What Does it Take to Admit the Failures of Legalizing Pot?
This past week a butane explosion rocked a North Portland neighborhood killing two men, the home owner and a man working on the home. The force of the explosion was so great that it leveled the home, damaged the two adjacent homes and threw debris across the street into a park where children were playing. When will Oregonians say “Enough is enough”? Legalization may not have caused this deadly incident, but it sure did contribute to it.
Oregon’s beautiful city, Portland, gained fame through the TV series Portlandia. People are nice and the drivers are generally more polite there. Although most major cities saw declines in real estate values during the recession, Portland’s real estate values rose very high. With its food culture, microbreweries and movie theaters, Portland has become the place “young people go to retire.” How long will the reputation last?
Marijuana labs — sometimes called hash oil labs or BHO labs — were exploding before legalization, but the problem grew bigger after marijuana possession became legal in July 2015. The number of burn victims rose from 7 to 30 within a year. Today marijuana users can buy “wax” or “dabs” from licensed dispensaries, but it is cheaper to make at home using butane. Unlicensed chemists who run the marijuana labs may be trying to sell their own supply to undercut the legal market. Or they be so addicted that risking death is not enough to stop them.
(Washington and Colorado outlawed the BHO labs after legalization; Oregon and California passed laws against the practice before legalizing weed. Since those laws aren’t working, some places in California are banning the sale of butane.)
What about mental health care?
The Vermont legislature failed to legalize pot this year. Vermont’s savvy governor probably recognized the need for more mental health care before legalizing a substance that assaults the brain. Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who makes mental health care his mission, had been warning of this problem. Oregon illustrates the problem of not having a rock solid, foolproof mental health care system in place before legalizing marijuana.
Twice this year, psychotic stoners brought knives onto the public transportation in Portland and terrified the public. On May 26, Jeremy Christian killed two men who were defending the Muslim women he was attacking. He had declared his love for cannabis on Facebook. Christian’s behavior was consistent with marijuana-induced psychosis.
On May 10, a 24-year-old in a mental health crisis terrified a group of people on the train, including a 17-year-old. Unfortunately a policeman shot Terrell Johnson to death. An investigation has cleared the officer of wrongdoing. Johnson began smoking pot at age 12 or 13. He was a healthy, “normal” young guy before THC assaulted his brain. The police officer had no choice when the guy pursued him. Anthony Bonofiglio, a man on a train the night before the final incident, described Johnson’s bizarre behavior in the police report. Johnson was in full-blown psychosis! His toxicology report revealed marijuana and a small amount of alcohol.
Psychosis is not a condition that the brain can just snap out of once it’s triggered. A hospital in the state of Washington gets one or two new psychosis patients every day. The medical staff at Providence St. Peter’s in Olympia stabilizes the patients with a drug Risperdal to stop the psychosis. It’s a temporary treatment which doesn’t solve the problem.
Other Accidents and Lawsuits in Portlandia
A stoned driver killed pedestrian Elizabeth Kemble within a week of the opening of commercial pot stores. Two months later, a driver high on pot killed bicyclist Martin Greenough in Portland. His family is suing the city of Portland. Furthermore, a construction worker who was burned in a hash oil explosion at a legal marijuana facility in Oregon is suing also. The District Attorney of Clatsop County Oregon, Josh Marquis, warned ahead of time that only the lawyers would benefit from legalization.
Marijuana is already popular and adults have a right to do what they want with their bodies. These popular arguments reveal how little our society cares about the young, mostly males, who go psychotic from marijuana. If they die or lose their minds, it was their choice to use substances, the legalizers say.
On the other hand, how long can we persist in ignoring the rights of others who are affected by this failed experiment? Marijuana labs do affect the neighbors, and they overwhelm our fire departments and burn centers.
Other marijuana-related emergency visits overwhelm the hospitals. All of us must pay for it in some way. We know marijuana legalization is not working in Washington, Colorado or California.
Miley Cyrus is Latest Celebrity to Renounce Marijuana
About a week ago, 24-year-old Miley Cyrus announced that she hasn’t smoked marijuana for three weeks The star stated that, “I like to surround myself with people that make me want to get better, more evolved, and open. And I was noticing, it’s not the people that are stoned.”
Cyrus began her career at a young age when she landed the role for Hannah Montana in 2004. Two years later she launched her singing career with the release of the Hannah Montana soundtrack which featured her father, Billy Ray Cyrus. In 2012 in an attempt to distance herself from the Disney persona she decided to chop off her hair, thus creating the Miley with whom we are all now very familiar. Some of her most “famous” antics were when she twerked on stage with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV awards, and also when she pulled out a marijuana cigarette on stage European Video Music Awards. There were several weed references when she hosted the awards in 2015.
Recently the star is approaching life with a new attitude. Miley insists that the decision to stop smoking pot was entirely her call and also shared that, “I’m completely clean right now!” She is now excited to focus on some new music. She also began talking to her ex-fiancé again, Liam Hemsworth, as well as working as well as working on her relationship with him. It’s rather amazing to see the change in a person after they stop using drugs.
Woody Harrelson Says Pot Kept Him from being Emotionally Available
Another celebrity who recently renounced their love for marijuana is long-time activist Woody Harrleson, who held a position on the advisory board of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). After 30 years of partying and smoking marijuana he said, “The drug kept me from being emotionally available.” In 2016 the actor submitted an application to start open a medical marijuana dispensary on his island home of Hawaii. His request was denied in May and this might have been around the same time as he started to quit smoking pot. As of March 21st of this year Harrelson told the media that he had been clean from marijuana for the past year and he intends to stay clean in order fto live the life he wants.
Celebrities who quit smoking for their kids
Clifford Smith, also known by his stage name Method Man, is a famous rapper who is known for his role in marijuana advocacy. His role in the movie, How High, and lyrics in the song, Tical, are a few examples of how the celebrity promotes marijuana use to his audiences. Although Smith has not completely sworn off marijuana, he has definitely backed off the forefront of advocacy. In an interview he mentions that raising his kids is more important than being high all the time. And it has come as a major shock to fans and people who have seen and heard his work. Method Man is part of the rap group, “The Wu-Tang Clan” which consists of 10 different artists, two of them being nick named RZA and GZA. These two members decided to stop smoking before Method Man; their decision to quit may have rubbed off on their friends!
Mark Wahlberg’s Secret Unveiled in Surprising Way
Boston native, Mark Wahlberg, also recently quit using marijuana because of a conversation he had with his daughter. He said, “One day we were driving and you could smell it from somewhere. My daughter asked what the smell was so I told her it was a skunk. Then she said, ‘Sometimes Daddy smells like that!’ to me and my wife. So I knew I had to quit.”
These are just a few celebrities who have quit using marijuana. For a longer list, please click here.
Last Tuesday the Vermont House of Representatives planned to vote on a bill to allow possession and home grows for marijuana. However, when it came to a floor vote, the pot proponents knew there were not enough votes to pass the bill.
Even though Vermont’s former governor supported legalization, a legalization bill failed miserably in the Vermont House last year. The new bill is less expansive than last year’s bill, but legalization appears to be headed for failure this year.
Vermont’s new governor, Phil Scott, has made it clear that the legislature needs to find safeguards against drugged driving. There is no simple test to measure stoned driving, as there is for drunk driving. Individuals have a legal right to refuse a blood test, and police must get a court order to administer the tests. THC levels in the blood may go down during the waiting period.