Fair warning. I’m going to talk about marijuana, simply because it’s in the news this week. Recreational sales of weed will be increasing the tax revenue of the state of Colorado by many millions of dollars. The prohibition is over; the plant grown as hemp by Jefferson and enjoyed in colonial days has finally come out of the college closet with a grow light. And it’s high time too!
Here we are, in 2014, beginning to realize that non-violent, drug offenders are clogging up our prisons and it’s time we treated addiction like the public health issue that it is. Let’s regulate and tax our fellow citizens, like we’ve done with alcohol and tobacco. And finally, everyone is confessing to a dalliance with pot in their past. After all, even our President wrote a book about his youthful indiscretions.
But most notably, the semi-conservative NYTimes columnist, David Brooks, copped to his high school experience with weed, where he felt like a loser in English class in his article, “Been There, Done That.”
He was forthrightly mocked: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/03/david-brooks-pot-column_n_4537463.html
Well I don’t know about you dear reader, but virtually everyone I know has tried pot. Yes, they inhaled it and proceeded to empty out their parent’s pantry. But then again I’m one of those Baby Boomers, our mantra was “Why not?” May I remind you that the Big Chill went to Woodstock… Then again, we were older. In high school we were clueless.
My friends in the next generation, a decade younger, were introduced to weed earlier, and I have to admit, I think it’s tantamount to child abuse. The still developing adolescent brain can be damaged by all that dopamine, and IQ just may be affected. Who wants their kids living in their basement forever? Pot is not supposed to be physically addictive, but it can be psychologically addicting. It can develop into an expensive habit. Albeit, one that leaves you feeling very zen most of the time.
What if someone started smoking daily in high school and didn’t stop until they had a baby? That’s more than 20 years! I asked my Pulmonology Fellow SIL about the risks of cancer and heart disease for long-term pot smokers. He said since weed has been illegal, there haven’t been many studies addressing these problems, but I found one out of California, naturally. http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/01/11282/marijuana-shown-be-less-damaging-lungs-tobacco
So my advice – brownies! Now that all those Rocky Mountain High dwellers can just go down to their local dispensary and order up some King Tut Kush for $45, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sfl-colorado-marijuana-20140102,0,4217222.story why not make some ghee butter and bake some brownies? Thereby avoiding any possibility of future respiratory disease.
You’ve all seen the ACLU graph about African American kids being three times as likely (I repeat 3x) to be arrested for possession of marijuana with or without the intent to distribute than White kids…which amounts to a type of apartheid in this country. Even Chris Hayes fesses up to carrying some weed into a Republican convention in his eyeglass case, and realizing he was not arrested because of the cop’s perception of his privilege.
I believe that about 10% of the population may develop a problem with weed. Because that’s about the same number of recreational drinkers that may become alcoholic. In other words, they go from having a couple at parties, to binge drinking in college with an occasional blackout, to hiding a bottle in the garage and drinking every day. They lose their jobs and their families, and end up in court over a DUI. Their life goes downhill slowly, over many years. They change jobs, they move, they repent; but they never blame the bottle, they keep drinking.
What will a marijuana addict look like? That 1 person out of 10 people lighting up legally for recreational use. Well, he’ll probably not drive fast, in fact he may be picked up for driving too slow. He or she will most likely be similar to the alcoholic. They will suffer years of recrimination, rejection, and reprimands for a life that somehow was derailed. But he or she won’t be thrown into jail and become a caricature on Orange is the New Black, they will avoid that path. The double standard inherent in our justice system will cease to exist in Colorado.
Now let’s share our recipes for double fudge brownies with our Denver friends. Rocky Mountains, the Blue Ridge salutes you!