Omar M. Campbell: Just say 'no'

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Legalizing marijuana in Colorado will be on the general election ballot Nov. 6. Advocates seem unconcerned or oblivious to the fact that it is illegal under federal law.

Legalizing “medical” marijuana in 2000 was the first step in the advocates’ long-term strategy to eventually make the drug legal. That is where we are now — with some restrictions on age, quantity, etc.

Now that the voters are softened up after a decade-plus of hype and the establishment of “caregivers” and their pot emporiums, advocates feel the time is ripe for an initiative. As I recall, medical marijuana was approved by about 54 percent statewide in 2000 and by a disappointing 65 percent in Routt County. It might be higher this fall because of medical marijuana.

The leading argument for the legalization of pot is that it is no worse than alcohol or tobacco. I am inclined to agree with the former, but not the latter. Use of alcohol and pot cause “highs” and mental and physical impairments. A California study showed that pot users were twice as likely to cause auto accidents as non-users. Tobacco, on the other hand, is bad for physical health but does not cause mental impairment leading to accidents.

DUID enforcement for driving under the influence of pot would be very difficult to prove. The state is working on a complex test for the primary harmful chemical in pot. It appears that there is no easy test for pot as there is for alcohol. Perhaps an officer’s “sniff test” of breath and clothing would do? A sharp lawyer would have a field day with that one.

TV tickers say that the feds are cracking down on the out-of-control pot situation in California. Will Colorado be next?

If you haven’t already made up your mind, think first of our youth, our community, its reputation and DUID increases when doing so.

Omar M. Campbell

Steamboat Springs

Comments

rhys jones 2 years ago

What a crock of BS. NPR recently repeated studies first reported by President Nixon's own commission to study the effects of marijuana -- which released their findings in 1972, recommending complete removal of all criminal penalties for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana -- to be subsequently ignored by Congress -- that's FORTY YEARS AGO -- in which they found that test subjects under the influence of cannabis performed as well as, if not BETTER THAN, the straight control group, as measured on driving simulators -- they has as good or BETTER motor response to stimuli.

The anti-pot movement had best stick with lies and hysteria, because once science gets involved, they go down in flames.

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rhys jones 2 years ago

Sorry, I forgot to include the link to those studies (or reference to them)

http://norml.org/news/2002/03/21/nixon-commission-report-advising-decriminalization-of-marijuana-celebrates-30th-anniversary

That's a 10-year-old article, at which point over 13.2 million Americans had been arrested for pot. How many more in the interim, and how many resources have been wasted in this vain effort?

No criticism of pot has ever withstood critical analysis, no disease can be blamed on it, it has never harmed anybody directly (not counting what stupid things they might do, errors in the survival process, a self-limiting factor) and indeed more beneficial uses are found all the time for the Miracle Weed. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam still swing a lot of weight in Washington, today as when they started the pot hysteria, feeling their livelihoods threatened, or at least bottom line -- strange bedfellows with the AMA, as of late, and the pharmaceutical companies also threatened by this natural alternative. Dollars play a huge role in this conflict, so the BS is fast and furious now.

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kevin fisher 2 years ago

Mr. Campbell, while passionate, once again knows not from whence he speaks. The passage of Amendment 20 was in no way engineered to lay the groundwork for the legalization of recreational cannabis. Just look to the current schism between Alan St. Pierre, NORML's director, and the MMJ community for evidence.

As for the safety of our roads: here is where Mr. Campbell show a very serious deficiency of knowledge. Firstly, to quote the author-

"DUID enforcement for driving under the influence of pot would be very difficult to prove."

This is patently false. Our State's prosecutors enjoy a 90% conviction rate for DUID offenses. Enough said.

Beyond this, however, we can expose those crusaders' against "the Devil weed" true agenda. They simply don't agree with cannabis use and do not believe that we, as citizens, should have the right to choose for ourselves.

Public health and highway safety are but smokescreens. Last year there were about 445,000 deaths in the U.S. attributable to tobacco use. Over the same period, there were approximately 45,000 deaths due to auto accidents. If Mr. Campbell was truly concerned with his fellow-man's well being, this op-ed would have focused upon, instead of glossing-over, the dangers of tobacco use.

I challenge the opponents of cannabis use to be honest with themselves and their countrymen. Just come out and state that you don't like marijuana. It may be because of your faith, your upbringing, or that girl who turned you down because you were a "square." But please, stop this hogwash about public safety and your concern for users' welfare. That dish has been served for too long, and frankly, is starting to stink.

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