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.