OPINION|Mike Hardman: Caution on Marijuana Legislation
Dollar bill green is the favorite color of marijuana supporters these days, but it really should be yellow, like proceed with caution in Massachusetts and other states.
The rush to legally buy a bag of weed and for people to make money off it is taking us down a dangerous road. Cities and towns are looking at as a cash flow solution to their draining coffers.Smoke a joint and save a public service could be the media campaign, but the reality is that these facilities are being placed in poorer communities, who are already dealing with a variety of problems.
What’s clouding our judgment here is that a certain generation of us have grown up with a romanticized view of marijuana. For teenagers, it was a rite of passage to lit up and one of the first attempts at doing something illegal and getting away with it.
We’re hearing the marijuana will be a cure-all for ill health, which we all have with legalizing medical marijuana, which is controlled by physicians.From all the studies we see about the benefits of marijuana, we see an equal amount taking the stand that long-term marijuana use can be very harmful. A concern is that younger adults could have their brains adversely. The other reality is that we don’t know enough about the long-term on the lungs, brain, and other critical organs. Using an antidote, us of a certain age, know a long-term marijuana user who looks burnout in his 50s and 60s and assumes pot played a role in that.
We also don’t have laws in effect for dealing with people driving under the influence of marijuana. Police will have the hands tied without a test. Studies do show people are affected by driving under the influence of marijuana, although it is believed to be less than alcohol.
Guidelines for advertising need to be in place, so we don’t see a repeat of the old cigarettes ads that claimed to keep us calm, allowing us to relax while delivering a good taste every time.
I’m afraid we are going to read marijuana package that looks the Chesterfield ads of the 1950s with the medical statement, “'It is my opinion that the ears, nose, throat and accessory organs of all participating subjects examined by me were not adversely affected in the six-month period by smoking the cigarettes provided."
Boy were they wrong. Let’s not make the same mistake with marijuana until all the questions are answered.
Think yellow, not green.
(Mike Hardman is the digital media editor for WBSM. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.)