The “Big” comes with our new Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his fast and early movement in changing the Justice Department. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_PIVOTING_JUSTICE_DEPARTMENT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-03-04-09-13-22
The article points out Sessions self-recusal may clear his path for what he wants to accomplish and the reshaping of a bureaucracy he must do to accomplish those goals. The article talks of Sessions being tougher on violent crime, immigration and drugs. I’m focusing on his marijuana stance in this blog post.
In another article linked below
Sessions is quoted as saying 2/27/2017 -
“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot,” Sessions said to reporters Monday at the Department of Justice. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that.”
That brings me to the “Small” in the title of my blog.
Those almost exact thoughts were expressed at a Michigan Township Association (MTA) meeting I attended Friday night in my Township of Newfield. I had a Republican meeting in Fremont earlier so I was late getting to the MTA meeting. The highlighted topic of the meeting was about the effects of marijuana dispensaries upon townships. Luckily I was not overly late for that.
Guest speakers were Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast and two members of the State Police Drug team. As I walked in Craig Mast took the stage and talked about how opposed he was to marijuana use. While this could have turned into a moral type of thing it didn’t. Craig backed up everything he said with facts. He talked about all the crimes that currently occurs at the places that legally grow marijuana here in Oceana County. Whether it is grown indoors or out. He said if you grow it you will have someone breaking into your house or cutting/digging through/under your fencing to steal it and then the Sheriff will have to send an officer out to write a report on it. He has already had many calls to investigate these crimes.
The thrust of the meeting was informational. It focused on facts relevant to whether Townships would be better off - or not - passing ordinances allowing dispensaries into their areas. Sheriff Mast thought creating dispensaries would only escalate the theft problem into more violent acts.
He and the State Police talked about how younger kids were getting involved and the widespread corruption of the doctors and the over production of the home growers and in general how hard it was to try to police this activity along with all the added expenses.
I have been torn on the marijuana use question for a long time. All I seem to hear is pro-legalization talk from the media and most politicians. Even Jeff Sessions had to walk back some of what he said about being against “medical marijuana”.
To tell the truth it was actually refreshing to hear the facts against its use at this meeting. I got up quick after the talk and shook Craig’s hand and thanked him for saying what he said. I told him it needed to be said. (I didn't vote for him but I will admit he is growing into the job well). Unlike Sheriff Mast I have done more than my share of drugs including marijuana and have seen the effects it has on me and upon my friends especially after prolonged use. After 20 some years of abstinence I occasionally meet friends I had back in the day that are still using and I’m shocked at how “burnt out” they seem. Trying to talk to them about anything current is a struggle. They seem stuck in time.
I’m still on the fence about medical marijuana but am definitely against recreational legalization of it.
So there you have the big and the small of it.
Believe me, I have a lot of libertarian friends and I hear all the time about the arguments for “de-criminalizing” marijuana. How it is an individual choice and doesn’t hurt others, how it would get rid of the overcrowding in our jails and on and on.
It was nice to hear some common sense based on facts for a change refuting those arguments at the MTA meeting. I know most politicians are seeing a “new revenue source” and are in favor of it. Some of them are conservatives and I ask them if you are a conservative why do we need more money for the government?
Come next election I’ll have my say on the “Big” of it.
Regards, Bob Carr
Live Dangerously, Tell the Truth
Bob, Thank you for sharing the comments of Sheriff Mast. I must say that I find his argument quite weak, however. Why do people want to steal marijuana from a legal grower? Because it is still illegal to possess, use, buy or sell for personal usage without a medical note from a doctor and a permit from the State. Why are there not a rash of thefts from tomato gardens? Because they are legal and you can get them relatively inexpensively at any farmer's market. Prohibition automatically creates a lack of supply to meet a demand. This drives the price up, and of course some will resort to theft, instead of paying $250 - $300 an ounce. Why not? Both actions are illegal.
You want to reduce criminal activity around any product or service? Make it legal. I have never heard of Burger King shooting up a McDonald's parking lot in a turf war.
Your insight into the deleterious effects is noteworthy, and should give pause to those who would try it for their first time. However, just because something is bad for you is not a good reason for government intervention and prohibition. Tobacco and even sugar have a much greater effect on public health and the drain our health care system, yet I don't think many Republicans would seek to ban these substances.
True liberty means we allow people to make personal choices and be responsible for the consequences of those choices, even if the consequences are negative.
I would hope that Sheriff Mast have a more open mind when it comes to medical marijuana. It is still illegal for a doctor to "prescribe" marijuana, yet they can prescribe dangerous opioids all day which is a huge drug abuse, addiction and overdose problem. I'm sure Sheriff Mast has seen just as much, if not more instances of criminal activity in relation to opioids as has for marijuana. There are deadly consequences for even innocent misuse of a prescription painkiller. No one in the history of mankind has ever died from a marijuana overdose.
This 40 year experiment with the War on Drugs had been a complete and unmitigated disaster. We have not stopped the supply from coming into our country, people are still dying from abuse of dangerous drugs, and thousands, if not millions have had their lives ruined from government penalties for using a plant.
There must be a better way, and it is high time we as Republicans start rethinking our positions in regard to drugs in general, and marijuana in particular.
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