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Friday, April 27, 2012

Marijuana growing, what should we do? My current conflict too

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.

4 comments:

  1. There are many issues that can't be boiled down to a simple black and white solution. Most could be worked out if people on opposite sides could work together in good faith. It's a shame to watch a perfectly good country go down the tubes because of partisan bickering.

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  2. No truer words were spoken, RL.

    But getting back to Todd's post, there is nothing he wrote that I can disagree with. I think the passage of Proposition 215 in California in 1996 was a precipitous yet enlightened moment in our state's history, but we needed to follow that up with outright legalization a few years later so that pot could handled just like beer, wine, and various strong spirits. Heck, someone can now buy alcoholic intoxicants at the local Safeway that would kill him several times over in an afternoon, before smoking pot 24/7/365 might possibly kill him in a lifetime.

    And yes, the raw milk. And motorcycle helmets as well. Libertarianism. It feels good.

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  3. The reality of politics and lawmaking decisions is the word majority. As long as people have it they will dictate the rules.

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  4. Yes, Todd, education is important in this debate. And the education should not be about what the pros and antis have to say about it, but should start with the history of this common weed, it's first use in the USA, the first efforst to outlaw it and the people behind it, delving into their motives, etc. Anyone that knows anything about MJ--and this is an infallible litmus test--knows that alcohol is infinitely more dangerous and destructive to society that MJ, as Michael as pointed out. Severe alcoholism was rampant in my family when I was young, totally destroying it, turning our 14 room house into a nightmarish place to be when one is not yet even a teenager. All of my three parents drank excessivelly and only my real mother, who died of an undiagnosed malignant brain tumor in 1964, would have lived much longer had they been smoking MJ rather than hitting the bottle by noon time.

    And when I was admitted to the VA within the first year after returning from Nam, in critical condition by then, and given only couple months to live--after major surgery to cut out some cancer, then starting chemo, I kept on living and started using MJ, and I know it helped, with chemo and with mental attitude. Now, I'm going through my fourth cancer, a rare leukemia, smouldering within me, but not yet having progressed to its most aggressive stage, for which there is no cure. I have a script, but hardly touch MJ anymore, except to help with sleep, since I need prescribed Adderall, an amphetimine, just to stay awake during the day. It's not what my doctor wanted, but my wonderful insurance co. denied what he perscribed as not medically necessary, when in fact, I'm sure it was because it costs $388 a month. And the docs at Stanford Cancer Center say treatment would probably do more harm than good because of all the previous chemo and radiation I've had. I'm a walking wonder, I keep being told, who was never supposed to make it to my 24 birthday.

    Wm Buckley recognized the insanity of the war on MJ and I would think cost aware conservatives would be outrage by the billions wasted on this failed war on drugs.

    But, I encourage anyone wanting a clearer picture of the "why MJ is illegal" not to rely on Nixon's disregarding his own commission's recommendation to not classify it as a class 1 drug with heroin, but go back to the thirties, the depression, Mexicans labor no longer needed, turf wars between Anslinger and Hoover, Hearst and other forest magnates not wanting competition from hemp for paper--even w/o THC, etc. The truth, just like gold, is often buried under piles of dirt.

    Of course no one wants kids to be doing MJ, other drugs or Alcohol, but in NY, I was in bars, drinking when I was 17, some friends were 16. And when people tell kids--who are very hip these days--out right lies about MJ, that just enforces the idea not to believe anything adults tell them.

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Real name thank you.