Omar M. Campbell: Pot problem |

Omar M. Campbell: Pot problem

There are lots of names for marijuana: cannabis (from Cannabis sativa, the genus and species of the marijuana plant), pot, maryjane, weed, etc. Its advocates use a lot of euphemisms in their promotions — e.g., dealers are "caregivers," pot is a "medicine" (not a drug), buyers are "patients" who "medicate," dealer locations are "dispensaries," and they are entrepreneurs forming new "industries" that pay sales taxes.

On the latter point — will sales taxes offset the law enforcement and other social negatives? Will "medicated patient" drivers increase DUIDs and auto accidents? "Dispensaries" will be prime targets for addicts to burglarize. It already is happening on the Eastern Slope. Time will tell.

For a couple of excellent articles offering much detail and perspective on "medical" pot, read TIME magazine for Nov. 22, and local Dr. John Sharp's incisive letter to the editor in the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Nov. 14. Local Dr. Dan Smilkstein also wrote a similar letter some time ago. The Pilot & Today recently ran a three-part series on the subject, which appeared to be largely based on interviewing local dealer aspirants. Bravo to the doctors and TIME.

Isn't it curious that three-quarters of "patients" are younger than 40, a period in life when we are the most pain-free? New Jersey has it about right, where only the terminally ill can get a medical marijuana prescription.

Touting medical marijuana is basically an end-run ploy to eventually legitimize and legalize a Schedule 1 gateway drug. We already have a couple of legal drugs — alcohol and tobacco. Why compound these social negatives with yet another?

Omar M. Campbell

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