As announced Sunday by Fox News and U.S.A Today, President Obama stated in an upcoming ”The New Yorker” magazine that he believes that smoking marijuana is less addictive and less habit forming than alcohol. And in his opinion, no more dangerous than alcohol; “ in terms of impact on the individual consumer.”
Furthermore, the president pointing to his own youthful experience with the drug, stating that while he believes smoking marijuana to be a bad habit, a waste of time and something that he discourages his own children from imbibing in, he looks to the punishment for its use inflicted on the often poor black and hispanic youth as being disproportionate to the misdeed.
I agree, I find the current law to be outdated as well as unjust.
I find it interesting that the president has in one hand underlined the importance of legalization of recreational marijuana sales and use in Colorado and Washington state, while sidestepping the broader implications of ending the federal prohibition of marijuana; an issue that has impacted the lives of millions of Americans over the past 70 + years.
As a business owner, employer and former resident of California’s “ Emerald Triangle,” I’ve witnessed both sides of the debate. Watching a rural, timber based economy rebound from destitute poverty to a viable private and public entity through the proceeds of a then “illegal” cash flow. I can personally attest to the positive and negative impact of marijuana on the individual.
And yes, despite the president’s assurance, I’ve met several people, including employees and associates, psychologically if not physically addicted to weed. But then again, I’ve known many alcoholics, few of them jailed as a cause and effect of drinking.
That’s not the president’s point nor mine. It’s time for personal moderation of use as well as a common sense approach; as to educating the nation’s youth as to the truth about marijuana use.
On the business side, without marijuana farming and commerce much of rural America would be destitute. Unfortunately, without federal matching funds for the eradication of marijuana, many local and county jurisdiction law enforcement would be shuttered. And that of-course has been a stumbling block for progressive marijuana legislation for decades.
Without eradication money from the Fed, your local jurisdiction would not sport air surveillance, new trucks and quads. They would turn a blind eye to marijuana, spending all resources on the eradication of Meth and Heroin.
I will stop short of naming these agencies.
There is a prevailing issue originating at the federal level and the president should be held accountable.
We have lawmakers such as California Congressman Jared Huffman D- San Rafael requesting the inclusion of rural counties such as Humboldt to be designated HUDTA ( high intensity drug trafficking areas.) This designation qualifies rural underfunded county law agencies to receive funds as well as dispatched federal agents to the designated area.
While Sheriff Mike Downey's problem of understaffed, under budgeted drug enforcement is real enough, this never ending marijuana prohibition money shuffle will never end without the lifting of that prohibition. His is not an unusual example. C.A.M.P.( campaign against marijuana planting) has been ongoing in Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity county for well over 30 years. And yet, the “weed” industry is bigger than ever.
Many rural and urban law enforcement agencies partner with federal agencies in drug enforcement and eradication. And while Huffman points to Meth eradication, much of the resource will be exhausted through marijuana eradication, subsequent arrests and persecution.
While I’ll stop short of speaking on behalf of the president, I believe he knows this to be true.
Sunday’s news of the president acknowledging the disparity between illegal implications of marijuana use and the reality of its health impact on the individual may be a link in the chain of events required to repeal the federal prohibition of the use and distribution of marijuana.
As a citizen that believes in the promotion and preservation of your “freedom of choice” within the restraint of reasonable and universally accepted law; as mandated by the majority, I certainly hope so...
Presidential quote excerpts from U.S.A. Today and the A.P.. All rights reserved Parks R. McCants 2014.