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Marijuana, Again.

When the Cities of Cocoa Beach and Palm Bay decided to discuss an change in their codes that would allow police to issue civil citations rather than misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana there was discussion on the merits of the idea with some people agreeing and some disagreeing.

What was clear to all was that this would be a stepping stone to the legalization of marijuana.

We’ve looked at the arguments for legalization before and they never seem to work in the real world what people who want pot legalized say will happen in theory.

Now another article has come out looking at the ideas on how legalization will remove the black market for drugs as well as get organized crime out of the pot business.

According to the City Journal:

It takes lots of marijuana to make 1 billion joints, but that’s how much pot Oregon has on hand right now—enough to supply the state’s marijuana “needs” for six years, even if production stopped right now. The vast oversupply is causing worries that growers, who have made huge investments in their business ever since Oregon legalized recreational marijuana use five years ago, will turn to the black market to dispose of inventory. That, state authorities fear, could lead to new federal enforcement in Oregon—prosecutors busted a black-market ring there last year. To stem the excess, Oregon is moving to deny new licenses to growers, but the state will likely have to take away some current licenses, too, or watch some growers go bust, before the problem disappears.

Oregon is not alone. Though advocates claim that one of the benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana is that the black market will disappear and thus end the destructive war on drugs, the opposite is happening. States that have legalized pot have some of the most thriving black markets, creating new headaches for law enforcement and prompting some legalization advocates to call for a crackdown—in effect, a new war on drugs. In Colorado, cops complain that illegal growers are “hiding in plain sight.” They’ve entered the state and set up marijuana fields, including on public lands, to cultivate pot for export to other states. According to one account, authorities have had to use garbage trucks to collect all the illegal pot they’ve gathered from raids on homes and businesses. In 2017, officials seized 80,000 illegal pot plants on federal land alone in Colorado.

Legal-pot states are attracting international criminal cartels. Mexican drug gangs have smuggled illegals into Colorado to set up growing operations, former U.S. prosecutor Bob Troyer wrote last September, explaining why his office was stepping up enforcement. Rather than smuggle pot from Mexico, the cartels grow it in Colorado and smuggle it elsewhere—spurring violence. In 2017, seven homicides in Denver were directly connected to marijuana growers. “I would love to be able to shift some of my resources away from marijuana to other things,” Denver lieutenant Andrew Howard said last year. “But right now, the violence is marijuana or marijuana-related.”

In Nevada, which legalized pot by ballot initiative in 2016, violence surrounding pot has increased. “In 2017, homicides related to an altercation over drugs grew by 21 percent, compared to 2016,” Las Vegas police captain Todd Raybuck told a legislative hearing in New Jersey last year. “Marijuana was the cause of the altercation in 53 percent of those homicides. In 2017, 58 percent of all drug-related murders involved marijuana.”

Legal-marijuana businesses are getting in on the game, too. Last year, Denver authorities arrested the owners of a licensed chain of pot shops that employed 350 people for supplying the black market. In January, three owners of the business pled guilty to drug and racketeering charges. In Oregon, federal prosecutors arrested six individuals in 2018 and charged them with “vast” interstate-trafficking schemes that supplied black-market pot to Texas, Virginia, and Florida. Some of the suspects were also charged with kidnapping, money-laundering, and use of a firearm in a drug-trafficking crime. Thanks to Oregon’s huge pot reserves, the retail price of legal weed has been cut in half, from about $280 an ounce to $140; the price is much higher in states that haven’t legalized it.

(more at the article)

The point is that reality doesn’t match the hypotheticals that drug legalization proponents put out there.

And for the record, we were once for legalization until we saw its effects on people – especially teens. We bought into the lies that people who want to legalize the drug put out there.

Now we know better.

We have a feeling that this is not about taxes, not about costs to police and cities, and not costs to individuals who are breaking the law when caught with the drug.

This is about people who want to get high. What the costs of that will be is unknown for certain. We do know that marijuana today is stronger than it was 30 years ago. Long terms studies show links between long term use and health and mental issues later in life. We know that the effects on teens include harming brain development.

We are more and more convinced that the harm outweighs any good.

When Palm Bay had a workshop to discuss the ordinance to lower the penalty on possession, we wrote Councilman Johnson who at a previous meeting and during his campaign tried to wear his “faith” on his collar.

We wrote:

Dear Sir,

You have proposed an ordinance that would allow the police to issue civil citations over criminal citations in the case of possession of marijuana under 20 grams.

One of the arguments stated at the City Council meeting on this issue was that this ordinance would be a step in legalization which “we all know is coming.”

Therefore, it is hard to get away from the idea that you support legalization of marijuana and the steps to make it so.

However, there is an issue with your stance. Several meetings ago you said that before every meeting, you prayed for God’s guidance and to do what is right.

If one reads through the Bible, one sees many admonitions against intoxication. Both the Old Testament and New Testament label intoxication as sin. There is no doubt that marijuana is intoxicating.

So the question we have, and one we would ask you to ponder, is how if you are seeking “God’s guidance,” how God is guiding you towards a position that is sinful?

There’s a conflict there and one that we cannot reconcile given your statement of faith to people. One either follows God’s Word and guidance or one does not. One does not abandon faith and their stated principles of faith for the sake of political expediency and capital.

In closing, we’ll leave you with a quote from the fictional character Father John Patrick Mulcahy who paraphrased Father Dietrich Bonhoeffer and said “a faith of convenience is no faith at all.”

Respectfully,

A. Afterwit.

Johnson wrote back, saying:

I understand your concerns sir and I have prayed about this as well in which I leave with you this scripture. Feel free to join us tonight at 6pm where we can converse in further detail.

Genesis 1:29 KJV
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb beating seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

If you are a Bible believing Christian, you can see the problem with Johnson’s response. The verse he is quoting if “pre-fall,” before Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

If you don’t believe in the Bible but yet have a brain, we suggest that you offer Councilman Johnson a nice heaping salad made from amanita bisporigera on a nice bed of toxicodendron radicans.

(That would be the angel of death mushroom, (the most toxic mushroom in North America) on a bed of poison ivy.)

Yum yum!

Let us know how that salad works for you, Councilman.

It is clear to us that people will not look at facts on this issue. Older people remember the pot of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and not realize that the pot of today is much stronger. When Cocoa Beach Commissioners lied about the premise of their support for pot, they too had an agenda leading to the long term legalization of marijuana.

So what you end up with is people who have issues with the truth and logic denying the actual results of the very course they want to take and some support.

We are going to leave you with one thought that a staffer here puts out all the time…..

People try and equate marijuana and alcohol all the time. They say that the effects of alcohol are not a great as the effects of pot. Long term we are finding out that is not true. Yet the staffer makes a good point in that they say if you go out to lunch and have a beer or a mixed drink, you are not impaired. A hit on a joint at lunch? You’re impaired.

Think about that the next time you’re driving around after a meal. Would you rather be on the road with a person who had a drink? Or smoked pot?



9 Responses to “Marijuana, Again.”

  1. Randy felty says:

    What is needed is the repeal of the laws the made marijuana illegal in the first place. By making it illegal we have set up criminals to make available what is wanted by the public, if theres a demand there will be a supplier. We have laws in place that say under 18 cannot leagly buy intoxicates or tobacco. The laws themselves are creating barriers to legal growers so criminals step in to fill the void, it is a self inflicted wound, the numbers are skewed as the laws are different in every area. As far as health goes there are many ways to use ingest marijuana and the effects on the brain vs alcohol are like a sledge hammer vs cotton balls not even close. One last thing if your going to use an example like the one saying untill you saw the effects on teens. Show us the effects your talking about..

    • AAfterwit says:

      Randy felty,

      Thanks for the comment.

      There are several issues with what you are saying. First, you make the assumption that when a product is legal, that removes the criminal element. That’s simply not true. States with legalized marijuana are still reporting that drug cartels and the criminal element is still there. In many cases, because of the taxes and licensing fees, “illegal marijuana” is cheaper than that sold legally. If your argument were accurate, there would not be illegal moonshiners as there is plenty of legal alcohol for sale. The bottom line is that the availability of a legal product does not mean the end of the illegal product.

      Secondly, in a way when you are comparing alcohol and pot use amongst teens and saying that alcohol is worse, you are leaving out a key component of the studies. It is not alcohol that is worse per se, but binge drinking that causes greater harm. When you compare regular recreational use of alcohol and pot, pot is more harmful in the long run.

      Third. in some ways, we have never understood the idea of “this is bad, but this is not as bad so we should make the two equivalent” argument.

      People always look to the end of Prohibition in the 1930’s as a good thing. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. The fact of the matter is that while people were able to enjoy alcohol again, murders rose, violent crimes rose, domestic violence, and all the while, organized crime just moved on to other activities.

      People want what they want and we understand that. However, if you can think of a societal benefit from the use of pot (don’t go to medical use as studies have shown that is a non-starter) we’d love to hear it. As it is, we see pot as a harm to both self and to society. You are free to harm yourself and be stoned all day, but when your actions affect us and our families, we suddenly have skin in the game.

      Thanks again.

      A. Afterwit.

  2. Wondering says:

    Sounds like Randy already took a hit early in the AM. The third to the last sentence is confusing to those of us only drinking a cup of coffee today. Which intoxicant has the sledge hammer effect and which has the cotton ball effect?

    In addition: How healthy is it to ingest known intoxicants on a daily basis – both mentally and physically?

  3. Randy Felty says:

    First there have been many studies that show the profond effects on brain development and decline in brain function with the use of alcohol vs cannabis. Your other point is valid and i belive called addiction.

  4. Percy Veer says:

    Facts from the National Institute of Health website on marijuana use:
    Short term (While you are high, you may experience):
    – Altered senses, such as seeing brighter colors
    – Altered sense of time, such as minutes seeming like hours
    – Changes in mood
    – Problems with body movement
    – Trouble with thinking, problem-solving, and memory
    – Increased appetite
    Long term:
    In the long term, marijuana can cause health problems, such as:
    – Problems with brain development. People who started using marijuana as teenagers may have trouble with thinking, memory, and learning.
    – Coughing and breathing problems, if you smoke marijuana frequently
    – Problems with child development during and after pregnancy, if a woman smokes marijuana while pregnant.

    So, while I would agree that alcohol can be bad for your health, I think it’s safe to say marijuana is also bad for your health.

    The question is does the governments outlawing marijuana help or hurt society?

    I’m still of the opinion that by legalizing it you are sending a message to youth that it’s not harmful (and research has shown it’s most harmful to young users). I don’t think they’ve done enough research on this to be able to make it legal and in 5-10 years we’ll start to see all sorts of new problems cropping up in society. Ie. more cases of mental illness, respiratory disease, etc.

    As for the medical aspects it looked like the FDA has already approved three types of cannabis medicines for use in treating certain specific diseases so this mass spread legalization effort really doesn’t have anything to do with helping people with medical conditions.

    Time will tell, but I’d recommend doing some more research and taking it slow.

  5. Paul Valeriani says:

    Substance abuse, and mental health issues have become a public epidemic, compounded by the decriminalization and privatization of mental health, and substance abuse facilities in the United States, as well as in the State of Florida. They have reported that Marijuana is not a gateway drug. However, is it prudent to be encouraging people to use yet another drug, to an already over saturated society of substance abusers?
    Society has many ills, which are not being properly addressed. This starts with problems at home, respect and discipline not being properly taught and enforced at home and at school. The mental health courts, as well as the extremely short civil commitments to privatized facilities, which are for profit, rather than for proper treatment of these issues, are going to lead to many more deaths, and many more people incarcerated into jails, rather than being given proper treatment for their mental health and substance abuse problems.
    It costs much more, in not only money, but in terms of lives lost, to incarcerate people in need of help, than to provide proper care and treatment for the illnesses that haunt them.
    When will the laws be updated, and society demand that proper treatment be given to those in need, rather than warehousing these people in a revolving door criminal justice, and penal system which is failing miserably?

  6. Mike dahme says:

    H/b reading this site for a month or so [since becoming aware result of the Palm Bay sitch], first time to take exception w/“afterwit”. What’s the point of potency [alleged] difference betw ‘then’ and now? Pot is pot, and aside from gov’t propaganda h/never been shown t/b harmful [physically] – esp’y if ngested, not smoked.///The councilman is obv’y right, it’s the wave, what’s the point of opposing that? W/Fla be the last state to allow recreational use?

    • AAfterwit says:

      Mike dahme,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The THC levels in pot have increased greatly since the 1990’s.

      From NPR (not citing any government studies:)

      The potency of weed depends on the amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main compound responsible for the drug’s psychoactive effects. One study of pot products seized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found the potency increased from about 4% THC in 1995 to about 12% in 2014. By 2017, another study showed, the potency of illicit drug samples had gone up to 17.1% THC.

      “That’s an increase of more than 300% from 1995 to about 2017,” says Staci Gruber, director of the Marijuana Investigations for Neuroscientific Discovery (MIND) program at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. “I would say that’s a considerable increase.”

      And some products with concentrated forms of cannabis, like hash and hash oil, can have as much as 80% to 90% THC, she adds.

      “I think most people are aware of the phenomenon that ‘this is not your grand daddy’s weed,’ Gruber says. “I hear this all the time.”

      The fact of the matter is that as more and more studies are done, the more we see the harmful effects of marijuana. From non-governmental CNN commenting on a study published in The Lancelot based on non-governmental research in England and Europe:

      Published Tuesday in the journal the Lancet Psychiatry, the new evidence is consistent with previous experiments that suggest heavy use and high THC concentration cannabis — a 10% concentration of THC (the psychoactive substance within cannabis) or higher — can be harmful to mental health.
      “Psychotic disorder,” precisely, is what was studied, said Dr. Marta Di Forti, lead author and a clinician scientist at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. “We are talking about people who meet diagnostic criteria [and] come to the attention of mental health services to receive treatment for psychosis. So they have to have symptoms of psychosis across the spectrum — so hallucination, delusion — that have lasted at least for a week.”

      [….]

      Dr. Robin Murray, senior author of the study and a professor of psychiatric research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, said that “15 years ago nobody thought cannabis increased the risk for psychosis.”
      Only gradually has evidence come out and shown that to be true, he said. Gradually, too, other explanations have been chipped away, he said: For example, some people might say that perhaps a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia led some people to use cannabis and this is the reason for higher rates of psychosis. But a study from Finland rules this out, said Murray: “There may be some genetic component but it’s not the major reason.”

      In light of the new results, is legalized cannabis a good idea? “Personally, I think it’s much more important that people are educated,” said Murray. “Tobacco is legal, but we’ve seen the consumption plummet because there’s been a sustained educational campaign.”

      As for the physical effects:

      And at low concentrations, THC can be used to treat nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. But Volkow says that “patients that consume high content THC chronically came to the emergency department with a syndrome where they couldn’t stop vomiting and with intense abdominal pain.”

      It’s a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.

      “The typical patient uses [inhales] about 10 times per day … and they come in with really difficult to treat nausea and vomiting,” says Andrew Monte, an associate professor of emergency medicine and medical toxicology at the University of Colorado’s school of medicine. “Some people have died from this … syndrome, so that is concerning.”

      We would argue that death is contrary to your assertion that pot “h/never been shown t/b harmful [physically].” (Pot is also linked with preventing brain development in teens, lower sperm count, and adverse effects on a fetus. Other studies seem to indicate that use increases the risk dying from high blood pressure but more research needs to be done.)

      We understand that pot use may be “the wave,” but as most damage from hurricanes is water and storm surges, not all waves are good. People have commented that Colorado has seen an increase in tax revenues from the sale of marijuana and we do not dispute that. The state has also seen an increase in homelessness, violent crimes, lesser crimes such as theft, and increases in traffic accidents and fatalities. One must wonder if the tax revenue is worth the societal costs.

      Finally, we understand the point that Florida may be the last to allow recreational use. To us, that sounds a great deal like “they did it too!” which went out of practical use after the 2nd grade.

      The bottom line is that the more we here are ROH and others look at the data and studies on the use or marijuana, it is not a good thing.

      We will offer this as an example: being high decreases physical responses and is a contributing factor in traffic accidents. That’s indisputable. Yet the effects of marijuana last longer – up to a week – than being drunk. Do you want to be on the roads with someone that has been high for a week? Do you want your kids to be on the roads? Do you want people working with facts and figures high? Or how about those who work with heavy machinery? (ie presses, lathes, metal shaping, etc.) Do you want your home built by a person who was high at the time? And then rely on that home when a hurricane comes?

      We would say “no.”

      Your mileage may vary.

      Thanks again for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

  7. Percy Veer says:

    From the NIH website:
    Marijuana potency, as detected in confiscated samples, has steadily increased over the past few decades.2 In the early 1990s, the average THC content in confiscated marijuana samples was roughly 3.8 percent. In 2014, it was 12.2 percent. The average marijuana extract contains more than 50 percent THC, with some samples exceeding 80 percent. These trends raise concerns that the consequences of marijuana use could be worse than in the past, particularly among those who are new to marijuana use or in young people, whose brains are still developing.

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