I have never used illegal drugs. When I was young and many of my age group were experimenting with weed, coke and uppers/downers, I was the one sitting on the outside of the circle. I was actually fearful of what the drugs would do to me. Especially after the tragedy of Art Linkletter's daughter jumping off a building to her death while under the influence. Yep, I was chicken about illegal drugs.
Now as I have aged, I find myself in internal conflict about the use of marijuana for medical purposes. I have seen over the years, the abuse of the substance by people I know and love and I must say, as a recreational substance it has rendered those people impotent in the world of success. Yet, on the other hand I have seen people in need of help with their chronic illness receive some relief. In California the citizens voted to allow MJ's use for medical reasons and with that comes the "right" to grow a few plants for personal use. In our state and here in our county, the growing of the plant for personal uses has blossomed into "co-ops" and big growers intruding on their neighbors sensibilities and therefore a conflict of land use and nuisance has been created.
If people would simply comply with the personal use provisions we may not have a problem. But, since there is a lot of money to still be made from the growing of MJ, the allure to grow a lot to sell is everywhere. I have also been morphing my philosophy on MJ use into a personal rights view. If I want to put a substance into my body, such as MJ or raw milk, then why can't I? I have a friend who passed away in April 2012. He was a conservative Republican who I had a huge amount of respect for. He was a true American patriot.
I'll call him Joe. I found out from him that he was a daily user of MJ. He had health issues that were alleviated by the use of MJ. I was shocked to listen to him but as I listened I came to understand better the sanctity of our bodies and the "rights" we have on the substances we put in them. If the use of MJ for his pain caused this good man to "break" the law, then the law must be no good. So, I may reassessing my position on medical use provisions. (I also got to know Brad Glasse, a really good fellow)
However, if people are abusing the growing amounts of plants and exposing their neighbors to unwanted sights, smells and numbers, then maybe I would support a ordinance to better deal with those conflicts. In neighboring Yuba or Sutter counties, they require MJ be grown indoors. This makes some sense in that it is out of sight and limits the number of plants. But, regardless of the ordinances, as long as a substance is deemed illegal and the government wants to limit it and its use, there will be people wiling to grow it and make it because there is money to be made. Maybe the raw milk, raw chicken growers and the MJ growers need to band together and form a working group to come up with some real world solutions.
Unfortunately in the culture here in America, young people are always looking to try something to alter the consciousness. Perhaps we can as a society teach the young people the downside of abuse of substances while balancing the responsibility we all have to our own bodies. We don't want to become Ecuador or Bolivia where the historic chewing of the coca leaf has kept them fourth word countries.
So, as a conflicted person about this issue I will watch and listen to all the arguments and try and come to a conclusion I can live with. Though Joe is gone, he certainly has impressed me with a view on the issue I did not have before.