I am puzzled; I just don’t get it. In July 1st Virginia will become one of the states were recreational marijuana is allowed. Our democratic governor happily signed, and legislation passed by 48-43 vote, I think, if I did not misread. In his words, “We are giving Virginians what they want.” I personally doubt that. Our governor is a physician, a pediatrician. I know that should not influence anything he signs, but why rush this legalization? Don’t these things take some preparation and training (law enforcement training for example)? Virginia will join 12 states (11 plus Washington DC, and we are a Commonwealth by definition, not a state, but that is another ???) these being Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey (joined in February 2021),Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C. . There might be more I missed. All except Alaska, are democratic states. Virginians will be able to enjoy the pot, and grow up to four plants per household, prohibited from selling it, but you can offer it as a gift to someone (yup, I will gift you this lovely plant, but can you lend me some $$$?), must label their plants (really?), keep them out of public view (why, isn’t it legal now, and aren’t the plants labeled?), and keep them away from anyone under 21 years old (we know how that will work out). Virginians cannot smoke it in public, or in a vehicle (Ha!), and penalties will remain the same for minors, possession and use in schools (at least some sense). All this in the name of “social equity” because I guess minorities are criminalized more for possession (not my words). There’s another layer to this in relation with business licensing, and preference to minorities for grant licensing (???).
Ok so now that we have cover the basics here, this is what puzzles me. When I was a kid, it was hammered over and over in Health studies that marijuana was a very very very bad drug, and we had to memorize the horrible effects, physical, social, etc. and then pour the precious knowledge out into a test. So was I brainwashed as a kid? Well, I am not so sure. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (Advancing Addiction Science, yes Science) seems to have its pretty “old fashioned” view on this topic. You can read all about the dangerous side effects and implications here Marijuana DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
If this government agency still thinks this way, then WHY, WHY, WHY? Pollyanna asks. Seriously, take a quick look at all the effects, impairment and other stuff, in case you forgot Health studies. I am sure we all know someone who had smoke it, or still does, but honestly, the people who I have seen smoking it acted like clowns, impaired nimrods … Maybe I never saw a pot-smoking human who acts normal or posed? So why am I so concerned? Simply, I can see the effects on the street (now that it is legalized and easier to access here), people driving erratically after smoking while texting going to work, and messing up their work, which might require a high level of concentration and skill. Don’t want someone forgetting to tighten those brakes, or putting sugar in your cappuccino, or forgetting that bistoury inside you (after all, One of many physicians agrees). But most of all, I think of how soon my car insurance will go up again, and I say again, because it went up by an additional $500 a year during Covid season, yes and we were not driving much, and so the rest of the world, so I can’t wait to see how much our 20 year old cars will cost to drive next year, and by the way, driven by two old farts who have been accident free for decades, but are getting older now. When I moved from Jersey (city) to Virginia (rural VA) my insurance went up. When I asked why, I was told that more accidents happen here. I guess those long lone country roads are quite dangerous here.
Now that I aired my selfish motives, if you read the link, you will understand the rest, and I don’t have to mention it on this post. I am sure that most people who smoke it will be good responsible citizens who mean no harm and got it together, so maybe I am exaggerating here, and all is well. It is not my intention to judge people either; it is not my place. I will have to educate myself on the effects on those states, after legalization took place, and if there were any significant changes. Despite the risks of using this drug (labeled as such by the NIDA) the image being sold is one of minorities being treated fairly for smoking pot, not jailed, and that jailed people (for small possession) will be set free and gallop into the sunshine. And we will live happily ever after.
*Disclaimer – This post has been written by an American woman of Hispanic (Puerto Rican)/Spaniard/Basque/Canarian … and a whole much more descent. Any views presented here are hers only, and are not part of this network or its affiliates. (Could not help myself).