Rebutting A Failed Policy

A letter I wrote to the members of the General Assembly regarding SB11 the medical marijuana bill, and legalizing marijuana in Kentucky garnered a reply from Kentucky House Speaker Mr. Greg Stumbo.  In his reply he said we should keep our current policy because marijuana today is more potent and because adding marijuana as another legal recreational drug will add social damage to that suffered by our citizens already from alcohol and tobacco.  Below is my reply:

Sir,

Thank you for your kind reply to my last letter to you regarding marijuana. I’ve been writing you all in the Assembly for about 6 years now to try to educate the Assembly members about marijuana and to convince you all that the end of marijuana prohibition will be extremely good for Kentucky in all three uses, medical, recreational and industrial.

You cited the potency of the marijuana grown today and the idea of introducing another recreational substance to our citizens which might cause more social damage than we already experience with alcohol and tobacco as your reasons for not supporting ending prohibition here in Kentucky.

Please allow me to address your concerns. As to potency, most marijuana users in other states where medical or now recreational marijuana use is allowed report just using less or more depending on the potency or situation. Wouldn’t the potency be regulated by the State if potency were a problem?

Marijuana like alcohol has industrial, medical and recreational uses. This is where the comparability ends. The terrible outcomes of alcohol use are not present when marijuana is used. Violence, abuse, traffic deaths, all these things the prohibitionists say will happen if we were to allow the citizens the freedom to use marijuana without penalty do not happen. I can say this with confidence because the proof is right before our very eyes.

Consider medical marijuana. Both California and Colorado have had medical marijuana laws in place for well over a decade. If the prohibitionists are to be believed, and both alcohol and marijuana are available to the citizens then all the harms from alcohol should be doubled. There should be double the violence, double the traffic accidents etc. etc. What has happened in these states? Nothing, nada. No increase in the supposed harms that we should be seeing. Medical marijuana was so bad for Colorado that last November they Voted by a wide margin to legalize marijuana for recreational uses. Are they stupid do ya think?

Yes marijuana is usually smoked like tobacco but like tobacco now days there are many ways of ingesting medical marijuana without smoking it. Electronic cigarettes come to mind where one inhales a mist of nicotine and no burning of tobacco is involved. The largest study ever done designed to link marijuana to lung cancer was done by a Dr. Donald Tashkin involving 2500 patients. It was originally supported by the Government however the result showed that regular marijuana users get head neck and lung cancers at the same rate as people who have never smoked anything at all. Dr. Tashkin said in his conclusion that marijuana seemed to act as a cancer preventer. (This is why there is so much hope about marijuana and cancer. This research should be being done here in Kentucky) The Government withdrew it’s support because by law, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the Government can only support research on marijuana that shows harm. The Drug Czar is forbidden to say anything positive about any drug listed as Schedule1. This is why everything the Government says about marijuana is circumspect.

You can find the facts about this subject by going to either NORML.org or MPP.org and click on library. Both sites have everything factually available on the subject both the good and the bad.

I called out to the Colorado office of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to ask what Colorado Legislator there you could call to ask them directly how ten years of medical marijuana have helped or hurt their state. A nice woman named Rachel Gillette told me that you should talk to Congressman Jared Polis. No one knows about how marijuana has affected Colorado more than him. She also laughingly mentioned that one result since legalization is that marijuana use is down, not up. I called Congressman Polis’s Washington office and said I was going to suggest that you call him and they said they would be happy to take your call. The number is 1-202-225-2161. I thought if you could talk to another legislator you would get a different perspective than mine.

Congressman Polis D Colorado and Congressman Earl Blumenauer D Oregon have filed the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013. It would among other things transfer marijuana to the ATF and create a new Department of Alcohol Tobacco Cannabis and Firearms. You can access a copy of the bill at this link—

http://polis.house.gov/uploadedfiles/the_path_forward.pdf

Thank you again for writing. I hope I haven’t bored you but I am passionate about ending this mistake we call prohibition, a policy failure of huge proportions. If you have any questions about this issue please don’t hesitate to ask, I am at your service. Remember every year we wait to end medical and recreational marijuana prohibition we, by the laws of statistics, condemn 9090 of our fellow citizens to arrest and possible jail time solely because we weren’t ‘ready’ or ‘the time is not right’.

Please urge your fellow members of the Assembly to have compassion and at least pass SB11 so our sick and disabled citizens do not have to risk life and freedom for another year for using a medicine the citizens in 18 states can legally use.

Msgt Thomas Vance USAF Ret.

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