about marijuana. It has become about drugs (oxycodene, vicodin, etc.)that your local friendly physician prescribes and the common parent approves of without question. Think it out people.

Daniel VandeWiele

Bark River



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