Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs As noted by Wikipedia, “Reefer Madness” is a “1936 American propaganda exploitation film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana — from a hit-and-run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape and descent into madness.
“Originally financed by a church group under the title ‘Tell Your Children,’ the film was intended to be shown to parents as a morality tale attempting to teach them about the dangers of cannabis use. … The film did not gain an audience until it was rediscovered in the 1970s and gained new life as a piece of unintentional comedy among advocates of cannabis policy reform.”
Why start a column by referencing a 1936 film about marijuana that now is considered ridiculous by rational Americans? Because there are irrational individuals still peddling that 1936-era alarmist tripe about marijuana, including a former White House drug policy adviser who claims Coloradans are too stupid to realize they’ve been tricked into legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.
Dr. Paul Chabot, who served in the presidential administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, including a stint as White House senior adviser for law enforcement, justice and drug control programs, thinks the 1,291,771 Coloradans who voted for Amendment 64 last November were deceived by ads with tricky words.
In an interview with HuffPost Denver last week, Chabot, who lives in California and holds a doctorate in “executive leadership,” pontificated that Colorado — especially kids in Colorado — will be destroyed by marijuana.
“Look, in California we’ve got a medical marijuana train wreck, and we now have over 200 cities that have banned these pot shops,” he told HuffPost Denver. “And I think local governments in Colorado, responsible local governments, are looking at this and saying this is not something we want in our communities. And at the end of the day, we’ve got to repeal these kinds of drug legalization efforts to really save Colorado and their youth.”
But opining on how Colorado will fall into the abyss was not enough. Chabot, who is on record equating marijuana with child pornography, thinks Coloradans are so stupid they were hoodwinked by bamboozling billionaires.
“Look, when the population hears both sides equally they’ll make the right choice. The problem is we’re being out-funded and out-gunned by wealthy billionaires who are buying ad campaigns and using trickery in their words talking about all this nonsense. And look, what we have to come back to is one solid point. What kind of community, what kind of state, what kind of nation do we want to raise our kids in today?”
Chabot — inebriated from delusions of grandeur — sees Colorado as a state inhabited by dunces who spend the day responding to unsolicited emails from Nigerian widows seeking to share their fortune. Of course, the 12-year history of marijuana legalization in Colorado, from medical use to recreational use, proves Chabot’s insulting allegation that Coloradans have succumbed to the “trickery” of “billionaires” is the real sham.
In 2000, Amendment 20 to the Colorado Constitution, legalizing the medical use of marijuana, passed by a margin of 53.8 percent to 46.2 percent. In 2012, Amendment 64, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana by those 21 and older, passed by an even larger margin — 54.8 to 45.2 percent. Significantly, recreational marijuana was favored by a bipartisan majority as the amendment garnered more votes than President Barack Obama.
Most important, if Chabot lived in Colorado, he’d be aware of the extensive media coverage and civic debate concerning the explosion of medical marijuana shops throughout the past several years. There can be no doubt that Coloradans were well-informed and gave serious consideration to the potential impact of legalizing recreational marijuana before passing Amendment 64.
The next time Chabot has the urge to lecture a dupe about marijuana, he should bloviate before a mirror in California. Coloradans can take care of Colorado, and Colorado parents can educate their children about marijuana with honesty instead of hysteria.
To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.