|America dumbed down in haze of marijuana smoke|
|Written by Monte Stiles|
|Monday, January 14, 2013 10:03 PM|
The people of Colorado and Washington just voted to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, finally exposing their Trojan horse of marijuana as “medicine.” In Colorado, the law was voted into the state Constitution, establishing the right to smoke pot in the same document that preserves their right to assemble, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. What a great day for the children of Colorado and Washington, and for all of us who will feel the effects of this ill-conceived and dangerous social experiment with the future of our children.
But until then, we may have to endure the fact that many productive lives will be lost in the aftermath of a cultural tsunami, led by counter-culture anti-heroes who preach their religion of pot from the concert stage, political podium (and sometimes shamefully from a law enforcement website).
At one point in our history, we rejected the notion of a drug culture and made impressive strides in educating America. And like our success with tobacco education, these educational efforts led to fewer people using and abusing drugs - because EDUCATION WORKS when we do enough of it (think tobacco use rates, seat belt laws, designated driver programs, recycling campaigns, and other positive social movements). But now, with millions of dollars being used for the dumbing down of America in a haze of marijuana smoke, we may have to relearn the same lessons before we all wake up and fight back. Parents, are you listening?
The saddest part of this story is the fact that our federal government has always had the ability to shut this down. As a federal drug prosecutor for almost 25 years, I know that we didn’t have to endure a decade or more of so-called “medicinal” marijuana before the pretense was dropped and full legalization efforts began. For the price of a postage stamp and some paper, the federal government could send a notice of forfeiture to marijuana landlords. This would be most effective in states like Arizona and New Jersey where only one dispensary exists (at this point). Other enforcement action could be taken against the New Barons of Pot who were so interestingly portrayed in Newsweek not too long ago. And by doing so, the barons would get the message that there is a new Sheriff in town and that their looting of the candy store was at an end. Surprisingly, these new pot entrepreneurs are willing to brag about their millions and even be the stars of TV shows about pot. In the old days, we would have treated these episodes as “confessions” and would have used their own videotapes to convict them.
When the feds have taken decisive action against these businesses, they have achieved wonderful results, which have been greatly appreciated by municipalities and counties going bankrupt trying to reign in the social, economic and legal chaos created by legalization. But these federal efforts have been too few, too late, and almost nonexistent in some states.
This issue is not about a few legitimately sick people using marijuana as medicine. This is about big business and a new type of cartel that is operating in knowing violation of federal laws. And to the extent that sick people want to blame anyone for the state and federal crackdowns in some states, they need only look as far as the recreational abusers of the system who account for the vast majority of users in many of these states. Their blatant scamming of the system has destroyed any idea that this movement is really about “medicine”, and Colorado and Washington have just proven the point once again.
As the marijuana industry has amassed millions, and purchased the loyalties of politicians and pundits, who either ignorantly or purposely spout the fiction of significant “tax” revenues, the end of drug cartels, and the emptying of prisons of non-existent marijuana-user prison inmates, our voting public has been duped into believing them. It isn’t hard to imagine how this happened when the Washington pro-marijuana campaign spent more than $6 million to reach out to soccer moms.
The drug prevention people had a measly $16,000 to counter the pro-drug media campaign, so voters were left with only one side of the argument. Similarly, in Colorado, pro-drug lobbyists spent more than $3 million to sell the idea that Colorado would be better off if more people toked up, and drug prevention groups were outspent by a massive amount.
So, as Colorado joins Washington in the revelry let me add my hope that the quickest solution out of this mess manifests itself immediately - that the federal government simply enforces federal law AND our honors our obligations under international treaties to fight drug abuse. Decisive action by President Obama and the Department of Justice would be a welcome relief to everyone who knows that sober children learn better, sober drivers drive better, and sober parents parent better. And it may give the drug prevention coalitions, and medical science, time to catch up.
For this to occur in time to save us from falling off the social cliff, a miracle will have to happen. But during a season that is defined by miracles, perhaps a miracle is our best hope for a drug free future in America.