You know you love ’em. You love to trash ’em. Sure, some of you complain that I even give space to these ravings, but I figure it’s part of our entertainment.
First up, from The Olympian in Washington is Jill Wellock with Marijuana Saps Initiative, Ambition and Responsibility
She starts out with the obligatory proof-by-example fallacy:
In eighth grade my friend started hanging out behind the portables with the stoners, which was weird because she was the school’s star softball pitcher. She could swing her arm around so fast that I thought it might dislocate and fly off toward the bleachers.
She smoked pot before school every day. Before long she started missing practice, which didn’t matter once her grades failed and she couldn’t play softball. She had spent years perfecting that pitch.
My friend and I attended different high schools, but I saw her at the end of freshman year at the mall, about 20 pounds heavier, with greasy hair and dirty clothes. I asked a guy from her school what had happened, and he just said, “Burn out.”
Gateway drug marijuana is now legal, used medicinally in Washington and 12 other states, with 15 states pending legislation for its medicinal use.
Yep. Because her friend followed a particular course, that will be true of every person who smokes marijuana. Barack Obama? Burnout. Carl Sagan? Burnout. Willie Nelson? Burnout. Michael Phelps? Burnout. See, I can use examples, too. Based on that approach, I can argue that everyone who smokes marijuana will win multiple gold medals in the Olympics.
Wellock’s other argument is that legalization will cause everyone to work stoned.
Most users likely work. If demand is so high that comedian Jay Leno framed a whole joke segment around the new medical marijuana industry on Dec. 3, then Californians can expect to encounter a lot of high workers.
Drivers, too. […]
Consider marijuana’s effects on workers who multitask, or who safeguard others. How about the staff at your child’s day care? Bus drivers? Construction workers?
No one wants their ER phlebotomist to smoke a joint before an IV start, but if Washington state follows California’s lead in legalizing dispensaries, health care facilities – and all businesses – will have to drug test workers with frequent signs of fatigue and red eyes.
What an image. Phlebotomists smoking joints. And day care/bus drivers â€” you knew there had to be some kind of “What about the children?” reference. Apparently, it’s OK if your phlebotomist chugs a bottle of Jack Daniels before drawing your blood or if the day care has a kegger. Interesting.
Next up is a student OpEd in the Orion – Chico State’s Independent Student Newspaper. James Jelenko has Legal weed problems: Both sides take an all-or-nothing approach to marijuana legalization
He takes a rather unusual approach in his OpEd.
He’s doing that Journalism 101 thing of “it’s not black-or-white and the truth is somewhere in the middle” — an academically sound approach to journalistic investigation, but not to writing an OpEd, unless you can actually demonstrate that premise.
Note how he sets off the two sides:
The debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana is like a twisted NASCAR race. One machine â€” filled with pungent smoke and long-haired freaky people â€” blazes toward an ashy world constructed almost entirely of hemp byproducts. Another, piloted by Gil Kerlikowske, the chief of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, moves in the opposite direction toward a drug-free nation where marijuana simply doesnâ€™t exist.
Ah yes, the “long-haired freaky people” (if you’re wondering why that phrase is sticking in your head, it’s probably because of the song “Signs” by Five Man Electrical Band). It would be interesting to see how he’d react if he met some members of LEAP.
Of course, he throws in some obligatory pot “jokes.”
Both sides are stuck to their perspectives like a stoner stuck to a couch.
But if any headway is going to be made on this issue, it needs to be a joint effort.
He actually scores some points against the prohibitionists (mention of the Compassionate IND program, for example), but his entire actual slam of the legalization side is:
The pro-legalization advocates claim marijuana has enormous medical potential, but conveniently ignore or refute the plain and simple argument that it is still a drug and has negative side-effects.
Huh? First of all, if we actually refuted it, then it’s not true. If it’s true, then it’s just like any other drug with enormous medical potential. And if we ignored it, that doesn’t change the truth of the claim.
What I really love is why he’s so upset by the fact that the two sides won’t compromise.
The problem with this status-quo is that taxpayers â€” many of whom have little or no opinion when it comes to the legalization of marijuana â€” get stuck footing the bill for this ideologically-charged debate.
When it comes to governmental action, nothing happens for free. There are many wheels in the machine of government and each one of them needs greasing. Every time legalization, decriminalization â€” or any other type of bill â€” goes to Congress for a vote, someone has to pay for it. If the conversation were going anywhere, Iâ€™d be fine with providing financial support because that is the responsibility of a citizen. However, it seems that whenever the issue arises, both sides try to bogart the conversation instead of listening and working together.
Congress just passed $2 billion for the DEA for one year without debate, and he’s worried about the cost of all the votes Congress is having regarding legalization and decriminalization? Did I miss something on C-Span?
For some real discussions â€” well thought-out substantive ones about drug policy, stay away from the OpEds, and instead proceed directly to the comments section of this blog, where the best discussions are going on right now. If you’re only reading the blog entries here, you’re missing a lot.