Guest opinion: Legalizing marijuana would be a public health tragedy
by SCOTT CHIPMAN
Published - 08/31/15 - 04:35 PM | 9951 views | 8 8 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Many Pacific Beach residents were dismayed on Aug. 13 to see a full page color ad for an illegal “pot shop” (collective) in the Beach & Bay Press. Not long ago there were 25 of these marijuana retailers illegally operating in PB and 250 in the city at large. Many of those were closed but more continued to open.

The current city ordinance is allowing “permits” to be issued based on a series of geographic limitations, but not based on planning group’s recommendations, neighboring business concerns, or past criminal records of the applicant. More questions remain.

Question: Are dispensaries legal?

Answer: No. The 2008 State Attorney General Guidelines ‘ensure the security and non-diversion of marijuana’ to a patient upon the written or verbal recommendation or approval of a physician and the patient’s caregiver can possess or cultivate marijuana for the personal medical purposes of the patient in a manner of a non-profit exchange. Selling marijuana for profit in California continues to be illegal.

Federally, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) established a federal regulatory system designed to combat recreational drug abuse by making it unlawful to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess any controlled substance, of which marijuana is one.

California law allows for patients and caregivers to work together collectively and cooperatively to serve the patients’ needs. State law does not contain the language of ‘collective’ or ‘cooperative’; that is just a ruse to open a storefront, effectively pursuing back door legalization of marijuana.

California did not “legalize” medical marijuana, but instead exercised the state’s reserved powers to not punish certain marijuana offenses under state law when a physician has recommended its use to treat a serious medical condition.

Question: What is the difference between an illegal “pot shop” and a city approved dispensary?

Answer: Nothing, other than having a city permit and being in an industrial zone. The permitted and unpermitted pot shops operate exactly the same.

Both illegally sell botanical marijuana and marijuana products such as candies, popcorn, sodas, cookies, and hash oils in various unregulated amounts and potencies. Unlike filling a prescription at a pharmacy, a pot shop “patient” can buy as much as they want from as many locations as they choose for as long as they want. This puts lots of pot into our communities and into the hands of kids.

Question: But doctors are providing prescriptions right?

Answer: No. There is no prescription for marijuana and the “recommendation” process is mostly fraudulent. I have received several “recommendations” for pot myself. No doctor was present for any of my “examinations.” The doctor’s signatures were preprinted on the recommendation form. And, anyone can get a recommendation for any ailment, real or fake.

Question: But don’t we need “medical” marijuana for some seriously ill people.

Answer: Yes, and we have it. The FDA has approved several cannabis based drugs. Dranabinol and Nabilone are two. Unlike pot, these have been proved via double blind testing to treat specific conditions.

These drugs have been around for years but the pro pot and drug legalizers used the idea of providing “medical” marijuana to fool voters and get them to approve a very dangerous and destructive initiative (Prop 19). FDA approved drugs require prescriptions, testing, potency, frequency and duration of use, and are strictly regulated with follow up doctor visits. Pot shops (even those with city permits) are just illicit drug dealers selling for profit.

Our coalition members have visited and watched hundreds of pot shops, monitored their advertizing and their product offerings and watched who goes in and out. About 90 percent of customers are males under the age of 30. This is not the demographic of the seriously ill.

Question: What should be done?

Answer: We shouldn’t be fooled by this back door marijuana legalization of pot shops, with their diversion to teens and their message of normalization of drug use.

The California Healthy Kids Survey indicated a 70 percent increase among 11th graders in San Diego City Schools from 2007 to 2011. According to County Health and Human Resources, the average age of first use of marijuana is now 14 and nearly 80 percent of teens in county drug treatment facilities are being treated for marijuana addiction. And SANDAG reports 48 percent of males arrested for a crime test positive for marijuana.

Teen and adult use of marijuana in Colorado is twice the national average based on research by the Colorado Department of Public Health. For our kids, for our schools, for safe roads and for safe communities we should keep marijuana illegal and close down the ruse of medi-pot dispensaries.

And we certainly shouldn’t legalize marijuana in 2016. This would set in motion the huge machinery of “Big Marijuana” that is nipping at the heels of our communities. Like “Big Tobacco,” “Big Marijuana” knows the real money comes with targeting the young, building a market based on addicted young users. It is a public health tragedy that we can’t afford.

Scott Chipman is a parent and a Pacific Beach resident for 45 years. He is co-founder of SavePB.org, co-founder of San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods and Southern California Chairman of CALMca.org – Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.
Comments
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denis4x4
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September 09, 2015
I live in Colorado 10 months of the year. Mr. Kelly's talking points are interesting. However, the reality of legal marajuna is a whole different situation. There are no valid tests to determine if a driver is under the influence. Edibles are a series problem for children as well as pets. Petty crime is up as are transients begging on every street corner. The tax revenue is not what was promised. Very high taxes have pushed the business back to the street. Be very careful what you wish for.
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015
If I were this prohibitionist zealot author and worried so much about "saving all of us" adults from ourselves, under the guise of protecting "The Children", well then, I'd begin with the deadliest drug, which causes more broken homes, domestic violence, and traffic fatalities than all other drugs, combined, which is alcohol.

Yet alcohol remains perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised, even glorified as an All American pastime.

Why doesn't the much more prevalent, more widely abused, use of alcohol concern you much more than marijuana which is a relatively benign drug when compared to all other ones?

Protesting the legality of booze should be your number one priority if you are truly so concerned about "saving us all" from ourselves.
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015
There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.



The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.



Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.



Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.



With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what's left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?



Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!



Legalize Nationwide!...and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015
If prohibitionists really want to protect families from a drug proven to destroy lives and families, then they should be up in arms, protesting the legality of booze.

Alcohol is the number one cause for traffic fatalities and domestic violence by a huge landslide.

Alcohol is also infused into literally a ton of deserts and fruity drinks that "The Children" find appealing.

Why doesn't the much more harmful yet perfectly legal use of alcohol concern you prohibitionists more than relatively benign marijuana? It should.

Regarding "The Children",

Let's not use "The Children" as an excuse to prohibit and criminalize adult use of a natural plant far less dangerous than perfectly legal alcohol because nobody condones child use, and this is about allowing adults only to choose marijuana.

It's our responsibility as parents by to educate our children on drug use. It's not the government's job to force Draconian Marijuana Laws upon every adult citizen under the guise of protecting "The Children".

What message are we sending our children when it is easier for them to obtain marijuana now with it being illegal than it is for them to buy alcohol?

It doesn't take the intellect of a genius to understand that stores card kids for I.D. Thugs and gang members do not. They also push the real hard drugs on children. Stores do not.

Marijuana legalization will make it harder for children to obtain it.

What message does it send our children when the President of The United States himself alongside a long list of successful people openly admit regular pot use at one time or another in their lives?

While we tell our kids how it will ruin their futures, and then ensure so, by allowing our government to to jail our children and give them permanent criminal records when they get caught with a little Marijuana. Especially, if they are the wrong skin color or from the "wrong neighborhood". Which in turn, ruins their chances of employment for life.

The Prohibition of Marijuana is the wrong message to send our children while we glorify, advertise and promote the much more dangerous use of alcohol like it's an all American pastime.

The worst thing about marijuana and our children is what happens to them when they get caught up in the criminal justice system due to it's prohibition.

Protect "The Children" and Our Neighborhoods Through The Legalization and Regulation of Marijuana Nationwide!
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015
Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, "Conspiracy Theories" and "Doomsday Scenarios" over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny, crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it's obviously defective.

The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about "saving us all" from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They'll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015
The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.

The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

Even The President of the United States has used marijuana. Has it hurt his chances at succeeding in life? If he had gotten caught by the police during his college years, he may have very well still been in prison today! Beyond that, he would then be fortunate to even be able to find a minimum wage job that would consider hiring him with a permanent criminal record. Let's end this hypocrisy now!

The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015
In the prohibitionist's world, anybody who consumes the slightest amount of marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes are "stoners" and "dopers" that need to be incarcerated in order to to protect society.

In their world, any marijuana use equates to marijuana abuse, and it is their God given duty to worry about "saving us all" from the "evils" of marijuana use.

Who are they to tell us we can't choose marijuana, the safer choice instead of alcohol for relaxation, after a long, hard day, in the privacy of our own homes?

People who use marijuana are smart, honest, hard working, educated, and successful people too, who "follow the law" also.(except for their marijuana consumption under it's current prohibition of course) .

Not the stereotypical live at home losers prohibitionists make us out to be. We are doctors, lawyers, professors, movie stars, and politicians too.

Several Presidents of The United States themselves, along with Justin Trudeau, Bill Gates, and Carl Sagan have all confessed to their marijuana use. As have a long and extensive list of successful people throughout history at one point or other in their lives.

Although that doesn't mean a dam thing to people who will make comments like "dopers" and "stoners" about anybody who uses the slightest amount of Marijuana although it is way safer than alcohol.

To these people any use equals abuse, and that is really ignorant and full of hypocrisy. While our society promotes, advertises, and even glorifies alcohol consumption like it's an All American pastime.

There is nothing worse about relaxing with a little marijuana after a long hard day than having a drink or two of alcohol.

So come off those high horses of yours. Who are you to dictate to the rest of society that we can't enjoy Marijuana, the safer choice over alcohol, in the privacy of our own homes?

We've worked real hard our whole lives to provide for our loved ones. We don't appreciate prohibitionists trying to impose their will and morals upon us all.

Has a marijuana user ever forced you to use it? Probably not. So nobody has the right to force us not to either.

Don't try to impose your morality and "clean living" upon all of us with Draconian Marijuana Laws, and we won't think you're such prohibitionist hypocrites.

Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!
BrianKelly
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September 01, 2015


"Smoking marijuana is 114 times safer than drinking alcohol"

http://rt.com/usa/234903-marijuana-safer-alcohol-deadly/

"Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say"

"Marijuana may be even safer than previously thought, researchers say New study: We should stop fighting marijuana legalization and focus on alcohol and tobacco instead By Christopher Ingraham February 23

Compared with other recreational drugs — including alcohol — marijuana may be even safer than previously thought. And researchers may be systematically underestimating risks associated with alcohol use.

Those are the top-line findings of recent research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature. Researchers sought to quantify the risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances. They found that at the level of individual use, alcohol was the deadliest substance, followed by heroin and cocaine."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/23/marijuana-may-be-even-safer-than-previously-thought-researchers-say/

"The report discovered that marijuana is 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Researchers were able to determine this by comparing the lethal doses with the amount of typical use. Through this approach, marijuana had the lowest mortality risk to users out of all the drugs they studied. In fact—because the numbers were crossed with typical daily use—marijuana is the only drug that tested as "low risk."

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/02/scientific-reports-weed-114-safer-alcohol
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