I wasn’t going to write a column about marijuana, not this week. I was going to write about something else, some other target around these parts at which to direct my abundant bile — Lenny Curry dodging questions about the human rights ordinance and the city’s budget while criticizing Alvin Brown’s leadership, perhaps, or maybe those jagoffs who were white-facing congressional candidate Glo Smith’s signs. Besides, what else is there to say? It’s obvious that the bill Gov. Scott signed last month to legalize a low-THC strain of pot called Charlotte’s Web was less about compassion than trying to deny the pro-Amendment 2 folks a winning argument in November. Why beat a dead horse?
And then I saw the Times-Union’s Sunday edition, specifically the editorial in the section they (ironically, I presume) call Reason, and I couldn’t help myself. As if to prove my point, “Medical Marijuana: Do It the Right Way,” a parade of nonsense that reads like it came straight from John Rutherford’s desk, argues that the Charlotte’s Web law obviates the need for broader reforms: “If Floridians want a way to obtain medical marijuana safely and responsibly, they have one now.”
After all, Michael P. Clark’s gang continues, the Florida Sheriffs Association opposes Amendment 2, and we should of course defer to them. If Amendment 2 passes, you see, all of your kids will have ready access to dope — “[Teenagers] would not need parental consent,” the T-U says in a line taken nearly verbatim from the scare group Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot, as if the Legislature wouldn’t pass a law to restrict pot to adults, as other states have done — and will die in dope-related car crashes. (“Fatal crashes involving marijuana tripled in the past decade,” the T-U ominously reports, citing a Columbia University study that measured whether drivers involved in fatal accidents had marijuana in their systems, not whether they were high at the time of the crash.) Moreover, people with such presumably made-up conditions as “anxiety, cramps, a sore back” (to borrow from Rutherford) will have access to marijuana, and then all hell would break loose.
But the T-U’s biggest fear is that “in reality [Amendment 2] is a stalking horse for recreational use,” because “among those who can receive marijuana under the amendment would be an ‘other’ category that is too vague,” and when people read the amendment “they won’t be fooled by the slick public relations campaign that’s being conducted by its supporters.”
Here’s the thing: Charlotte’s Web, the now-legal low-THC strain, is primarily used to help children with intractable epilepsy. More potent varieties treat pain from headaches and cancer, muscle spasms and nausea, seizure disorders and Crohn’s disease. As I’ve written about before, it is also being studied as a treatment for PTSD [Editor’s Note, “How Marijuana Saved a Life,” April 30]. The T-U, apparently, thinks its own sense of pearl-clutching prudishness should override all that.
They’re right about one thing, though: Medical marijuana will inexorably lead to recreational marijuana. So what? Reform happens incrementally, as people come to realize that the supposed Big Bad isn’t so bad after all. More people will smoke pot, yes. But somehow, the world won’t end, and we’ll move on to more important things.