Marijuana: Decriminalize or Legalize?
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, January 19, 2018 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Have you noticed the relentless manipulation for all of us to accept marijuana as a totally harmless drug? Nevada, Colorado, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington legalized recreational marijuana, making it perfectly legal to grow, buy, sell and consume a schedule I dangerous drug as authorized under local regulations.
In other states, marijuana has been decriminalized. That happened in Georgia in October, when the City of Atlanta eliminated jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Atlanta was not the first, but was the latest to do that. Effective February 26, 2015, Washington, D.C. made it legal for anyone over 21 to have as much as two ounces of marijuana. Pittsburgh and Kansas City have similar laws allowing possession of certain amounts of marijuana before jail time and fines kick in.
Consider these terms: Legalization allows for growing, buying and selling marijuana and its by-products under certain regulations. Decriminalization authorizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana before it’s deemed a criminal offense.
Question: Should marijuana be legalized or decriminalized? If facts were to prevail, the answer would be NO to both possibilities! According to Going to Pot by Bill Bennett, marijuana is now the number one reason kids get medical treatment – more than for alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth, ecstasy, and other drugs combined.Heartland Research Corporation reminds us of marijuana’s dark side. For example: calling it “medical marijuana,” didn’t help the two fourth graders caught selling their grandparents’ marijuana at their elementary school or the five-year-old boy who was hospitalized after eating his mother’s marijuana-laced birthday cake. An 8-year-old boy was hospitalized after eating marijuana-laced cookies he found on the ground. After two sophomore students ate marijuana brownies bought from a classmate, the hospital recorded their heart rates up to 160. They could’ve had a stroke. Edibles such as gummy bears, brownies, and cookies containing such huge amounts of marijuana cause such critical reactions that small children who ingest them often wind up in the hospital.
After experiencing his state’s seven months of less-regulated marijuana use, Tennessee’s governor signed into law a Republican-backed bill to repeal city laws that partially decriminalized marijuana in Nashville and Memphis. Tennessee’s attorney general affirmed the governor’s action by reminding the public that such local ordinances could not be enforced because they conflict with state law. The facts should be enough to stop any effort to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. Ask your legislators to vote NO on legalizing or decriminalizing the use, cultivation, and/or sale of marijuana and products that contain marijuana. For Georgia Insight I Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.