Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Forget What You Learned in School — Alcohol is the Real Gateway Drug

As anyone who's been through a DARE speech — and that's pretty much anyone who's gone to school in the United States — one of the first things they tell you about cannabis is that it's a "gateway drug.

By that they mean one puff from a joint, pipe or vaporizer will condemn you to a life where you are not only at the mercy of mary jane, but harder drugs like heroin, cocaine and toad licking. Think "Reefer Madness," and those of you who've never sat through one of those presentations will understand.

It's taken as gospel among anti-drug crusaders, despite the fact we've have presidents who've admitted to smoking pot (regardless whether or not they actually inhaled), as have a sizable number of active and productive adults in the last 50 years.

A University of Florida study calls that orthodoxy of drug control into question. In fact, it's a legal substance (though not for minors) that they've discovered is more likely to lead them down the path of harder drugs.


From a University of Florida press release about the study, to be published in the August issue of the Journal of School Health:

"In addition, the drug use documented found that substance use typically begins with the most socially acceptable drugs, such as alcohol and cigarettes, then proceeds to marijuana use and finally to other illegal, harder drugs. Moreover, the study showed that students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood — up to 16 times — of licit and illicit substance use."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tacoma City Council Pro-Cannabis in Legislation, Newspaper Runs Anti-Pot Editorial

The Tacoma City Council plans to zone areas where marijuana would legally be sold, and it's a bold first step to bring sanity and a mature perspective to medical and recreational marijuana use.

You'd think the media would give credit to legislators who are forward thinking and who have the fortitude to stand up for individual rights. But you haven't read The News Tribune.

A plan to sanction areas where medical pot dispensaries can operate legally is poised to be approved. Additional plans call for collective gardens, where those with a green card (which The News Tribune characterizes as "easy to obtain") can buy marijuana.

Their editorial acknowledges there is a need for police to easily patrol areas where there are dispensaries, stating "there’s much to be said for creating a legal framework that would restrict medical marijuana locations and allow Tacoma police to better monitor them."

But The News Tribune perpetuates the notion that all dispensaries must be illegal. However, they do not recognize in their opinion piece is the money the city of Tacoma will save by effectively legalizing marijuana and giving those who are looking for pot a defined place to look for it.

The article also notes how the collectives and dispensaries will be located in economically depressed areas. However, it also fails to take into account the taxes and revenues that will be generated by cannabis-related businesses and the establishments around them.

This is a rare instance where politicians should be applauded for their foresight — however, The News Tribune's adherence to a status quo that's being increasingly challenged? Not so much.