By Ken DeLaat
Man, who’d a thunk it, huh?
As one who recalls its boom in popularity during the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s I’m a bit surprised it has taken this long and yet sometimes wondered if we would ever reach this point.
Because here we are folks on the brink of what is a sea change when it comes to pot right? Several local entities are considering having marijuana produced within their boundaries now that the legislature has o.k.’d it
I mean, look, there’s a lot of rhetoric out there and during times like these when it has somehow become high fashion to be so inflexible and cocksure of oneself that dialogue is doomed, few people encountered are neutral about anything.
And the more schismatic the discussion gets the more both sides become blind to any sense of objectivity.
When the ability to even make an attempt to understand those who might disagree becomes marginalized it all gets separated into a ‘them and us’ mentality, an action that has never proved to advance humankind in any manner whatsoever.
But back to grass.
Some are attempting to spin it into no big deal but, truth?
It’s a big deal. I mean a Big Deal.
Not to say it’s a good thing or a bad thing. You know, maybe like nearly everything else we have access to, it’s a little or some or a lot of both? Folks might argue their side…. I mean they will argue their side….and generally it doesn’t take long before the discussion (loosely referenced) segues from vehement to vicious - particularly on social media that bastion of ennui influenced bad behavior.
But truth is, weed has been here a really long time, right? There was a proliferation of its availability after the first law allowing it to be used and grown for medical purposes. As of 2016 there were nearly 1300 card carriers in Newaygo County and almost 250 caretakers (growers). These are the licensed and card possessing folks so one can assume there are many other growers and users not on the official rolls
And from here it doesn’t seem altogether likely the folks are coming in with the kind of investment they’re making to be limited to medical use since the movement to put recreational use on the ballot is rolling full steam ahead for ‘18 or ‘20.
In the meantime folks are chiming in from both sides.. A Merrill Township Community Watch program saw some angry words exchanged, the County Commissioners, though not involved in any decision making capacity on the subject, discussed it when Commissioner Vern Willett made a motion to have the board go on record to oppose it and Mr. Willett also scolded the Newaygo City Council at their meeting after they passed ordinances related to licensing a facility, saying they had betrayed their city. Other townships and cities in the county have weighed in as well with supporters and detractors voicing opinions on allowing these businesses to come in.
We get it, it’s red hot and unlikely to cool down soon.
And the product in question?
Of course it’s not all for medicinal use. One would be naive to think that, but it isn’t just all folks wanting to get buzzed for fun either. There are people who absolutely benefit from its use.
Adding employment to the debate can soften the stance of many. While pot has spent decades reviled in many corners primarily due its illegal status the promise of good paying jobs is often the carrot associated with a controversial issue.
Sometimes those promises made to gain entry are broken. Doesn’t mean it’s true all the time and nevertheless there will be some jobs and perhaps most will pay a living wage.
And again, it is always, always about the money. Especially when someone says it’s not about the money.
And there’s a lot of money behind this.
The tales of Cannabis Apocalypse emanating from sources about states who have legalized it beyond medical use are no more true on a widespread scale than the stories that life in these states has improved to a near Nirvana (Buddhist, not rock band) level. There is no one true defining description that encapsulates the situation. It depends so much on what you bring into it. Your personal perspective based on values, beliefs, experience, etc.
So what will happen here?
Pot is on track to be recreational here in the near future.
It will probably be fairly expensive so other purchasing options will likely still be around
More folks will perhaps try it and some will continue to use it.
Efforts will continue to keep it out of the hands of youth.
And people will continue to argue its merits and deficits.
Just like in the other states that have processed through this.
But once the train has left the station there’s little or no chance of seeing it rolled back.
If you give it some thought, tobacco would never be legal if it was somehow ‘invented’ today. It has few if any benefits, is highly addictive and there is a definite and well defined link between its use and chronic diseases and premature death. It is also known to cause harm to the fetus in pregnant women and creates a public health hazard with second hand smoke.
But it remains legal and allowed to be manufactured in great quantities as well as covertly marketed to youth to ensure new generations of customers.
Well, there’s jobs involved and of course it’s something people still want.
And there is a lot of money behind it.
As for marijuana?
1. Overall it is found in most legitimate research to be less harmful than tobacco and most other drugs including the legal recreational drug alcohol. If there were the number of tragic events associated with marijuana as there are with alcohol even the most ardent adherents of its legalization might pause.
2. It’s promising jobs.
3. It is for certain going to be grown somewhere nearby.
But remember, the decisions being made on this are not about whether it’s right or wrong, good or bad, a wonder drug or a bane on society.
It’s about the money.
Bank on it.
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