By Nancy Thorner & Ed Ingold -
Local authorities in states which recently authorized recreational use of marijuana, including California and Colorado, threaten to defy AG Jeff Sessions’ return to enforcing drug laws on the federal level. Sessions revoked the “Cole” memorandum, issued by Eric Holder, which instructed federal attorneys to ignore violations involving marijuana made legal under these statutes. According to the Obama administrations, anti-marijuana laws unfairly targeted African Americans.
It is telling that California led the charge against smoking tobacco, since it is harmful and shortens the working life of taxpayers (the state loses money it never earned). Now the harmful effects of smoking pot are ignored in the case of marijuana, as well as the resulting intoxication and probable addiction.
Federal warnings about Cigarette and Pot Smoking
Most Americans know that it was in1964 that the Surgeon General Report on Smoking and Health alerted the nation to the health risk of smoking which transformed the issue cigarette smoking from one of individual and consumer choice, to one of epidemiology, public health, and risk for smokers and non-smokers alike. Confirmed by pathologists and laboratory scientists was the statistical relationship of smoking especially to lung cancer. In 1965, Congress required all cigarette packages distributed in the United States to carry a health warning, and since 1970 this warning is made in the name of the Surgeon General. In 1969, cigarette advertising on television and radio was banned, effective September. 1970.
Even though there are medical cannabis laws in 46 states, cannabis is still illegal under federal law. The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811) in 1970. As it is, according to the CSA, Cannabis (marijuana) is treated as a schedule 1 controlled substance, such as cocaine and heroin, for which there is no legal use. Although marijuana smoking is not associated with lung cancer, marijuana use has a wide range of effects, both physical and mental such as breathing problems, increased heart rate which put older people and those with heart problems at a higher risk of heart attacks. When using marijuana begins as a teenager, the drug may impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. This article about the drug facts of marijuana demands to be read.
We heard similar arguments around the start of the 20th century of how a new pain killing drug invented by C. R. Alder Wright in 1874, which did not have the addicting properties of morphine. The new drug was called heroin, much marijuana is now being presented to relieve pain without addiction.
Celebration by Revelers Premature?
The revelers celebrating the new state laws and opposing the DOJ may be premature. The supreme court has long held that federal laws supersede state law where a conflict occurs. The Supremacy Clause is a clause within Article VI of the U.S. Constitution which dictates that federal law is the "supreme law of the land." Somehow Democrats who have decried state supremacy for decades now embrace the new secession from federal authority by claiming since our Constitution doesn't define the use of marijuana, it is up to the states to regulate it, which is set forth in the Tenth Amendment (Amendment X) to the United States Constitution.
There are some unintended consequences:
- Users of illegal drugs (under federal regulations) cannot purchase a firearm
- They cannot be in possession of a firearm or ammunition while in possession or under the influence of illegal drugs
- They cannot work for a defense contractor, federal agency nor pharmaceutical manufacturer, to name a few.
- They cannot join nor remain in the armed forces
- In some states, they cannot qualify for financial aid, including medicaid or unemployment (proposed)
- Nearly 80% of Colorado drivers involved in accidents test positive for marijuana (THC) Only about 13% partake on a regular basis.
We can be fairly sure that the 9th Circuit Court will side with California under the 10th Amendment in their ruling. Since the above list involves interstate commerce, which is safely in the hands of the DOJ and congress, the silver lining may be that the rest of us will be safer on the streets and sleep more soundly if pot-heads can’t be policemen; own or possess firearms; work for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or the defense industry; or join or remain the the armed forces.
Will Illinois Choose Pot Before Jobs?
As Joe Biver wrote in his article for Illinois Family Action on January 8, 2018, Will Illinois Choose Pot Before Jobs?:
In a high tax state that’s bankrupt and losing residents and jobs, one might think that our government officials would have better things to do than legalizing marijuana for recreational use. And one would be wrong. Especially when taxing marijuana is seen as yet another source of revenue for their almost bankrupt tax coffers.
Voters in Cook County, Illinois, however, will get the chance to vote on a non-binding question in the upcoming March primary on whether recreational marijuana should be legalized, when on December 14. 2017, Cook County commissioners voted unanimously to put the advisory referendum on the ballot. Referendum questions are used to gauge support for an issue to help state lawmakers decide whether to pursue the issue with formal legislation in Springfield. It stands to reason that because Cook County has 40% of the state's population, the vote coming from Cook County during a legislative session could influence state lawmakers.
Do Illinois lawmakers really need much influencing? The legalization of recreational marijuana was being addressed even before House Bill 1, known as the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, was signed into law by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on August 01, 2013 with an effective date of January 01, 2014. HB 1 established a patient registry program, to protect the registered qualifying patients and their registered appointed caregivers, from “arrest, prosecution, or denial of any right or privilege”. It also includes provisions for cultivation centers and dispensing organizations
Findings of Democrat Patrick Kennedy Should Be Taken Seriously about What is Happening in Colorado and Oregon
Of importance to Illinoisans is a very revealing article written by Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Massachusetts Democrat U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, that warns those in New Jersey about the dangers inherent in the legalization issue which is currently being debated in New Jersey. Detailed in Kennedy’s opinion piece in the New Jersey Ledger is that serious problems have been experienced by Washington State and Colorado, two states that have legalized recreational marijuana, namely:
"States with legal marijuana are witnessing increased use among youth and doubled rates of fatal driving crashes. These states have also failed to shore up state budget shortfalls with marijuana taxes; continue to see a thriving illegal black market; and are experiencing unabated sales of alcohol, despite campaign promises from advocates stating that marijuana would be a "safer" alternative.”
The Colorado Springs Gazette, because Colorado's problems are so evident after five years, has recognized the legalization as an “embarrassing cautionary tale.”
In Illinois a lagging economy and job creation urgently needs to be addressed, not the legalization of marijuana. Does potential abuse and addiction really rate as high as profiting from addiction?
A Message for Legislators: Did You Know?
Because marijuana dealers can’t use banks, they can’t take checks or credit cards either. That means cash, only cash, and a lot of it, even in small stores. With easy cash comes the likelihood of robbery. Since you can’t have a firearm and possess illegal drugs (under federal law), you have no means by which to defend yourself (hard enough in California anyway). Mexican gangs are chafing at the loss of income, and have already been involved in robbing licensed dealerships in Colorado and Oregon.
Legislators who are calling for recreational use of marijuana in their states disregard the fact that the amount of THC in marijuana has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. For a person who's new to marijuana use, this may mean exposure to higher THC levels with a greater chance of a harmful reaction. Higher THC levels may explain the rise in emergency room visits involving marijuana use.
In the 1920’s, gangland murders filled the newspapers along with sensational photos. “Legal” marijuana may be a saving grace for Illinois and other states to save our failing print media.
So why the rush to “legalize” marijuana? In the words of “Deep Throat” to reporter Bob Woodward, “Follow the money.” There are billions of dollars at stake in profits and more important, as taxes, enough to hold the interest of influential investors and politicians alike.