What Really Happens When You Legalize Marijuana

A few years ago I innocently wrote a post about how it was (in my very humble opinion, cause I am so humble) a really bad idea to smoke marijuana while pregnant.

Well, WOW.  That really ticked people off.  And I have to admit that while I feel I can be objective on many subjects, this one is a tad emotional for me.  Let me tell you why.

I live in the first county in the United States to legalize marijuana.  In fact, the first time I voted ever at the age of 18 I voted to legalize marijuana in this county.  Was I a big fan of smoking marijuana?  No, I wasn't.  In fact because of my religious beliefs I don't even drink coffee or beer.

Still, I had grown up here, many if not most of my friend's parents grew a plant or two for their own personal use and frankly I didn't see the harm in it being legalized for people to use (medically or not) for their own use on a very small scale.  Not only that, it seemed like a waste of taxpayers money to be putting people in jail for growing or smoking a little weed.

So I voted to legalize.  (This was probably 1998.)  And I moved away.

Then, many years later I moved back.

Well, the small town I had grown up in had changed quite a bit and not for the better in that time.  The laws regarding marijuana legalization have been interesting and are frequently in the courts and seem to change often.  I can't say that I keep up on that.  Now however, cultivating marijuana for medicinal use is legal with some parameters. 

In the last few years a few different states have joined up and started passing laws legalizing marijuana in some form or another.  All over the internet I hear people spouting off about how they just know that marijuana legalization is wonderful and will fix society as well as cancer.  Interestingly enough, they almost always live in Ohio or some other place where not only is marijuana still illegal, but you would have one hell of a time growing it even if you wanted to.  Frankly, many of these "pro-legalization" folks don't have any idea what they are talking about.

But I do.  I live here.  Not only is growing and smoking and selling legal (to some degree) where I live, the county I live in (and some of the surrounding counties) are very well suited to growing marijuana and so there are huge crops here.

Let me tell you what REALLY happens to a town when you legalize marijuana.

First, people need to realize that this is an industry and there is a LOT of money involved.  I get the distinct impression from pro-legalization folks that they sincerely believe that marijuana is some kind of magic drug that can do no evil and inspire no evil.  The truth is that ANYTHING that generates this kind of cash will bring some bad people with it.

So in my town, every time we get close to harvest there is an incredible influx of what we call "trimmers".  These are people who come to town to "trim" the crops.  When I was a kid this area was largely agricultural (pears and grapes) and there have always been lots of migrant workers.  I grew up with lots of kids who worked in the summers in the fields with their parents.  Those migrant workers worked their butts off to have a good life for themselves and their children and they were often families.

Trimmers are not often families.  They are usually young, single people (who look suspiciously like they might be middle class hitchhikers going for a cheap version of a European vacation with their brand new REI backpacks) who show up for a few months to trim the crops and get paid in bud.

I am going to go out on a limb here and sound very politically incorrect and just say that a lot of these people are downright scary.  (Not all of them look like middle class kids out for a good time.)  I am sure that living on the street is scary so many (MANY) of these trimmers (who also happen to be homeless) have big scary dogs that go everywhere with them.  They seem to all live in the Walmart or Safeway parking lot passing around a joint or a bottle of whiskey.  (I am not making this up.)

In fact, during certain months this is so scary that I have to stop going for walks with my children.  I have been repeatedly accosted by these people.  I have stopped going to certain grocery stores because there are literally so many people sitting out front asking for change or swearing loudly with their friends and their dogs that I didn't feel safe there any more.

Now maybe you are thinking, "Why don't they just call the police.  That is loitering and it is illegal."  That is a lovely idea.  But this is a small town and our local police force simply cannot handle the sheer overwhelming amount of roving homeless people that are brought here every year for the marijuana season.

I actually once had the opportunity to witness one of these people die.  When coming out of a lovely local bakery with my young children we got to watch it all happen.  The ambulance and the fire department were literally stripping this guy down and zapping his chest while my three year old pelted me with questions about what was going on.  Needless to say, watching somebody die before their eyes wasn't on agenda when we decided to go for a walk in a normally nice part of town. 

So, consequence number one of legalization in my town has been a totally overwhelming amount of vagrants and homeless people and a scarier and less safe town.

Consequence number two of marijuana legalization (in no particular order) is violent crime.

Did I mention that there is a lot of money to be made off of this drug?  There is. Even if you insist that marijuana is an herb, it can still be sold on the street as a drug and people will hurt (and kill) other people for it.

Every year there are numerous instances of violent home invasions or shootings involving marijuana grows.  This is not "safe".  This is not a victimless, loving, wonderful herbal remedy.  Marijuana and the cultivation of it is BIG BUSINESS and people will kill for it.

I have heard stories of families (yes families will grow with children in their homes, I have seen it over and over again) held at gunpoint while their crop is stolen.  I have seen documented cases of people shot and killed in our national forests because they came upon an illegal grow.  (While marijuana cultivation is legal in certain instances it is still totally illegal to grow it secretly in a national forest).  The big growers have big crops and they protect them with guns.  People get killed.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  YEAR.
Here is one.
And another.
And a home invasion.

In my local paper there are frequent invasions and shootings during harvest time.

Those that promote legalization often speak from the comfort and safety of their home in a place where marijuana will never be grown on a large scale.

Let me tell you what happens when you actually live here.  I live in quiet neighborhood close to the center of town.  Despite the fact that I am not very rural (where many of the big grows are) many of my neighbors still grow.  One night while nursing my baby to sleep at midnight I heard footsteps in my backyard just below my bedroom window.  Then I saw a flashlight beam.  Then footsteps again.

I woke my husband and I was freaked out.  I KNEW that somebody was in our backyard wandering around.  He went outside.  We called the police.  The police arrived and found the man wandering down the street a few blocks up.  He couldn't be charged of course.  By then he was just walking.

But the police told us that he was probably looking for hidden marijuana crops in our backyard or shed and they get many calls like this during harvest.  Maybe this is no big deal when you live elsewhere and you want to smoke a joint.  But this is incredibly scary when you have young children and you just want to keep them safe.  Especially when you know that people who are willing to break into a house or shed at night to steal weed might be capable of much more than breaking and entering.

Does just not feeling safe any more count as a valid consequence to this "herbal" legalization?

Another thing that has happened is that our national parks are not only no longer safe, but they are no longer safe from pollution.

It isn't legal for anybody to grow in the national parks, but once we cracked open the door to small scale personal grows for medical use the floodgates opened.  There are HUGE grows in the hills and forests around where I live.  These big and destructive grows seem to have started right around the same time that we legalized marijuana here. 

It is interesting to note that the normally crunchy people who promote marijuana cultivation (and love of the environment) forget about what is happening in our national forests because of this.

Now many people think that the big fix to all this will be (surprise!) full and total legalization.

I respectfully disagree.

We don't KNOW what will happen if this is fully legalized.  But we do know what has happened with legalization on a small scale.  In my town it has yielded more fear, more violent crime, more damage to the environment, and a few people making lots of money off of it.  Frankly, I find it hard to believe that those who grow are really doing this for the good of mankind.  They are doing it for money.

I pay bills too.  I understand the need to feed a family.  I know many people who smoke or grow marijuana.  I don't actually (surprise again!) care about that or have a problem with it.  Everybody gets the right to live their life and their beliefs how they see fit.

But we need to be honest about this.  We don't know what will happen if we further legalize marijuana.  NOBODY could have predicted what has already happened here in Mendocino and the surrounding counties.  Nobody predicted this.  I voted to legalize and I had no idea this would happen.  When we discuss this on a national level we should at least listen to and acknowledge what is really happening to real people who live where marijuana is grown.  Please don't dismiss me.  Please don't dismiss these real problems. 

This is scary and it isn't OK. But the truth is, no matter what happens it won't impact most Americans.  In fact, the biggest impact it will ever have is right here where I live because this is where it is and has always been grown.

Personally, I wish it was illegal again.  Of course people would still do it, fine, whatever.  But there wouldn't be such huge grows.  Local law enforcement literally does not have the resources to shut down all these ILLEGAL grows.  Once a year the feds come in and bust people growing on in the national parks, but they always come back (with their guns).

The sad truth is that when we legalized marijuana in my home town we opened the floodgates to more crime, more death, more people coming here who overload public resources and have no investment in this economy.  We invited more fear into our lives.  It is one of the saddest things I have ever seen.

I wish we hadn't done it.


Kaity said…
Although, I have smoked in the past and many of my friends and family members engage in the activity, I hold a very similar opinion and am glad you had the courage to speak out about it. I honestly don't have much respect for anyone that needs a substance to live a normal life- whether it be marijuana, alcohol, even caffeine. It just seems...weak to me. Then again, I lived with an abusive alcoholic during my adolescence so my views are a little bit tainted. Despite all of this, I haven't made up my mind on the legalization debate, because I think it would look a lot different if EVERY county in the U.S. legalized rather than just one county like yours. If only a few are legalized, of course those areas are going to attract the seedier folks. But if it was widespread, maybe it wouldn't cause as much of a ruckus? I'm just playing devil's advocate here, because like I said, I believe in everything in moderation, but if you're reliant on a mind-altering substance to live your normal life- there's a problem there.

Thanks again for writing- this was such a thought-provoking topic.
Mama Birth said…
Now it is legalized in the entire state of California and it hasn't improved at all. It just seems to overwhelm the local and national law enforcement even more.
I don't think the same problem will happen everywhere, it is bad here because the industry is head-quartered here. So honestly, I don't really expect other people to care because it will never bother them like it will and does bother people here.
Laura said…
I enjoyed reading your post and learning about your perspective on the results of marijuana cultivation in your community. Thank you for taking the time to share your very real experience and concerns.

That being said, marijuana has not been legalized in the entire state of California; it has been legalized for medicinal use on a limited basis. Penalties for small amounts have been reduced, but it is still illegal for non-medicinal use.

The biggest part of the problem is that the majority of the rest of the country has not legalized marijuana for any use at all. The demand continues for what many see as a life-saving and helpful plant, thus the focus is going to be on areas where it can be grown legally and easily, thus in greater quantities and at an extremely huge profit margin, continuing to attract the criminal element.

I truly believe that if the United States as a whole quit making a plant illegal, the negative aspects of your experience might change. The cat is halfway out of the bag, and we cannot put it back in. If we go back to the way things were, when marijuana was 100% illegal for any purpose, the thing will go underground again and the criminal elements will be in total control. By declaring it legal, it will be easier for "normal" people to participate in the cultivation and harvest, and the value will come down. I don't see people raiding my garden for tomatoes or chamomile; I see it being more normalized in that fashion.

To be sure, there are a LOT of kinks to be worked out of this whole situation. As a country, we have been dealing with this piecemeal, and in many instances the authors of legislation have not thought the whole thing through very carefully. That lack of forethought and the creation of "oases" of pot cultivation makes life very difficult for people like yourself and your community.

I don't partake and haven't since light experimentation in high school (hated it - made me fall asleep!), but do want it available to me should I need it for medicinal purposes. I don't believe in legislating a plant.

Whatever direction this goes, I do hope that the issues in your community and others in Mendocino County will be eased. It is definitely not a good situation as it stands.

Thank you again for shedding light on the very real problems this is causing now, so that people can begin to look at solutions. Stay safe!!
Living Lavallee said…
Wow - this is tragic and certainly an "unintended consequence". Our state legalized marijuana use (Washington) in the last election, unfortunately. I hope we don't meet your same fate.
Mama Birth said…
The thing about what you say Laura is that I lived here when it was illegal and legalizing it has made it a thousand times worse. Would you really say that legalization of alcohol has made alcoholism disappear? That argument simply doesn't work in that or this instance. MAYBE we wouldn't see the gangs and the drug lords here if we had this controlled and regulated by the federal government. But that is a BIG maybe. It is a gamble that people who don't live here are willing to take, but not one that I am.
The truth is that when it was illegal people still grew- but on a smaller and personal use scale. There is SHAME attached to something when it is illegal. I can tell you that the shame is gone and the absence of that powerful social tool is devastating. It is wonderful that so many are willing to gamble on my home-town so that they can get their dope, but it doesn't work out that well for people that live here. The criminal element has exploded SINCE and BECAUSE of legalization. Literally big growers from other countries have moved in with their guns and their fences and their armed guards. It is scary.
I also failed to mention the impact on the economy. The people working this way have no reportable income. They are able to take advantage of all kinds of social services from discounted classes for their kids to free health care despite the fact that they have more money than anybody. It also drives up housing prices and rent prices to levels that are not attainable by normal people. I have seen people pay CASH for homes that cost well over 1/2 million dollars.
Lucky for everybody else this won't happen anywhere else because dope simply doesn't grow as well everywhere as it does here.
If people need it for medical use- FINE- let the big pharm companies grow and distribute it. Let it be controlled, let them hire workers who aren't criminals and whom they have to pay and give health benefits.
And frankly- I have a very difficult time believing that this is that beneficial medically. If it was, why hasn't big pharm jumped all over this drug and used it in any way possible? They could stand to make some serious money and they have the ability and the resources already in place to use many other drugs and their derivatives, even those that were once only street drugs.
Amanda J. said…
I hope that big pharm companies NEVER get their hands on marijuana. that would be a nightmare. i don't trust them. to them it is also just about the money. come on! i think the reason that things get so out of hand when it stops being illegal is due to the fact that the government has so much control over everything. so when some of that control gets let go people go crazy! like wild animals that have been stuck in cages. regardless of it being legal or not legal there will always be shady people doing shady things. im sorry that it has been brought to where you live but i grew up in Los Angeles. I see shady things being done everyday that are ILLEGAL. and no one cares or does anything about it. police men are corrupt and involved in drugs. way bigger stuff than marijuana. i don't blame anyone but the people who are doing the killing or what not. it is their choice to harm others and no one can CONTROL that. no one. illegal or not. crime is so high in so many parts of the world and no one cares. telling me about some crime going up in your home town due to some marijuana growing seems like such small fry stuff to me. if you could only see what ive seen or know what i know. this government does not care about us. they only care about money too. im sorry but who ever still believes that this country is safe within it's laws or religion or whatever has a big surprise coming to them real soon. you should come and spend some time in LA and see how your perspective might change. i would suggest you move if you don't like it there anymore.
Mama Birth said…
Sorry Amanda. I don't think evil and bad being done in some places makes it acceptable anywhere else. It is wrong no matter where it happens and I personally wouldn't wish it on ANYBODY and I don't understand why you do. I don't really understand your comment. People do bad things.....? Yep. I noticed. I should move? OK....
Can't say I am a big fan of big Pharm either, but at least they have to pay taxes on their ill gotten gains and they have to pay their employees and give them basic health care, which is a lot more than you can say for the foreign drug lords who control he economy where I live.
I guess I don't understand what you are even saying. People are evil so that makes this all OK? Things are bad in LA so I should get over them being bad where I live too?
Not following you honey.
Amanda J. said…
I did not intend for my comment to come off as uncaring or mean. if you saw it that way i am sorry. but i also don't see where you got the impression that i think it's okay for bad stuff to happen. let me try and see if i can make my point more clearly.

okay. i think that the title of this post should be what happens when you legalize marijuana in my home town. because what has happened where you live does not happen everywhere. take amsterdam for instance. prostitution and marijuana are legal and it doesn't look like what you are describing in your home town.

i guess what angered me is that you are taking a small scale situation and saying that this is what would happen everywhere. you can't make that assumption. you can't even make the assumption that who ever was walking around your lawn was looking for dope. you really don't know what they were doing.

my point was that i don't think that asking for government control is the way to go. the government is corrupt itself. the big pharm companies are corrupt too. just because someone is paying their taxes and paying their employees doesn't make it any better. what they do.

i am saying that people are the ones to blame. people are the ones who chose to do bad whether or not something is legal or illegal. i meant that where i grew up i saw it all the time. cops looking the other way. not caring. being involved in the crime.

when i said move i meant that if that's going on where you live it's most likely only going to get worse. not better. because some people really just don't care. there is so much going on right now it's like where do you begin? so much bad stuff and no one cares. no one has really realized yet that we all belong to each other. and when one hurts we all do. that's the real big picture. if the govt. cared they wouldn't be feeding us GMO crops or selling vaccinations. they wouldn't allow so much of what is in their control. but they do it anyway. not that i don't care. oh if you only knew how much i care.

but i just felt like your post was naive. i don't get how people can still trust in this country. you are asking for more government control and i am asking for less. i don't even believe in forced taxation. i think people should have true free will. i strongly believe that are freedom and security in this country is an illusion. there is a reason why marijuana isn't fully legal yet, and that has nothing to do with our safety. the minute the government figures out how they can make money off of it you bet your bottom it will be fully legal. they just haven't figured it out.

i hope that makes more sense. i am really not the greatest at expressing myself through writing when it comes to discussion or debate. i do better one on one with a live person. not a computer screen.

either way it is your opinion and you are allowed to have it. and i have always enjoyed your blog posts. this is the first one i have ever disagreed with. best of luck with your situation :)
Laura said…
I understand how the impact of piecemeal legalization has caused a big problem in your community and elsewhere in California. The fact that it has become legal in some places but not in others drives the activity there. Because it is still illegal in most of the country, the criminal element is going to be even more protective of their cash cow and will take advantage of a situation in which it appears easier for them to get away with their illegal activity.

It is an intolerable situation.

And it is an intolerable situation in much the way prohibition created a horrible criminal environment. Neither of us lived through those years, but my grandparents did, and I've learned from history. Alcohol causes tremendous damage, moreso than marijuana unfortunately, and yet it is legal. In part it is legal because it is easily made; in part because making it illegitimate made it more attractive and created bigger problems.

Big Pharma will not play a part in medical marijuana because they cannot patent the plants, and they cannot profit from it. This is why they haven't been all over it, although they are now working on faux marijuana capsules to try to capture part of that market. We know, however, what happens when Pharma gets their hands on good medicine - it doesn't work, or doesn't work well, or creates dependency, or kills people, or causes side effects that require other medicines. Pharma is one of the reasons that people are turning more and more toward herbal remedies, including marijuana. Those old timey remedies work better, much as home birth often works better. :-)

The plant is here to stay. The problem we have now is that there are pockets of legality in the states. Until this is equally enforced, regulated, and yes, taxed, across the country, there will be problems like this.

Many years ago, I spoke with a friend about a dilemma in my life that I was facing. He pulled a dime out of his pocket and asked me if he could hold it up to my eye. He did, and then he asked me what I saw. I told him a blob of silver. He asked if I could tell by looking at it what it was. I said no. Then he pulled it away from my eye. He asked what I saw. Confused, I said it was a dime. He said, "With a wider perspective, you can see what you are dealing with. You can see that it's a dime, and you know what to do with it." He flipped it into the air, caught it, and put it into his pocket. That lesson on perspective has stayed with me.

I sincerely hope this is growing pains and that you will not have to suffer much longer in your home town with this situation. I understand your dilemma and point of view, but believe that because you are living in the epicenter of the problem you may not have the wider perspective needed to see the solution. You want to stop the criminality and the problems NOW - and I would, too, if I were in your situation. I sincerely hope for rapid reprieve for you and your family in a healthy and peaceful manner.
My13LuckyDays said…
"I honestly don't have much respect for anyone that needs a substance to live a normal life- whether it be marijuana, alcohol, even caffeine. It just seems...weak to me." You have no idea how my heart dropped when I read this. I felt like I got kicked in the stomach. Wow. First of all, I live with a few different crippling diseases. One mental and one physical. My mental illness requires that I actively stay on my meds, aka "substances", in order to function in a normal manner and care for my kids, and, a few times, basically not kill myself. My physical disease causes debilitating pain, muscle weakness and sometimes atrophy, joint degeneration, sometimes organ failure, etc, etc. It is incredibly painful. Sometimes I NEED painkillers to walk, let alone live a "normal" life. So tell me how someone who "needs" substances to live is "weak" again? I'm the furthest thing from weak you'll ever meet. Watch how you say things because words can wound. Someone might think I "choose" to take drugs because, yeah, maybe I wouldn't fall over dead without them but CHOOSING to take mental health drugs has been one of the STRONGEST things I've ever done. I saved my own life. And choosing to take painkillers was a hard as hell choice but one that has meant I can be a mom to my 5 kids, and not give up on them when they need me so badly. Talk about weak of me, huh? Also, a 3rd thing I just realized. I'm a type 1 diabetic and require artificial sources of insulin to survive. So, there's another substance I'm taking that quite literally I HAVE to have in order to live. My point is, maybe you need to grow up a bit, maybe you need to broaden your horizons, maybe it's something else, I don't know. But hopefully one day you'll realize not everything is black or white, wrong or right. Maybe then you'll realize that having that attitude can hurt a lot of people around you, yourself included.
Mama Birth said…
I really don't see how the argument that "this doesn't work on a small scale,so we must do it on a larger scale" holds any water. It is always the argument that people have and it falls absolutely flat. It isn't a valid argument at all. It is a HOPE and something we can't prove. And seriously- Amsterdam? Is a fun place to visit in college really the answer to everything? I don't get that...

As far as me having perspective...I don't know if it is fair to say that I don't "get it" because I am in the middle of it. I am not trying to have perspective, I am just trying to speak a truth that NOBODY wants to hear.

Nobody wants to admit that if they smoke this stuff they are part of the problem. That they are paying these people who are actually killing people to protect their drugs.

This isn't about perspective- I understand perfectly that this isn't and will NEVER be a problem for other people. (For example, say Colorado legalizes, they won't have this problem there simply because of the climate and its inability to grow crop like this.)

I wrote this so that people KNEW what this "medical herb" does to real people. Nobody wants to think about it. Nobody wants to know about the deaths and the crime and the toxins and the destruction of the environment and the drain on social systems and the danger to regular citizen and the inability that people have even buy an affordable house because of what marijuana has done to this county.

You want to smoke it- fine. You want to buy it- fine. I sincerely don't care. But don't lie to yourself. Don’t pretend this is a healing herb and there is nothing wrong with it. This drug and the cultivation of it is killing people. Go ahead and smoke it- but do it knowing that. Be honest.

This isn't an easy thing for me to say. I will lose readers. I will make people mad. But it needs to be said. Because as people vote on this, they need to know the truth, not a bunch of fuzzy lies told to them by somebody who hasn't even experienced it. I have. People deserve to know and nobody is talking about it.

Frankly, I don't think people want to know about it because they want to feel guiltless in what they are doing.

And no- I don't think this will change- there is too much money involved. But for those who think that the US government or big pharm are the only people who abuse power or are driven by money, you are the one who is naive- not me. Legalization is ALL about money. MONEY MONEY MONEY- It has nothing to do with health. That is a marketing tactic to sell this to the kind hearted public and it is working very well.

And 13- I didn't say that. I don't know what youa re talking about.
MelissaH said…
I think that looking at smaller communities where this is legal is the perfect way to predict how it will effect the country as a whole. What evidence is there that would prove other wise? In fact logic would lead me to believe that lager scale would equal larger problems.

And another thought, what of the health of the person who has to deal with the second hand smoke of marijuana?
Amanda J. said…
Laura thank you so so so much for being able to say everything that I wanted to say but in a better way and with a better flow and with better vocabulary. I agree with so much of what you had to say. I too kept going back to her little box saying she welcomes comments and even those she disagrees with. but it really didn't seem like in this case she wanted that. i really did hear her out and think in my head if i saw any truth in what she said. and yes there were some truths there but i just didn't fully agree and felt compelled to share my perspective. but in her last comment she seems so defensive and mean and sarcastic. i feel like we both made some valid points and she completely shot them down. it saddens me as well.

Mama Birth I don't smoke pot. I am not trying to pretend like I am guiltless. I am well aware of what is going on. And yes I think Amsterdam is a good example. it's not just a party zone. real people with real lives live there. have you ever researched amsterdam or watched documentaries on it? because i have. it has always been really interesting to me when other parts of the world seem to be happier and function at a higher quality of life than here in the united states and i want to know how they do it. so i look into it.

time and time again from what i have seen. when people have more free will. things tend to go smoother. someone else commented that a small scale example is a good example of what would happen at a larger scale. though i don't agree, in that sense wouldn't that make amsterdam a good example? it's the complete opposite of what you are dealing with but it's on a small scale too, so i see it as a valid example of what else happens.

im sorry you felt like you had to make yourself feel better by telling me i am the naive one. i don't know you. i can't fully tell you that you are a naive person. but in this post you came off that way to me. im sorry you felt the need to get defensive.

in my first comment i wrote when you wrote back you were condescending and sarcastic and called me honey in a mocking way. and though it hurt my feelings and made me feel a bit stupid i tried to push past that and try again to get my point across in a better way. and yet you still hit back in a very defensive manner. hopefully weeks from now you may be able to look back and maybe see our points with an open mind and see that you make some valid points and so do we. i will no longer be coming back to this thread and will just walk away knowing that it's okay that we view it differently and that hopefully we all learned something from this.
Thank you for sharing, and I agree with you!
Melissa said…
Medical Marijuana has been legal in Washington State since 1998. It has been legal for recreational use for anyone for the last 7 1/2 months. I have not seen anything that you are describing here.

I am sorry this is happening in your town. It must be scary to not feel safe where you live. However, this sounds like a problem with the area you live in and the people who live there, not the decriminalization of marijuana. I do not smoke anything but I know many people who do. Not one of them is scary, violent, or threatening. I do, however, know many people who are addicted to prescription pain killers who are.

You said, "I really don't see how the argument that "this doesn't work on a small scale,so we must do it on a larger scale" holds any water. It is always the argument that people have and it falls absolutely flat." Here it seems to be working on a small scale. Does that hold water?

Anonymous said…
What is with the disparaging comments regarding Ohio? Kind of region-centric snobbery, methinks.

FYI marijuana grows in Ohio exceptionally well. Some Ohio counties have some of the highest rated grades in the US, second only to a specific region in California.

I don't smoke or profit from marijuana, I just don't like it personally, so I am not here to preach as a proponent.
Nor am I against it, either. I actually do however, oppose drug laws in a serious way for so many reasons, although I don't live in an area where it is decriminalized as you do. Unfortunately, having few places where it is decriminalized will of course bring in lots of bad elements to these few select places like where you live. Money has a way of corrupting anything.

I can sympathize and co-miserate with you that you are irritated over a big money maker bringing in a bunch of shady elements that make you feel unsafe, moreso as a parent. I live in a slew of very bad neighborhoods, trying to raise my children in a sensible, sustainable, compassionate, vegetarian, non-destructive way with a million bad things all around them. It isn't easy, especially having *no* economic means to better shield them. I would also be a bit peeved at an industry bringing in more rough characters (though in my area these elements are pretty well saturated and are the norm -- not to be too jaded, but... it can't get much worse if you live in areas like I do; I don't have any time of year I feel safe walking with my kids, and there is nowhere to walk to, unless you like highways and corner markets selling alcohol, cigarettes, and garbage as food and beverages).

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Letty Weaver said…
Hey, I just want to say that The Netherlands or Holland where Amsterdam resides is my home. Weed being legal is absolutely no problem here, you go to a coffee shop have a bit of a smoke with your friends etc. It is wonderful over here, never have I met such friendly harmless people. I have never heard of any problems with people killing each other over it, you just buy it over the counter and everything is fine and dandy.

When I lived in England one of my friends was a dealer, they grew and sold it. They never killed any one or beat them up, there was no need, because people bought it and left. No one tried to steal it or break in.

I agree that the situation in your home town is quite dire however I do not appreciate you waving off people's completely legitimate arguments. You disgust me further by insulting my home. I do hope my anger comes through in this comment, in case it does not I am clarifying here that I am utterly furious. Then again you are just another person I have the pleasure of not meeting. Don't get too upset about this comment as it will with some or most people, I am sharing my feelings so you can better yourself and not depress to many people into making them want to kill themselves at the loss of hope in humanity.
Letty Weaver said…
P.s. I do agree that smoking weed tobacco or anything while pregnant is bad.
Madison Oleson said…
I want to start of by saying I really appreciated this article. I shared it with my husband and we found it a refreshing take on the legalization of marijuana. We too come from a Northern California town where the medical marijuana industry is growing.
That said, I wanted to make what I think is a very important point to consider, in response to your comment to Laura. You suggest that marijuana has no medicinal benefits otherwise big pharma would have already exploited it. It is important to realize that a plant can not be patented. Because of this, a plant can never be profitable, for which reason, big pharma will never waste their time with it. Take for example, Valerian. A potent plant that has been used as a sedative for thousands of years. Rather than jumping on this plant to exploit its benefits, big pharma created a synthetic version that COULD be patented. Also known as Valium. They have done the same thing with marijuana, and have a synthetic version known as Marinol. However, Marinol comes with many side effects that marijuana doesn't, including the risk of overdose. Same thing with Valium.
Additionally, there has been A LOT of research lately regarding the potential anti-cancer capabilities of cannibidiols and THC, two components of marijuana. Studies from Sweden and Denmark have shown that these substances actually target and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. This would be considered a huge find, but unfortunately, due to marijuana's reputation as a recreational drug, researchers are hesitant to do work that might associate them with it. Such a shame.
My point is, don't rely to heavily on big pharma to do what is right. They aren't concerned with our health, they're just after the dollars.
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