All day, all night, Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand
Even little children love Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand.
Composed by Hubert Raphael Charles

Maryjane, down by the seaside sifting sand; under the boardwalk striking up joints and at home making whoopee. There’s no sending her back where she came from; Maryjane is out of Pandora’s Box and there’s no cramming her back into it.

She and her friends have been pushing for decades to have her legalised and as is usual with minority groups; persistence has finally paid off. Constant lobbying and half-truths have weakened our will and made believers of us. Even one of the most influential people in his country and much of the world, US President, Barak Obama, has ‘admitted smoking pot as a kid and has declared that marijuana is no more dangerous to your health than alcohol.’ No more dangerous, but perhaps potentially as dangerous. And alcohol is legal. I’m sure President Obama knows his history and what happens when you prohibit a legal product. So I would ask, why legalise it? The revenue is obviously tempting and as politicians are forever fond of telling us when it’s something we don’t want this new industry will create jobs. That’s what we in Victoria (Australia) were told when casinos in the CBD and gambling joints in every suburb were introduced.

If we’re told time and again that cannabis is safer than tobacco and that more people die from drink driving related accidents than from smoking cannabis, repetition begins to have the ring of truth about it. ‘Laboratory studies of drivers using marijuana have found that [while] smokers’ sensory functions are not severely impaired … their perceptual functions are significantly altered. …The greater the demands placed on the driver in these studies, the less they were able to overcome their impairment.’

Mason Tvert the co-director of the Colorado pro-legalisation campaign is celebrating. Coloradans will be ‘better of as a society. People will now be free to inhale instead of imbibe the poison of their choice. But many people who drink also smoke cigarettes. It’s a matter of adding another quiver to their bow. Research has shown that alcohol and marijuana has a multiplying effect…the resulting impairment is greater than either drug would be by itself.’ A recent example of that is Justin Bieber who was arrested in Miami for drag racing under the influence of drugs, alcohol and marijuana.

All the little children will just love Maryjane when they get to know her. Nearly 20,000 Scots children start smoking every year; around 207,000 children aged 11-15 start smoking in the UK every year. Every day 3,300 kids under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette. The overall rate of current smoking among Australian students aged 12 to 17 years was 6.7%.

Researchers and the general population know pretty much all there is to know now about the side effects of smoking and passive smoking but there’s not enough information available yet for researchers to have reached any definitive conclusions about cannabis. By the time statistics are available we will find that there is no going back. It’s ironic that just as cigarette smokers have become socially unacceptable, cannabis is being glamorised or what is worse still, normalised I imagine that as the pot smoking population increases exponentially there will be more to understand.

Alaska is pushing for the right to legalise recreational marijuana. Washington has already legalized it for recreational use but hasn’t yet set up a licensing system for growers and sellers. Colorado has opened recreational pot stores that have been cleaned out in a matter of days and the rest wait anxiously for the next harvest to come through in 8 months. It’s only a glitch until the growing industry gets into the rhythm of production. I can’t help wondering about the composition of those queues. I suspect they are a mix of people who have previously bought their fixings under the counter and adults and teens who are curious to see what all the fuss is about. It is anticipated that 665,000 Coloradans will use recreational marijuana in 2014 now that it’s legal.’ That’s only in Colorado and only in 2014 but the new year is hardly under way. ‘

I looked up the term ‘recreational’. The dictionary mentions such terms as ‘leisure, hobby, pastime, amusement. I can’t imagine that once cannabis is legal people will be willing to wait until they get home or are on holiday to light up. Pretty soon entrepreneurs and the government will be sitting on pots of money. That’s how democracy works, isn’t it? Everyone involved in this burgeoning industry seems to think so. Patrick Moen, a former DEA agent must have recognised the potential that a mushrooming marijuana industry can provide. He works for a small private equity firm in Seattle called Private Holdings and will be ‘guiding his company through the tricky legal waters of investing in marijuana-related businesses.’ The company’s aim is ‘to invest in ventures like marijuana strain review websites and “business parks” for growers.’ Moen believes that in order ‘for this process to succeed’… ‘we need to establish professional businesses that can bring mainstream brands to mainstream America, and without that this experiment in democracy is going to fail.’ There you go the democratic right of all and the freedom to trade hangs in the balance.

In Australia, there has been a lot of talk about medicinal marijuana and a girl who has had a miracle cure. I sense that the foundations are being laid down. The rolling stones are gathering moss. We have nightclubs all over the CBD and late night drinkers roaming the streets in search of victims. The government tries half-heartedly to do something about it whenever the shrieking from the community gets too loud to ignore. But the liquor industry is after all selling a legal product to people old enough to drink but not mature enough yet to do it responsibly. Is it they or is it the government who should take the responsible lead? I have to wonder who could have foreseen those sorts of problems today when the drinking age was lowered from 21 to 18.

8 thoughts on “All Day, All Night, Maryjane

  1. What’s really amusing about this whole thing is that whoever is going to smoke put is going to smoke it, legal or not. In fact, Colorado has already experienced the consequences of excessive taxation on “legal recreational marijuana:” people are just going back to their underground dealers! Now there’s a victory for law enforcement (irony font). In terms of medical applications of cannabis and Cannabinoids, first of all they’ve been in use for years, and secondly the positive results of research studies on ailments ranging from cancer pain to bipolar disorder continue to pour out of reputable universities.

    I have never run across a case of cirrhosis of the liver or lung cancer caused by marijuana. In fact it’s not associated with any particular illness. It is not a “gateway drug” as was once thought. Although it it’s true that many “hard drug” users also use MJ, the conception that it starts people down a slippery slope has been debunked.

    To tell you the truth, I’d much rather see my own kid enjoy a pot brownie on the weekend than drink a six pack or two, which is considered a bit excessive by society but not condemned (which it should be).

    Hmmm, it’s a nice evening…just right for a pipe full of that new bud…

    April Fool! 🙂

    • I’ve been thinking how to respond, Laura. It’s a hard topic isn’t it? You’re right that whoever is determined to smoke pot is going to smoke it whether it’s legal or not. But as a parent and now grandparent I worry more about the many who wouldn’t be bothered unless it was available behind the counter to buy. It’s my thought that you can only debunk a notion once you’ve legalised the product and spent a couple of decades on research. As for your own kid enjoying a pot brownie on the weekend, what makes you think he or his contemporaries would limit the enjoyment to brownies or to weekends? It took me decades to stop smoking. I began with 10 a day and ended up smoking 40 cigarettes a day. My stopping was an overnight success that took thirty years of stopping and backsliding. Thanks for visiting and sorry I took so long to get back to you.

      • Eek, do you mean tobacco cigarettes or joints? Either way, mucho unhealthy, but if joints, how on earth could you function??? My personal measure of what’s too much MJ is functionality. If they’re lying on the couch all day blotto, then they better go to NA and clean up their act. If they’re using daily, going to work or school and doing well, having a social life that does not revolve around using, then I don’t worry. But it’s a fine line sometimes. I use myself at bedtime to treat the pain of my arthritis and get some sleep without spending the whole night trying to find a position of comfort. It makes such a difference to get a good night’s sleep! I’m not the kind who can get by using in the daytime, too many responsibilities, so I suffer all day and look forward to my painless nights. So it goes. The MJ is the only thing that treats the pain, beats out the fancy meds from the rheumatologist, and I won’t take opioids. So there you have it.

      • (Sorry to have taken so long to respond, Laura.) There should be a way to make MJ legal for medical needs only. I don’t want to deny it to people who need it. It’s just that it took me decades to stop smoking. It was a stop and start affair that was an overnight success after three decades. I am a compulsive. That’s the sort of person I’d like to protect.

  2. You definitely do no hold the same POV that I hold. I’m disgusted to find how brainwashed people have become ever since the release of Reefer Madness on this subject and i want the war on cannabis to come to an end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Azf320JDdqU I want all that money that goes into catching out teens and tossing them behind bars while police departments build empires channeled into health care.

    Thankfully, I live where I do ie. in Canada where medicinal marijuana is legalized. This a link to an older post of mine and if you crank me up 😉 I may publish another one full of peer reviewed research data that will make your head spin. http://thistimethisspace.com/2010/08/25/end-the-war-on-drugs/ Cannabis is a medicinally beneficial drug, unlike alcohol.

    • TT, I fully respect your point of view. And I don’t even disagree with how you feel and what you have to say. But it’s too broad a topic; this article does not try to discuss those issues.
      When I read the stories about marijuana being legalised in Colorado I was imagining the teens I have known decades ago who went through the experimentation phase and thankfully (not like those teens you speak of) safely out the other end. Imagining too, what else they could have done if cannabis had been a legal product way back then is what got me riled. People have always found ways to get around the laws; other people have always obeyed or tinkered around them. I’m worried about the latter. Especially vulnerable children and easily influenced teens.
      I find it fascinating that in 1585 on Roanoke Island in Virginia, historian Thomas Harriot ‘observed…that the Indians had a curious herbal remedy which they claimed “opened the pores” and prevented diseases.’ It was called uppowoc; the Spanish called it tobacco. It’s one of my ‘what if’ fantasies. What if tobacco had been left right where it was? Hindsight is a terrific thing.
      I don’t believe that my paltry few words will have any sort of influence with anyone – as you can plainly see for yourself – but I had to put my thoughts down whether or not someone was watching. I have my own ‘don’t get me started’ issues, so I can well and truly relate to yours.
      As for medicinal marijuana (haven’t read your post yet), I wished I had thought of providing marijuana to my dad when he was dying and in great pain. When story came out about a girl whose fits had been cured by taking marijuana, my first thought was that if I had been her mother I would have done the exact same that she did. But I also see the AMA’s point of view (Australian Medical Association). They say no clinical proof is available to show whether taking marijuana is what cured this girl. They are sticks in the mud, holding on to power, but I have to say that I very much believe in research and due process.
      I’m sorry to have responded before reading your links first, TT, but as you may have already guessed, I’m one of those impulsive, opinionated types who have to jump in immediately I have something to say. But I am really happy to have heard from you.

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