Pot – or not?

It’s true Illinois needs long-term influxes of cash. Representative Kelly Cassidy and State Senator Heather Steans probably think they’re doing good in advocating for legalized marijuana in Illinois, but their call to legalize it is barking up the wrong tree.
As a veteran law enforcement officer, I have on many occasions locked up people in possession of even small amounts of marijuana. I no longer do so, as my current assignment precludes that kind of contact with the public, but I am more against it than ever.
When assets are seized from dealers or those in possession, troopers and police share the proceeds from items sold with the states attorneys. It may not be much, or steady money, but it does help ease the burden on taxpayers for our crimefighting efforts.
Pot use tends to stall on a different plane. Several guys I knew who used it frequently, from high school onward, never seemed to progress emotionally into adulthood. We have enough individuals in a state of arrested development right now – our legislatures should not be getting involved to facilitate any of it! 
Steans and Cassidy think legalizing pot could result in a reduction in opioid overdoses. Where’s their research? Who are their sources? Steans’s webpage hasn’t any, though it proclaims the idea that “Legalizing recreational marijuana has swept the nation.” Why does she feel she must cheerlead it here? Colorado is still investigating whether legalizing it, as they did several years ago, has increased crime. But they have seen an increase in traffic crash fatalities, which Illinois definitely does not need. 
Locking someone up for suspected drug use while driving makes for a long stretch of officers not on aggressive and preventive patrol, since the LEOs must remain at the hospital to guard the driver until the nurses and doctors can take his blood and otherwise tend to him, until he’s sufficiently patched up for us to take him to jail. Many in Colorado believe an increase in face-to-face pot deals gone bad has caused an uptick in crime; it certainly can’t have helped. 
As reported by Mother Jones, illegal marijuana operations in California’s Emerald Triangle have decimated the native creatures, and endangered and needlessly hamstrung researchers trying to gather information on what belongs there. The researchers used to manage solo, but now must arm themselves and travel in pairs to watch over each other, against those who feel they have a right to grow pot on the taxpayers’ land. The cretins who stake their claims out in our National Forests put down poison which has resulted in one of the top predator’s population plummeting – fishers might already be totally gone were it not for the scientists removing rodenticide and trash, and which the two-leggeds must now spend almost all their time doing rather than seeing to their wildlife studies. Even if dope is legalized, who will keep this eco-catastrophe from insidiously making its way into “legal-sales” shops here?
An additional troubling finding is that as pot gets legalized, Colorado children are being poisoned by its accidental ingestion, a 150% increase since 2014. Will there be a Illinois fund from the sale of marijuana, dedicated to caretaking the inevitable similar small victims, and would it ever be enough — or will that fall instead into the laps of the taxpayers Steans purports to help?
Because grass could be legally sold in Illinois does not mean it will be responsibly grown here or elsewhere. No fertile farmland should be taken out of production, no greenhouses erected in order for some to have their playtime smokes and addictions seen to.
Grown by George Washington, hemp is the not-so-poor cousin to pot, criminalized as part of the 1930’s “reefer madness” despite its place as a prominent industrial fiber, used to make canvas and clothing. The US hemp industry, once robust, if re-established, could renew old tried-and-true industries like rope-making.
Sometimes marijuana alleviates seizures, or pain, or nausea attendant with cancer treatments. Legitimate medical uses of cannabis sativa must be rigorously regulated, and its growth and use not allowed to bleed over into casual smokes.

About majaramirez

former assistant instructor in tai chi chu'an; current TreeKeeper (#467); former Master Gardener; member of American Bird Conservancy, Audubon, Fraternal Order of Police, and Mensa; recently retired career cop; wife and mom.
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