Skip to comments.Michelle Malkin: Put aside the pot jokes and look again at Colorado legalization
Posted on 03/26/2014 9:58:12 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Our great friend and Boss Emeritus, Michelle Malkin, offers a powerful testimony today in her column on marijuana legalization — and a surprisingly personal perspective. Sure, we all have fun with jokes at Colorado’s experiment with recreational approval, but the access it creates does more than just serve as easy access to intoxication. Michelle found herself in one of the pot shops that have opened to serve demand that comes from more than just fun and games, hoping to find help for her mother-in-law:
Its 9 a.m. on a weekday, and Im at the Marisol Therapeutics pot shop. This is serious business. Security is tight. ID checks are frequent. Merchandise is strictly regulated, labeled, wrapped and controlled. The store is clean, bright and safe. The staffers are courteous and professional. Customers of all ages are here.
Theres a middle-aged woman at the counter nearby who could be your school librarian. On the opposite end of the dispensary, a slender young soldier in a wheelchair with close-cropped hair, dressed in his fatigues, consults with a clerk. Theres a gregarious cowboy and an inquisitive pair of baby boomers looking at edibles. A dude in a hoodie walks in with his backpack.
And then theres my husband and me. …
For the past three months, my mother-in-law, Carole, whom I love with all my heart, has battled metastatic melanoma. After a harrowing week of hospitalization and radiation, shes at home now. A miraculous new combination of oral cancer drugs seems to have helped enormously with pain and possibly contained the diseases spread. But Caroles loss of appetite and nausea persist.
A month ago, with encouragement from all of her doctors here in Colorado, she applied for a state-issued medical marijuana card. It still hasnt come through. As a clerk at Marisol Therapeutics told us, theres a huge backlog.
In states where only medicinal use is permitted, Carole would still be out of luck. However, in Colorado, access for recreational use also allows people to get around the permitting process temporarily, although the prices go up for non-medicinal use:
But thanks to Amendment 64, the marijuana drug legalization act approved by voters in 2012, we were able to legally and safely circumvent the bureaucratic holdup. A lot of people are in your same situation, the pot shop staffer told us. We see it all the time, and were glad we can help.
Be sure to read it all. Michelle makes a good point about the entrepreneurial aspects of Colorado’s legalization, as well as the improved ability for citizens to exercise their own choice on both recreational intoxicants and medical treatments. The marijuana is grown on site and/or locally, so it involves no issues that would normally invoke federal jurisdiction.
That leaves the question, though, of whether marijuana actually does provide an effective therapeutic treatment. Unfortunately, this is another area in which the federal government obstructs rather than clarifies, as the Washington Post reported last week:
While 20 states and the District have made medical marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington state the drug is also legal for recreational use it remains among the most tightly controlled substances under federal law. For scientists, that means extra steps to obtain, transport and secure the drug delays they say can slow down their research by months or even years.
The barriers exist despite the fact that the number of people using marijuana legally for medical reasons is estimated at more than 1 million.
Stalled for decades because of the stigma associated with the drug, lack of funding and legal issues, research into marijuanas potential for treating diseases is drawing renewed interest. Recent studies and anecdotal stories have provided hope that marijuana, or some components of the plant, may have diverse applications, such as treating cancer, HIV and Alzheimers disease.
But scientists say they are frustrated that the federal government has not made any efforts to speed the process of research. Over the years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has turned down several petitions to reclassify cannabis, reiterating its position that marijuana has no accepted medical use and remains a dangerous drug. The DEA has said that there is a lack of safety data and that the drug has a high potential for abuse.
It’s a typical bureaucratic catch-22. The government has declared marijuana to be among the most dangerous of controlled substances so few can access it for studies to determine its value, and the federal government uses the lack of established evidence of its value to justify its classification. Meanwhile, several states have had years of experience in medicinal legalization with apparently few ill effects, which is at least indirect evidence that the DEA has misclassified marijuana, but no one wants to take the politically risky step of reducing control over weed. Meanwhile, people like Carole have to live in states like Colorado in order to make their own decisions over access and effectiveness.
I’m not a fan of marijuana, and I do worry about the moral signal that legalizing recreational use sends, but at least so far it hasn’t had any worse impact than alcohol. We should at least study the impact of marijuana so that we can have an informed debate.
So much for the rhetoric of “tax the hell out of it”.
Decriminalize and keep the tax out of it.
I worry more about the political signal that saying we can't let this be a State's Rights issue because we can't trust the States to make the right decision sends.
And we sure want more people out there driving DUI.
National marijuana prohibition is dead and it isn’t coming back. The states are dealing with it now, as they should have been all along per the Tenth Amendment.
Treatment? Like an antibiotic? Feh.
People tend to crow the most about states' rights when it involves an issue they support.
But when it's something they are against - marijuana, assisted suicide, gay marriage, etc - they become the Fed Govt's biggest cheerleaders.
It's really NOT!!!! Wah!!
I know it’s quaint, but there was a time in this country that taxes existed to raise funds, not to accomplish social engineering goals. Its no better when we do it for our goals.
Disappointing, as Malkin has been one of the few pundit/columnists left that I stuck with, as so many of the so-called conservative writers went off the rails in so many ways (hello, Ann Coulter!). I don’t agree with Malkin here. Ah, well. To hell with ‘em all. I’ve pretty much stopped reading each and every one of them, just like I stopped watching FoxNews.
so which drug do you pin the intoxication and incompetance on?....alcohol always gets the wrap because its politically correct to attack alcohol while other stuff like weed and cocaine just get that little wink wink...afterall, all the beautiful people use the coke.....
Legalize pot and increase the vocabulary of the teenagers. Words such as; like, um ya know, like, wow, dude, awesome, like yea, cool, DUDE, ya know, uh yea, bummer and other words of brilliance will become the most commonly used vernacular of the useless idiot generation. Aspirations of nothingness come to mind for their future./Sad
not sure what you are saying, CO is taxing the hell out of it.
If it needs to be under federal authority then we need to get an amendment. If they think we can abuse the Commerce Clause without unintended consequences they're pissing into the wind.
Go downtown and buy a dimebag furkreissakes
It’s the same malarkey used when they say “the money will be directed towards education”.
Pass it on it’s own merit.
Dangling a carrot of wealth for the state while reducing other taxes is bogus, specially when they are setting up ways to circumvent the tax (and subsidize people’s pot use).
Nobody ever buys my glasses or contacts (if I buy an insurance plan, it pretty much works out to pre-tax income being set aside and “maxes out” at about the rate I put in).
But free pot and sex pills on the public’s dime. Okay.
I think the proper question is not whether marijuana is harmful, it is, or whether it leads to undesirable collateral problems, it does, the question is, are the disadvantages of legalizing marijuana greater or less than the disadvantages of continuing to, at least notionally, make it illegal?
In my view the corruption and general disregard for the rule of law is so harmful to a society which is already disintegrating partly because of a general disregard for the rule of law that I believe the harm of keeping it technically illegal far exceeds the societal harm of legalizing it. I believe that we are reaping all the disadvantages of illegality,such as driving under the influence, and none of the advantages of making marijuana legal, such as disincentivizing criminal activity.
At the same time we are not reaping the advantages of making marijuana illegal, such as reducing consumption rates.
The war on drugs is lost, and the war on corruption is about to be lost as well.
Yep. America-2014 for you. A nation of dopeheads and degenerates.
My take as well. States should be free to do this sort of experimentation. Vermont, for example, with single-payer (it isn't, I hear, going all that well), Colorado with pot. If it works out well enough and other states want to follow suit, so be it; if not, then that's fine too. There are still a number of dry counties down South, to cite another example, and they have every right to be.
That isn't how political activists think, though. For them the federal route offers the most power over the most people, and never mind experimentation because they know they're right. Which is precisely where a weak federal government has its advantages.
in Colorado, access for recreational use also allows people to get around the permitting process temporarily, although the prices go up for non-medicinal use: But thanks to Amendment 64, the marijuana drug legalization act approved by voters in 2012, we were able to legally and safely circumvent the bureaucratic holdup. A lot of people are in your same situation, the pot shop staffer told us. We see it all the time, and were glad we can help.
There are the taxes they are exempted from.
Can I get it for sleep apnea? Loss of appetite? Nerves? As a substitute for evil alcohol? Barn door is wide open to pay the lower rate and they are trying to fast track exemptions.
There were all kinds of quacks writing prescriptions for teachers to cut class when the union wanted a strike.
I enjoy her commentary but haven’t seen Michelle on “Fox and Friends” on Thursday mornings recently. Maybe she’s on with a different host or no longer has a Fox contract. Anyone know?
They want exemption from DUI laws. Pot stays in their bloodstream but is “inactive”, don’t you know? Besides stoners only “drive too slow” they claim.
Never mind that the deadly accidents aren’t from 0.08 drunk drivers (being pushed downward to 0.03 and it’s 0.01 in Sweden).
Since the standard for alcohol use is headed towards “any measurable amount in your blood”, why not go ahead and keep pot at that threshold? They were fine with demonizing alcohol and tobacco.
Remember that abortion and gay marriage in the military and for federal employees, and in immigration, and homosexuals in the military, are all federal.
We need to select candidates who are against liberalism at all levels, from city hall to the state, to the Senate and Presidency, whether negotiating with a County union, or state legislation on gay marriage or abortion, or marriage recognition and abortion in the military, and not let them exist as leaders who support the left’s causes, by pretending that they are forced to support the left’s agenda.
And that's a fact for better or worse.
You can't even get a majority of Republicans to oppose its legalization.
The highest concentration of opposers are in politics and Law Enforcement...who directly benefit from its illegal status.
Exactly. And unlike alcohol and tobacco which are hard to “manufacture” for personal use, marijuana is easy to grow. We found a 4 foot plant growing on the roof on our dorm once. I’m glad Colorado did this so we can watch what happens. My guess is that use will go way up but tax revenues will be weak.
If the deer won’t eat it and it was legal, I’d grow it here....to help with my anorexia.
Yep. The libertarians will get to see this one and only state’s rights issue prevail. All our other rights will be handed down from Big DC. All because the immoral, cultural destructive left will agree with them on this one. They’ll rattle on about states rights, personal freedom, and liberty while guns rights, personal property, religious liberty, etc will continue to be defeated by the Libertarian’s pot allies. At the same time, Commoncore, rec pot, and welfare will give us a generation imbeciles the likes of which we could never imagine.
Why not punish the drivers who have accidents rather than roadblocks to snare anyone who doesn’t comply with a series of carnival stunts?
And meanwhile the cellphone driver who nearly paralyzed me is free to chat morning noon and night while she drives about distracted.
DWI tickets are about largely about revenue (MADD, insurance, states, services, courts) and punitive damages against some in the society (those suspected of being from Mexico are cut free to drive home).
Stupid, lazy syllogism.
Explain how any of that changes the original intent of the Constitution, and I'll consider it relevant to this issue.
True, and as even more of the propaganda-addled oldsters get just as dead, legalization will spread.
Legalize pot and the number of guards selling it to those in prison will skyrocket. In Houston, they banned tobacco in the jails because they knew that the guards would sell contraband and by letting them traffic in tobacco rather than pot, they kept the guards from crimes that would send them to prison as well.
Currently employers can prohibit tobacco use among employees (even in off hours). When they try this in a legal pot state, expect there to be claims of “discrimination” against their alternative lifestyle choices.
That's not a problem I'm concerned with.
I'm concerned about every little town in American having their own SWAT team funded by pot prohibition.
Feel free to disagree, but again, it is NONE of the government’s business WHAT I do on my time, in my home, unless is directly, intentionally harms others.
My argument was as logical as his sarcastic “we want more DUI’s.”
Because the people pushing this are all godless liberals, and by extension, also egalitarian postmodernist. Then there’s the Freepers who think it makes them theoretical purists. They ignore and wish away the devastating affect this will have on our culture. Which is the reason men, in a better time, in a better America, banned it.
Attorneys are going to make a lot of money defending clients arrested for driving under the “influence” of marijuana. Most people know about the legal limits on the amount of alcohol in the blood. Traces of marijuana stay in the system a long time. Lawyers will argue that their client had traces of marijuana in their system because they smoked pot days earlier and the client was not high at the time of the arrest. I predict that the lawyers will clean out the clients bank accounts and blow smoke in court.
Under Obama, the Society Security offices, Post Office, et al are armed with armor piercing bullets.
And by “taxing the hell out of it” DEA enforcement (for pot at least) moves under the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms). The same people who performed a military raid on a compound near Waco.
I didn’t care much about the ‘drug war’ until I got ‘swatted’ by a neighbor who wanted our apartment. I do now. Legalize the damn stuff, and quit putting the lives of innocent people at risk at the hands of your local police.
Pot is not subsidized by insurance, in CO. It isn’t taxed like recreational pot; but requires a doctor’s prescription to obtain it at the untaxed rate.
The legal limits for "intoxication" are arbitrary and set quite low for easier conviction.
By the way, blowing below 0.08 does not clear you, blowing above it makes it easier for them to convict you is all.
They can still pursue charges from 0.00-0.07. Have a beer and dare the officers to put you through whatever measures they want. And there is no breathalyzer requirement for a public intoxication charge (they can claim they saw you drink more than 2 adult beverages in an hour).
Those against "the war on drugs" are silent about the drugs of tobacco and alcohol.
Tax revenues are exceeding expectations, to date.