Undoing A Great Deception

The Legislators who appeared on the January 5th 2015 episode of Kentucky Tonight on Kentucky Educational Television that focused on the upcoming session of the Kentucky Assembly, alluded to the ‘hidden costs‘ to society if cannabis were legalized here in Kentucky. They said these ‘hidden costs’ would surely show up if they were to legalize cannabis.
I wonder? With medical cannabis laws in effect for 18 years in California and 14 years in Colorado, exactly how many years should we wait for these ‘costs’ to show up?
At this stage all the arguments against legalization have been pretty well debunked by science and logic. Even the Drug Enforcement Administration, the ultimate in prohibition and excuses for continuing prohibition as drug policy, has been reduced to citing only 4 reasons for continuing cannabis prohibition. These were published in response to an editorial in the New York Times calling for cannabis legalization. They were,
1. Marijuana affects the developing brain. This one started in 2009 when Gordon Brown was Prime Minister of England. He wanted to raise the penalties for cannabis claiming marijuana caused mental illness and schizophrenia. He was trying to gin up votes from the Conservatives. His Chief Medical Advisor quit over it. Since then, with no evidence to support it, this notion has devolved to, ‘Cannabis causes schizophrenia in teens’, and from that to, ‘cognitive impairment in the developing brain’. None of this has any solid evidence to support it.
2. Marijuana has a detrimental effect on academic achievement. Students who get d’s and f’s are more likely to be cannabis users. Ok. Let’s just say that having low grades are also more likely to come from teenagers living in dysfunctional circumstances. Which came first, dysfunctional families or cannabis use? Most likely the dysfunctional family.
These first two points are moot anyway because cannabis will still remain illegal for persons under 21.
3. Marijuana is addictive. Yes cannabis is somewhat addictive in the same way ice cream or Twinkies or television can be addictive and we haven’t made them illegal to save the citizens from them.
4. Drugged driving is a threat to our roadways. This one’s easy to debunk. Like the schizophrenia claim, one has only to ask, “Where are the bodies?” Just as there no numbers supporting the schizophrenia claim there is no increase in traffic accidents to support this claim either. Seventeen years of Californians accessing cannabis and no numbers showing any increase in accidents. Reliable studies show cannabis users get into accidents at the same rate as straight drivers.
Right now across the Commonwealth, tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are using cannabis for medical and recreational purposes every day and we have called them criminals for 78 years. Now, however science, logic, history and the experience of the citizens of the 27 states that have already passed medical cannabis laws show that the prohibition of cannabis is not only unjust but it has been a complete and total failure. Instead of spouting debunked propaganda to continue this unjust prohibition our legislators should be looking towards ending this 78 year mistake.
When Kentucky voted to make marijuana illegal back in 1937, it wasn’t till after the collapse of the cannabis market here in Kentucky that they realized they had been duped. If the writers of the law had used the English name cannabis and not the Mexican word marijuana, the law would have never passed. Our legislators now have the chance to undo this deception and they can begin by passing a comprehensive medical cannabis bill this session.

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