Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Don't let legalized pot get foothold in Idaho

| April 7, 2021 1:00 AM

The legalization of marijuana (or cannabis) is about to come to our state. We all knew it would. Anyone who has followed the legalization process in other states, is not surprised.

There are all kinds of “facts” that we will be bombarded with, not all of them accurate. In every state that has legalized, it started first with legalization of CBD oil, (which Idaho was late in doing); then it moved to legalization of medicinal marijuana, and finally to recreational marijuana. There is a system being used; nothing is ever achieved without methodology and slippery slopes.

Personally, I believe the now popular term “cannabis" is only to help get rid of the previous stigma, and negative connotations of the word “marijuana.” People hear “cannabis,” and they think medicinal. They hear “marijuana” and think “illegal substance.” Cannabis can even denote use of the product without the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana). But the rhetoric we are now seeing is all part of the plan for legalization, and to downplay the danger.

Proponents of marijuana love to say that cannabis is safer than alcohol. This has long been the popular refrain, but it is statistically and scientifically untrue.

There are two main points to demonstrate the false argument comparing alcohol to pot.

• Alcohol is NOT as addictive. Studies have proven marijuana far more addictive.

• There is a degree of control that can be maintained with alcohol, that is not found with marijuana.

That is pretty much all we need to know about that argument. Mayo Clinic has found moderate alcohol consumption (two drinks a day) offers health benefits, for the heart, as well as digestion. I actually don’t find these facts relative to legalization. They are two separate substances, so I will only focus on the problems associated with cannabis.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown use of marijuana has contributed to many health risks. An article with the Heritage Foundation lists these problems (paraphrased):

• Marijuana impairs the ability of T-cells in the lungs’ immune system to fight off infections. (Like we need lower immune systems, at this time in our history.)

• Marijuana use impairs short-term memory, making it difficult to learn and retain information.

• It diminishes attention, and concentration, a problem which can be separate from learning.

• It slows reaction time and impairs motor coordination.

• It increases heart rate by 20% to 100% which increases the risk of heart attack.

• Cannabis alters moods, resulting in artificial euphoria, calmness, but sometimes turning to anxiety, or paranoia.

• Marijuana has toxic properties that can result in birth defects, pain, respiratory system damage, brain damage, and stroke.

• It causes cognitive degradation – think early onset dementia.

• It has a residual effect on cognitive ability that lasts beyond intoxication because it is stored in organs and fatty tissues for days or even weeks after use. Common sense will tell you that causes greater need and increased side effects.

• It results in lower education. (Due to that learning thing.)

• Long term use may cause psychotic symptoms.

Advocates for marijuana, also love to say that marijuana smoke is not as harmful as cigarettes, when the exact opposite is true. Science has found:

• Smoking three marijuana joints is as bad for your lungs as one pack of cigarettes. (This fact has been known for decades, yet some still believe smoking pot isn’t as harmful.)

• Marijuana smoke contains higher levels of toxic substances, like ammonia and hydrogen cyanide, than tobacco smoke.

• Cannabis is addictive like tobacco, but it often leads to the need for treatment centers that tobacco does not.

Proponents love to point to the revenue that will come into the state upon legalization. But that simply isn’t true. As examples: When Colorado legalized, taxpayers found that for every dollar taxed, approximately $4.50 was spent to deal with the problems that came with legalization. Healthcare and education were the highest costs.

And Washington State has noted that the black market actually INCREASED with legalization, creating all kinds of additional problems, — financial and social. The cartels have been able to use the cover of legality for their illicit actions. Legalization has in fact created a safe haven for them. There are laws still to be broken and money to be made with the freedom they now have.

Fourteen states have legalized recreational marijuana, although it is still illegal at the federal level. This has caused massive problems (and money) for states due to red tape, and for law enforcement.

DUI’s in all states have risen. While the pot of 20 years ago had only 2 to 3 % THC potency, the product now has up to 99% potency.

And for the greenies, CO2 emissions have increased dramatically, as has the use of plastic for packaging the product. But ban those straws! I am not trying to nit-pic; I am simply trying to paint a complete picture. We shouldn’t so readily believe that legalization is all for the good. There are many problems that come with this drug.

The fact that they are starting with legalization of “medicinal marijuana” means nothing. The fraud that is occurring under that guise is overwhelming. It is simply the gateway to full legalization of this dangerous drug and everyone knows it.

In Idaho, our strong belief in freedom and determination to protect it, will be used against us. Proponents of legalization will use this to try to paint a hypocrisy between demanding our freedoms, but restricting this. Some will sucker for that, but we must be careful to not let them distort common sense. We know that there must be laws against things that are dangerous and harmful. There is a reason, it is still restricted at the federal level and not approved by the FDA.

Be prepared, Idaho. We have never followed the crowd before. No need to start now.

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Jan Conner is an Athol resident.