Say, How’s The Legalization Of Marijuana Going?

I’ve long stated that legalization should be a state issue, rather than a federal issue. I’ve also said that I could care less if it is legalized. I don’t smoke it (I used to, but haven’t touched it in 20 years), I don’t plan on smoking it (I stopped finding it interesting), but, if someone else does, fine, go for it, as long as it doesn’t affect me. That’s part of Classical Liberalism (what American conservatism really is): if it doesn’t affect you, why do you care? However, there are problems cropping up in Colorado

(NY Times) Five months after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, the battle over legalization is still raging.

Law enforcement officers in Colorado and neighboring states, emergency room doctors and legalization opponents increasingly are highlighting a series of recent problems as cautionary lessons for other states flirting with loosening marijuana laws.

There is the Denver man who, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused Karma Kandy from one of Colorado’s new recreational marijuana shops, began raving about the end of the world and then pulled a handgun from the family safe and killed his wife, the authorities say. Some hospital officials say they are treating growing numbers of children and adults sickened by potent doses of edible marijuana. Sheriffs in neighboring states complain about stoned drivers streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.

“I think, by any measure, the experience of Colorado has not been a good one unless you’re in the marijuana business,” said Kevin A. Sabet, executive director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes legalization. “We’ve seen lives damaged. We’ve seen deaths directly attributed to marijuana legalization. We’ve seen marijuana slipping through Colorado’s borders. We’ve seen marijuana getting into the hands of kids.”

That said, as the Times points out, there are no hard data sets at this point, mostly just anecdotes. 1.5% of citations for driving under the influence are for marijuana since January. Interestingly

Marijuana supporters note that violent crimes in Denver – where the bulk of Colorado’s pot retailers are – are down so far this year. The number of robberies from January through April fell by 4.8 percent from the same time in 2013, and assaults were down by 3.7 percent. Over all, crime in Denver is down by about 10 percent, though it is impossible to say whether changes to marijuana laws played any role in that decline.

But, many sheriffs are locking more people up for marijuana related offenses across the state, and there are more crime involving theft of marijuana and marijuana products

“Why break into a house to steal a TV or a computer that you have to fence when you can steal mounds of cash or marijuana, which is like liquid?” said George Brauchler, the district attorney who oversees Aurora. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re starting to become more aware of.”

And here’s one I find very interesting, in regards to the debate over e-cigarettes

Many of Colorado’s starkest problems with legal marijuana stem from pot-infused cookies, chocolates and other surprisingly potent edible treats that are especially popular with tourists and casual marijuana users.

Lawmakers and other whiners, mostly liberals, are complaining about all the flavors of e-juice, saying “won’t someone think about the kids!!!”, yet, the same people aren’t complaining about all the flavored products, including cookies and brownies, infused with marijuana.

I won’t say that it should be banned: if we go down that road, then we would have to ban alcohol, which causes way, way more problems. But, we do have to consider that the legalization is causing more problems, including criminal acts and deaths. Time will tell whether this is just an early blip form legalization which will calm down, or a long term problem that could grow. Keeping it illegal has its own set of problems. Let’s also not forget that the active ingredient is THC, which is a hallucinogen, and the power of the marijuana has grown tremendously, with such things as genetic modification. I remember smoking Jamaica Red back in 12th grade, and, wow, potent enough to start seeing trails and feeling like we were tripping. That was powerful stuff at that time (mid-1980’s). Today’s pot is much, much more powerful.

At the end of the day, it is a drug, and legalizing usage in such a big way will cause lots of problems. It might not be such of problem if it was limited to smoking it. The edibles are much more potent, and novices and casual users find that out. That said, it is interesting that so many want all sorts of restrictions on e-cigarettes while pushing for legalization of marijuana/cannabis.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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