I am going to dive into a conversation that I am sure is being held across the country today…The subject? President Obama’s remarks on marijuana.
It is probably a rant I shouldn’t begin, but then I have never been afraid to speak my mind. I will say, it is an appropriate time to bring this up, considering the two NFL teams going to the Super Bowl hail from Colorado and Washington.
Now, on to the reason for my rant. In New Yorker Magazine an article written by David Remnick a question was posed to the President on what he thought of the legalization of marijuana…
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Mr. Remnick went on to ask the question “is it less dangerous?” and the President’s reply was this:
“in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”
So, what do I think of the Presidents remarks? Flippant at best, negligent at the very least. I will give him ‘brownie’ points on not encouraging people to smoke it, but the statement “pot is a bad habit, vice….a bad idea and not very healthy.”
Hell, I was thinking the same thing at the grocery store just the other day while picking up some chocolate caramel coconut cookies. It is that sugar that will kill you after all.
However, I believe a few things were left out on the subject of ‘Mary Jane, Wacky Tabacky, and Chronic’ while answering those questions in the New Yorker interview. Just a couple of pesky things really. Still federally illegal being the first omission, and let’s not forget addictive being the second. Here are a few things:
“cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern, [that] sale and possession of marijuana should not be legalized, [and that] public healthbased strategies, rather than incarceration, should be utilized in the handling of individuals possessing cannabis for personal use.”
Those are not my words, the statement comes from the AMA (American Medical Association). The president knows who they are because he proudly touted their backing of the Affordable Health Care Law. Well, at least they showed off their pretty white coats in the Rose Garden.
Regarding the addiction he left out, here is something from his old stomping ground Harvard:
Specialists note with concern that THC concentration has been increasing in the herbal form of marijuana. In the United States, THC concentrations in marijuana sold on the street used to range from 1% to 4% of the total product; by 2003, average THC concentration had risen to 7%. Similar trends are reported in Europe. This increased potency might also accelerate development of dependence. –April 2010, (Harvard Health Publications.)
That potency is only increasing. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World:
Although cannabis contains over 400 different chemicals, the main ingredient which affects the mind is THC. The amount of THC in the hemp plant determines the strength of the drug. The weather, soil and other factors determine the percentage of THC found in the plant. By using modern farming techniques, hemp growers have developed strains of cannabis which have much higher levels of THC than in the past. THC levels averaged 1% in 1974 and 4% in 1994. In 2008, levels reached 9.6%, highest ever since analysis of the drug began in the 1970’s. One form of cannabis, called sinsemilla (Spanish for “without seeds”), may have THC levels from 7.5% to as much as 24%.
This is I what say….. Mr. President, I too belonged to a Choom Gang of sorts while in high school. I even tried some prime Hawaiian once (something you may appreciate from your days on the Island).
I was addicted to weed for seven years. I was a teenager when I started, but I never considered it a bad habit, vice or anything like cigarettes. It was an illegal drug, and I knew it. I also have the spine to say it when discussing my addiction I had to it.
Now, I am not going to slam the states of Washington and Colorado for legalizing marijuana. I believe that the states have that right, as did my own state when it legalized marijuana for medical purposes. However, you sir, are a role model for hundreds of thousands of impressionable young minds in this country.
By means of your flippant attitude, you give the impression of condoning the behavior. As you well know, it is not just adults that indulge. You, after all, were also a teenager when you were smoking pot. I understand our culture has embraced the idea of legalization, but to make the statement that pot is no more or less dangerous than alcohol is reckless.
We still as a country are experimenting with the idea of legalization of marijuana. However, that experiment does not preclude us from acknowledging the harmful effects the drug itself can cause.
This country spends billions every year warning individuals of the effects of alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Marijuana deserves the same cautionary standard. To say pot is less dangerous, only fuels the curiosity that kids are born with, I should know I was one of them just like you.
Okay, so back to the Superbowl. Before anyone else comes up with the nickname, here ya go – “The Blunt Bowl” and it comes complete with Doritos commercials.
And the best thing is that the new strains of pot are probably developed genetically. So all of the granola crunchers that won’t dare eat a GMO grain are perfectly happy smoking it.
Robin, you nailed it…There are many articles out discussing the genetic modification of the drug. University of Florida is actually seeking a Patent on the process. I am including an article in this reply that may surprise the AntiGMO crowd. It speaks of the modification and how it DOES increase the THC levels as well. The article is also from the Hawaii Free Press.
Very good read. I feel the same as you that states can do what they please with marijuana legalization (I for one have seen it work wonders with some of my clients who have chronic pain, PTSD and eating disorders.) BUT, the president needs to be held above reproach and understand that what he said WILL be taken out of context.
Medical uses for the drug are definitely something I agree with. I personally know how well it manages pain, as a teenager it was wonderful for the excruciating monthly female problems I suffered from. However, I have also seen abuses in that category. Getting a card for a spranged finger or toes, mild occasional headaches, are a couple examples. There are many more. My criticism of the Presidents comments do stem from his status. He is the top Executive of the Land in charge of enforcement of our laws. Per the White House website regarding the duties of the Executive Branch…”The President is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress.” That fact seems to get lost in translation by his own actions. I will say that what he said regarding the smoking of marijuana was not taken out of context rather it shed light on how he has viewed the smoking of it. “NOT VERY DIFFERENT FROM CIGARETTES.” From the Article in the New Yorker, he stills munches on Nicotine gum, so ergo, regarding addiction by way of his own comments, wouldn’t pot be no less addictive? By my own admission that comparison may be a stretch, considering I smoke cigarettes as well, but for those who know nothing about pot or cigarettes (IE teenagers who haven’t tried either…YET) it can be construed that neither are a big deal. That is what I worry about. You are correct, The President needs to be held to a different standard. He is our country’s most visible and powerful role model. He needs to act like it.
Second Reponse to Mr. President…Are you Stupid? Or Crazy?
I chuckled with your comment, but I have to reply to it. Though I laughed when I read it, I was reminded of the movie “American President”. There is a conversation that takes place in the movie between President Andrew Shepard (Michael Douglas) and Lewis Rothschild (Michael J. Fox). I bring this up, because it is all about leadership Here is the exchange:
LEWIS: “People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.”
PRESIDENT SHEPARD: “Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.”
Does this sound familiar in today’s political atmosphere? There are many sheep who will listen and not question. This may be a harsh statement to make, but it fits the flippant comments he has made in this particular instance. Stupid? Crazy? Some think so…I will stick with negligent.
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