Their major point – marijuana smokers have their lives ruined by the criminal justice system – is a lie. Since 1975 – 1975! — all first time marijuana users in Massachusetts have had their cases automatically sealed or dismissed. Even marijuana distribution is a misdemeanor. I was a prosecutor and defense attorney in Middlesex County from 1986 to 1993. No one went to jail for marijuana possession. No one.
This deception is nothing new. In Oregon, legalization advocates lied that marijuana users amounted to more than half of all drug arrests in the state. They were exposed by politifact.com . The true figure was a tiny fraction.
So why lie? Because the legalization movement has never really been about justice or freedom, it’s driven by corporate interests who make money off addiction. Marijuana is the new Big Tobacco, and like tobacco, the industry will need to capture the youth market for repeat customers.
In fact, the legalization lobbyists in Ohio just got caught unveiling “Buddie” – a
cartoon character whose body is a “joint” and whose head is shaped like a marijuana bud. Do you remember when the tobacco companies used symbols like
“Joe Camel” and then claimed they weren’t marketing to kids?
Since 2008, marijuana has been decriminalized in Massachusetts, and in 2012, it became legal to use it for medical purposes. With our soft marijuana laws, why rush to legalize?
For years, the tobacco industry wrote our tobacco laws and pushed its own “research” to help downplay the risks of that drug. Today’s marijuana millionaires are no different. They consistently deny the research coming out of Colorado showing that legalization does not work.
After two years of retail operations in Colorado, look at what is happening:
• Traffic deaths : 32% increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013.
• Driving under the influence : Toxicology reports with positive marijuana results of active THC for driving under the influence have increased 45%.
• Marijuana use by children : Youth (age 12 to 17) use marijuana at a rate 56% higher than the national average.
• ER visits : A 29% increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits.
• Hospitalizations : A 38% increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations.
• Poison control : Marijuana-only related exposures increased 72% in only one year
• The majority (71 percent) of local jurisdictions ban marijuana in ALL FORMS in Colorado
Meanwhile, Colorado employers report having to recruit out-of-state because applicants cannot pass a drug test, and tax revenue is coming in at about a fifth of the rate promised to voters.
A superintendent tells us: “The only thing marijuana legalization has brought to schools in Colorado is more marijuana.”
We shouldn’t be surprised. Today’s marijuana is not the pot of the 1960s. Fueled by new industrial growing, processing and marketing techniques (sound like cigarettes?), today’s marijuana is five to 30 times stronger.
Teens and young people are particularly vulnerable, since their brains are under rapid development until age 25. Nationally, more youths are in treatment for marijuana dependence than for alcohol or any other drug combined. This is a fact.
Research shows that teens who smoke marijuana once a week over a two-year period are almost six times more likely than nonsmokers to drop out of school and three times less likely to enter college. But with Big Marijuana selling pot as harmless, most young people aren’t getting that message.
In an age of breezy conjecture and promises, it can be difficult to get the facts on 21st Century marijuana. Read the “Rocky Mountain HIDTA Report” and learn about the disaster happening in Colorado. This is a preview of coming attractions if Massachusetts voters approve legalization.