Let’s be honest. This marijuana debate has never really been about providing compassionate treatment for cancer patients. I’ll guess most of the 57,000 or so Oregonians who bothered to secure a medical marijuana permit (and I’d guess that’s a small percentage of people who actually get stoned) just prefer smoking dope to say … a good screwdriver.
“I don’t tell you what to do with your gin and tonic, so back off my weed,” pot proponents will tell you.
That’s why I’m in favor of selling marijuana from the same places they sell cigarettes and alcohol and not at these so-called “clinics” where “patients” are forced to fake a headache just to get a buzz.
“Yeah, doc. I’m here to get a medical marijuana card.”
“Where do you hurt?”
“My eyeballs, mostly. But my leg hurts when I use it to kick my chicken coop door closed.”
“Here you go, but it’s only for an ounce per week. Come back and see me next year.”
I don’t recall the clerk at the liquor store asking me if I had a tumor last Friday when I dropped in to buy something to go with my orange juice. If he had I would have told him to mind his own business and give me my vodka.
You don’t go to a “medical liquor store” to buy tequila, so why should you have to shop at a medical cannabis store to buy a bag of “purple haze” pot that is fully capable of putting you and anyone around you on the floor.
I bring this up with the news that Oregonians who have one of maybe 1,000 medical symptoms can probably obtain a card allowing them to shop for some pot at one of a number of statewide medical marijuana stores.
Under Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 1998, you could grow your own pot, or have someone grow it for you if you had a medical marijuana card. And although it opened the door for pot dispensaries (think adult sex store, without the sex), there was no specific language that allowed them to operate until last week, when the governor signed a bill allowing the Oregon Health Authority the ability to license, inspect and audit medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
We have at least a couple of pot stores in Roseburg and an estimated 200 shops statewide. I couldn’t help notice that one of ours is located on Hooker Road. If you ever lived in Nevada you’d think that was funny.
Oregon has had a long and probably profitable relationship with pot. I would guess it’s the state’s number one cash crop, especially since the spotted owl swooped down on the timber industry and carried it away 20 years or so ago. That was long before some bureaucrats got together, smoked some medical pot and decided to shoot the barred owls that were actually killing the spotted owls and blaming it on loggers.
Marijuana eases pain, but also numbs the brain.
According to the feds — who are not huge fans of medical marijuana — Oregon ranks in the top fifth of all states for marijuana use. They estimated that almost 9 percent of Oregon residents smoke weed, which is roughly one of every 10 drivers you see.
That explains why some drivers don’t move even after the light turns from red to green.
This isn’t daddy’s 1960s’ “rag weed” we’re talking about here. The stuff they are selling at these “clinics” is 10-times more powerful than what Cheech and Chong smoked and look what it did to them. Cloning and other advances in the horticultural world have increased the potency of the THC to levels capable of bringing an elephant to his knees with one “bong.”
Here are some of the brands of marijuana you can buy for a “headache” today:
• AK 47. Think fully automatic weapon stuffed inside a pipe you smoke from.
• Assassin OG. I assume this name implies that one hit might make you look like you’ve been shot between the eyes. I’ll guess you won’t want to operate a chain saw after one or two hits.
• Agent Orange. This is named after the stuff they used to spray in the jungles of Vietnam that pretty much killed everything but the snakes. If it had killed the snakes I would have bought a few gallons.
• Amnesia. I’ll leave this to your imagination, if you still have one in the morning.
• Girl Scout Cookies. There is something fundamentally wrong in our society when we name a pot strain after an All-American youth institution.
• Black Widow. Again, I’m not sure what kind of illness would require you to smoke an ounce of Black Widow, but might it be easier to just have them induce a coma?
What I’m getting at here is that maybe it’s time we quit hiding behind those who really do suffer from life-threatening medical conditions and acknowledge that there are many more Oregonians who just want to smoke some pot. It’s insulting to them, to me and to the legitimate medical community that these people must pretend to have a medical illness in order to buy some marijuana.
America’s War On Drugs has been a complete and utter failure and it’s time to take another approach. The only way to rid our society of the Mexican cartels and others who have been profiting from the illegal drug trade is to make it legal. The last thing Al Capone wanted to see was an end to Prohibition.
Unfortunately, in order to have a war you need an enemy, which is why our federal government is unwilling to end its war on drugs. No matter that it’s yet another war they have no chance of winning.
Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.