Leslie Faulkner: Sham-ed if you do
April 18, 2010
Thank you, Mr. Short, for a well-written letter to the editor ("Business a sham," April 11 Steamboat Pilot & Today) finally verbalizing what we have all been concerned about for years: First, a medical marijuana dispensary, next, an abortion clinic. And what's next? A "topless dancing program"? A "pornographic store"?
Before we all know it, the fair town of Oak Creek will be inundated with knife-wielding abortion butchers, pot dens and strippers.
Pardon the sarcasm, but to take the space-age leap from medical marijuana to abortions is, well, how can I say this in a polite and politically correct way? I consider your letter to the editor to be a fictional, backwards assumption with just a sprinkling of medical marijuana fact.
Let's for a minute, take this Great Recession, mix in elevating unemployment, a freeze on building, a real estate bust, the high cost of living in Routt County and low wages, consumer nonconfidence, and what do you get when you finally see a little light at the end of it? Industry. Small-business startups. A spike in entrepreneurship always follows post-recessionary periods.
I think the Town Board of Oak Creek acted with a sincere, open mind in the best interest of the entire community, not in the "specious" way you described. Specious also is known as "seeming to be genuine but not really so." I had to look that one up.
Whether it's apples or alcohol, many great businesses still alive and kicking today started and prospered after the Great Depression.
Speaking of alcohol, its abuse can cause damage to nearly every organ and system in the body. Alcoholics likely will (not just potentially) come down with everything from cancer to central nervous system diseases. Or, drunk and insane, they will cause fatal car accidents, kill themselves or engage in cold-blooded murder. Eighty-five percent of incarcerated persons in America have substance and alcohol issues. My educated guess is that pot smokers were not counted in these statistics.
You implied that medical marijuana dispensaries would have some sort of negative influence on "teens and pre-teens." I take this to mean you consider marijuana a gateway drug. Having the mind-set that marijuana leads to something worse is like thinking a triple Starbucks espresso is a gateway to cocaine snorting. Actually, alcohol has been proven the gateway drug to pot smoking. Go figure.
The bottom line is that a medical marijuana dispensary is not going to suddenly cause 12-year-olds to abruptly start toting bongs around in their backpacks anymore than legalizing alcohol after prohibition made more people alcoholics.
If you are 21, you can legally drink yourself to death if you want to. As far as I know, there are hundreds of physical, medical and mental benefits to smoking pot and not one person has ever died of a pot overdose. All the while, the legal drug (alcohol) kills people right and left. Accept the facts, Mr. Short: Marijuana will soon be completely legal in the state of Colorado, including Steamboat, Craig and even Oak Creek — because baby steps were taken by the medical marijuana dispensaries. The medical marijuana dispensaries are the necessary gateway to arriving at the final destination: the complete legalization of marijuana.
The decision by the Town of Oak Creek is not a "sham," Mr. Short. They deserve huge props for standing up, speaking out and acting for the good of all. Now at least some folks can start putting food on the table and gas in the car again. Oh, and a handful of senior citizens may just have an appetite for the first time in years, and that's a wonderful thing.