IDEMA: Should America legalize marijuana?

Ever since the 1960s, when marijuana use became widespread, our society has debated whether to legalize it. So, let's debate it here.
Feb 12, 2014

First of all, tobacco and alcohol abuse is a much greater problem in our society — both in terms of cost and numbers of abusers — than the abuse of marijuana. However, this is not a valid argument for legalization. Adding one more dangerous drug to our store shelves needs to be evaluated on its own merits or liabilities. 

We tried banning alcohol during Prohibition, and that did not work. Banning tobacco products would get nowhere in Congress due to the tobacco lobby, the taxes from tobacco at all levels of government and tobacco's popularity (unfortunately).

We are continuing to ban marijuana on the federal level, which has filled our prisons (minorities much more than white people). Our federal ban has created many Al Capones  who are making millions pushing "pot" (or "weed"), and they do not reside just in Mexico.

The argument thus far would seem to favor decriminalization of marijuana. In, fact I am in favor of this. 

I am also in favor of allowing people to grow small amounts of pot for their own personal use (what a "small amount" would be, and whether a grower could sell "small amounts" to friends and family without penalty, would need to be decided upon by society).  However, I not in favor of legalization on a commercial basis.

Ironically, politicians in many states (e.g., Colorado, Washington) relish the thought of piles of tax revenue filling the state coffers. "Sin" taxes are popular with politicians.

And don't think corporations aren't licking their chops about getting into the game.

So, legalization is largely a money game. Simply decriminalizing pot and leaving it alone would "deprive" state — and eventually federal coffers — of tons of money, along with the potential fat coffers at corporations that would jump on this bandwagon and push the use of marijuana for profit.

I freely admit smoking pot during my college days in the 1960s. I did not really like it. It made me hungry and interfered with my bridge game. Moreover, smoking "grass" made me sullen and withdrawn. In fact, one way to end meaningful conversations at a party is to pass around "joints."

My last column was on depersonalization. If you want to continue this malady and make it worse, just legalize marijuana!

On the other hand, the use of wine, for example, unlike marijuana has down through the centuries contributed to fellowship and community. Just consider Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana, or his use of wine at the Last Supper to solidify and launch his movement. Many churches center their worship upon the Eucharist, where wine is shared along with bread.

I will close with a bit of psychology. People use drugs to give themselves feelings (a "high") which are not structured into their personality structures. This is why drugs can lead to addictions. Repetition is needed to get "that same old feeling."

Smoking marijuana has one purpose and one only — to get high. That is what makes this drug so dangerous, along with other drugs, including alcohol, for many people. Do we want to add one more vice to our legalized vices, one which may lead to the use of stronger drugs?

I predict marijuana will be legalized (not just decriminalized) because money rules our society and tempts our political leaders, if it does not control them.

Fifty-eight percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana. Politicians will in time turn that societal support, however misguided, into tax revenue — instead of making the hard decisions which would raise revenue in an honorable way.

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist

Comments

tetrahydra

I think that the tribune should stop letting this guy write editorials. What a waste of time this piece was.

Lanivan

Right. And Doolittle's teaching tirade on how to "better understand Obamacare" (wink wink) is soooomuch better!

LessThanAmused

Can we just cut and paste our comments from the other article in here too, or do we have to start all over again?? :-S

Citizen

LULZ

LessThanAmused

LULZ? Have I mentioned how much I hate acronymns?

Citizen

It's an inside joke between me and a friend in the Anonymous organization. It is a corruption based on literal pronunciation of the early Internet acronym LOL with which I suspect you are familiar.

LessThanAmused

Aha...so we're all still chuckling then right? Good enough. Carry on. :-)

wmrelief

If you want to talk about Jesus turning water into wine; I thought you; a pastor would have read the bible in it's original Hebrew version and realized his savior was also brought holy oil @ birth which contained cannabis extract. What is cannabis? The non racist term coined in the 30's called "marihuana" aka marijuana. Back then cannabis (and the non medical varieties often referred to as hemp) were used for everything from Canvass (latin from cannabis) and used in many US pharmaceuticals till banned in 37'(Headachs/Colds/Pain Relief/Many others Bayer was a big one as they are again now with GW pharma) & a million textiles from ropes, sails, & a strong source of nutrition (omega3&protein)
But whatever, drink up and only pick the pages that best apply to you ;)

tetrahydra

Yes Marijuana is a derogatory term nice to see others realize that. This guy Idema is clueless.

Bee

Dazed and Confused.

LessThanAmused

Led Zeppelin I, January 1969. What do I win?

Bee

A magic brownie and a gift card to Taco Bell!

LessThanAmused

DEAL!

Lanivan

Oh no - you're old, remember? Make that a carton of raisins and a box of Meijer-brand oatmeal.

LessThanAmused

Wow, Dudette, what a buzz kill. You must be really old! <|:-p

Silly girl, oatmeal is for breakfast, it's lunchtime now!

Lanivan

Hey - don't mock me! There have been times in my life when I made do with oatmeal for all three meals.....and I used to walk 2 miles to get to school every day....(that part isn't true, but the oatmeal is). :-9

LessThanAmused

Mock you? Perish the thought, it never even occurred to me to do such a thing, but ah yes, there has been times in the past where oatmeal was the main course of the day....
Oh! and Salmon in a can every Friday, ACK!, my mother tried to kill me off with that stuff! Oh, and powered milk, oh my god....nothing worse than drinking powered milk and gagging on the inevitiable lumps.

These above examples brought to you by the "This is why I'm going to taco bell for lunch" group.

We used to walk 4 miles to school, seriously. Hated riding the overcrowded bus and because of the route back home (we were about the last dropoff) we could get home walking before the bus hit our house. Of course, we only did that in the fall and the spring, we rode the bus during the winter...we weren't nuts, just kids with a lot of energy to burn.

Wolverine49457

What a surprise the RINO (reverend in name only) has this position, sure give up and lets legalize pot, in the soviet union they made sure Vodka and Smokes were always available and nearly free to the people would opiate themselves into compliance, they stopped rioting over shortages of food and government injustice and intrusion, they just stayed drunk and died young form the ravages of chain smoking and some of the smoothest alcohol you'll ever drink. This sounds right up a progressive like the current batch of socialist leaning Whitehouse occupiers.

LessThanAmused

Nice rant! A great example of what ignorance and fear can produce.

lakeshore12

Quote from Tribune "Smoking marijuana has one purpose and one only — to get high."
Actually some people use it as a medicine for pain relief. Pretty bold assumption to say people only use it to get high.

ghmomma

Marijuana has proven medical purposes. Not everyone who uses it does so to get high. Not everyone who smokes it gets sullen and withdrawn. Your fictional jesus turned water into wine, cute story, but alcoholism is rampant in this country. Check out the stats for domestic violence and alcohol use, or drunk driving stats. Alcohol addiction ruins lives, families, and kills innocent people. It has NO medical value whatsoever. If you drink more than two drinks a day, if you ever get drunk, you should keep you opinion on this to yourself.

gordbzz231

another double post ?

justpondering

"tobacco and alcohol abuse is a much greater problem in our society". How is tobacco abused?

Citizen

Lots of people overconsume so that they can feel extreme nausea and headache. Am I the only one who enjoys that?

LessThanAmused

Based on the faces of the people I used to see in church on Sunday mornings....I'd say no, definitely not. :-S

Bad-attitude

There are a lot of benefits to using cannabis/ pot/ marijuana many we all know about like appetite stimulation in chemotherapy patients but there are others you may not be familiar with. The National Cancer institute states:
Cannabinoids are active chemicals in Cannabis that cause drug-like effects throughout the body, including the central nervous system and the immune system. They are also known as phytocannabinoids. The main active cannabinoid in Cannabis is delta-9-THC. Another active cannabinoid is cannabidiol, which may relieve pain and lower inflammation without causing the "high" of delta-9-THC.Cannabinoids may be useful in treating the side effects of cancer and cancer treatment.
Other possible effects of cannabinoids include:
Anti-inflammatory activity.
Blocking cell growth.
Preventing the growth of blood vessels that supply tumors.
Antiviral activity.
Article link: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopi...
Not everything is a positive though- Same article lists side effects as:
Have any side effects or risks been reported from Cannabis and cannabinoids?
Adverse side effects of cannabinoids may include:

Rapid beating of the heart.
Low blood pressure.
Muscle relaxation.
Bloodshot eyes.
Slowed digestion and movement of food by the stomach and intestines.
Dizziness.
Depression.
Hallucinations.
Paranoia.
Because Cannabis smoke contains many of the same substances as tobacco smoke, there are concerns about how smoked cannabis affects the lungs. A study of over 5,000 men and women without cancer over a period of 20 years found that smoking tobacco was linked with some loss of lung function but that occasional and low use of cannabis was not linked with loss of lung function.

Because use of Cannabis over a long time may have harmful effects on the endocrine and reproductive systems, rates of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) in Cannabis users have been studied. Larger studies that follow patients over time and laboratory studies of cannabinoid receptors in TGCTs are needed to find if there is a link between Cannabis use and a higher risk of TGCTs.

Both Cannabis and cannabinoids may be addictive.

Symptoms of withdrawal from cannabinoids may include:

Irritability.
Trouble sleeping.
Restlessness.
Hot flashes.
Nausea and cramping (rarely occur).
These symptoms are mild compared to withdrawal from opiates and usually lessen after a few days.

So those that say pot is not addictive are not 100% correct. Pot is less addictive than cigarettes, alcohol, cocaine, heroin and other " hard" street drugs but not free of addictive properties. So we can all argue both sides but if it has a benefit to part of our population who are already suffering due to cancer or other debilitating disease why not allow them the option of a regulated, quality controlled medicinal treatment?

ninja660

Just for conversation - The State of Michigan should use Grand Haven as a test market area for legalized marijuana. There are plenty of staunch opposers, enough trailer parks, schools, youngsters who have old money to try it in privacy, etc. to see what goes on especially at the Coast Guard Festival to see how The Tri-Cities could deal with the situation especially the contstables in Grand Haven, Spring Lake & Ferrysburg.

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