The high road to hell
There will very likely be a ballot question in 2016 seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. We know this because the activists who in 2012 successfully perpetrated the “medical” marijuana scam are the same people who are now working on the 2016 ballot question to make pot available for recreational use.
You’d have to be very naïve to believe that medical marijuana was anything but a foot in the door toward full legalization.
Thankfully, to date not a single medical marijuana “dispensary” has opened in Massachusetts. We can only hope that the recreational pot business meets with a similar level of success.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has had to dismiss many applicants for medical marijuana licenses over issues ranging from inaccurate financial information to fabricated credentials.
Wait – you mean people who want to sell weed under the guise of medicine aren’t on the level? Say it ain’t so!
Massachusetts potheads are outraged that no medical marijuana dispensaries have opened more than two years after the voters approved it.
Note that I didn’t say that medical professionals are outraged. If pot is truly the miracle drug that advocates claim it is, why haven’t doctors and nurses taken to the streets to protest this bureaucratic foot-dragging at the expense of their suffering patients? Why hasn’t the Massachusetts Medical Society taken out a full page ad in the Boston Globe?
Meanwhile, we are in the throes of an epidemic of opiate addiction. Granted, pot isn’t an opiate, but it has plenty of potential for abuse. Where’s the credibility in the message that it’s fine to get high on one type of dope but not another?
Because, let’s face it, it’s all about getting high. Weed activists argue that pot is akin to alcohol, which is legal and socially accepted. That comparison might work if it were socially acceptable to drink to the point of getting legless.
Socially acceptable drinking usually means a glass of wine with dinner or a couple of cocktails at a party. There’s no marijuana equivalent of nursing a drink over the course of an hour. And given that today’s hydroponically grown pot is many times stronger than the Mexican ditch weed most of us knew in our youth, all it takes is one or two hits and you’re wasted.
Another reason why no medical marijuana dispensaries have opened in Massachusetts is because the 2012 ballot question law that the voters approved had more holes in it than John Lennon hallucinated in the Albert Hall.
But never fear, Massachusetts state legislators have stepped up to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen with recreational weed.
Rep. Dave Rogers (D-Belmont) and Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerset) introduced H.1561, a bill that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for legal use by adults. A bipartisan group of 13 co-sponsors has signed on in support. The legislators claim that they simply want to make sure the law is properly crafted, which wouldn’t happen with a ballot question.
Well, that’s a relief.
Fortunately, some of the Commonwealth’s political heavy hitters have signaled their opposition to legalizing recreational use of pot, including Gov. Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
Also, all three of Wakefield’s state legislators – Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. Paul Brodeur and Rep. Donald Wong – did not favor legalizing recreational marijuana when I put the question to them during a WCAT candidates’ debate last year.
Soon after the medical marijuana ballot question passed in 2012, municipalities across the state – including Wakefield – scrambled to zone any potential dispensaries as far away from businesses, schools and parks as possible. (An odd stance toward “medicine,” no?)
I recently spent a week in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational use. But they apparently keep it well hidden, because despite days spent exploring Denver and other towns, I never saw a single pot store. I can only assume that wiser heads recognized that weed shops aren’t the face that they want to present to the world.
I did see a number of news stories on the issue while in Colorado. It seems that legal pot isn’t coming close to pulling in the tax windfall that was promised. And law enforcement officials in surrounding states are none too happy with Colorado’s law.
I also saw a public service announcement on a Denver TV station urging people to “use cannabis responsibly.” So you can start thinking now about how you’re going to explain that one to your children when legal pot hits the Bay State.
And there was also a news story on a Denver TV station about Ben & Jerry’s considering coming out with marijuana ice cream – because of course they are.
There’s always so much to look forward to in Massachusetts.
[This column originally appeared in the April 2, 2015 Wakefield Daily Item.]
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Tags: addiction, alcohol, Colorado, drugs, high, legalization, marijuana, Mark Sardella, Massachusetts, medical marijuana, opiates, pot, recreational marijuana, Wakefield Daily Item, weed