Family Disease of Addiction Unleashed by State Legalization
When a state legalizes drugs, it changes the culture dramatically and does incredible damage to the family system. Take the case of Ralph who believes he lost three nephews because of marijuana, and has completely lost touch with his sister, perhaps because of marijuana abuse by both her husband and daughter.
Ralph is 75 years old and moved out of the state of California once medical marijuana became legal. He witnessed crime skyrocketing, and pervasive drug use that he didn’t want his wife and children exposed to. “I didn’t want to live in a prison with bars on my windows.” He describes whole houses being robbed when people were away. He saw motorcycle gang members doing drug pickups in his residential neighborhood and noticed people became afraid to walk outdoors in the once safe community.
The Curse of Marijuana on the Family System
The stories he tells of his nephews are chilling. His first brother Steven’s 15 year old son Tom was murdered, along with his 15 year old cousin Sarah in cold blood by a Mexican-American Vietnam Veteran. The two children were out bicycle riding in an orchard. The stranger killed them and stole their bicycles. He was a psychotic killer and later found to be responsible for the murders of at least 5 children. News reports describe him as a brutal rapist who had anger issues. Ralph is convinced he was a marijuana user which caused his mental health problems.
Steven’s other son, Samuel, started smoking marijuana in grade school and kept it up all through his teen years. His habit caught up with him when he lost a job as a welder after failing a drug test. Unemployed, he lost his home and his boat. Samuel drank himself to death in his early 40’s.
Employers won’t hire a marijuana user, because insurance companies won’t cover them – the risk is too great of an on the job accident. One of Ralph’s sons works for a large company in California as a manager and has a hard time finding prospective employees because few can pass the drug test.
His other brother, Craig had a son, Frank, who was 20 years old when his wife got him involved in marijuana. He began doing crimes, Ralph thinks, because of the influence of the drug. Frank involved his children in his crimes, hoisting his children through the windows of homes so they could open the door and he could break in to steal to support his drug habit. He even robbed a bank. He was put in prison and became a hardened criminal. Every time he was released from prison, he would do a crime because he wanted to go back. Frank called prison, “the only home I got.” Finally, he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. He died there at age 42.
Tragically, Frank’s son was also into drugs, starting with marijuana and ended up doing both cocaine and heroin. Ralph says his relatives told him the drugs “fried his brain.” Tired of living the way he was living, Frank’s son died ‘playing chicken’ with a diesel truck. He hit the truck head on going 60 miles per hour. Ralph believes he intended to commit suicide and that he was probably under the influence of the drug at the time.
As to Ralph’s sister, she married a heavy pot smoker. Their daughter is a heavy marijuana user. His sister has moved out of California and refuses to talk to her family. “She is just not herself anymore,” explains Ralph.
Thankfully, Ralph’s children were spared the fate of their cousins, perhaps because Ralph moved out of California to protect them from the drug culture. Sadly, both of his brothers lost their only children to early death. Ralph lays the blame on the permissive drug culture in California.
Note: The names of the persons in this story were changed to protect their identities.
Some Things to Consider if Your State Just Legalized Marijuana Like California Did
What is legal today in California
• Adults can grow 6 pot plants in their home or apartment – this is a huge new unregulated (black market) supply of marijuana. It will service those under 21. Growing pot smells poorly. That skunky-garlicky smell is probably no longer a skunk.
• Pot can be advertised in all media – pay attention to internet advertising on sites and apps your kids use.
• Pot can be promoted using any method – merchandise/swag giveaways, free subscriptions. Keep an eye out for these offerings and giveaways. Notify Program Directors of any sport or other kid activity if you see marijuana vendors or increasing marijuana imagery at events.
• Mobile delivery must be allowed on our streets – current medical marijuana licensees are legally allowed to deliver to homes; it will be impossible to know if these licensees will restrict delivery to medical sales while they upgrade their license to include recreational use.
• Smoking pot/consuming THC in your home – marijuana-infused foods are common in Colorado, both commercial and home-made versions are available. They are easy to make at home yet difficult to monitor potency. They are very bad for kids and developing brains (0-25) and are responsible for huge increases in poisonings and hospital visits.
• Giving away pot to friends and potential friends – there will be more pot used in our communities. All Legalization results in increases in marijuana use across all age groups – 12-17, 18-25, 26+
What is not legal in California:
• Smoking in public – is not allowed however only carries a $100 fine. Few may be deterred by this low penalty, but you can legally ask for it to stop or be stopped.
• Driving under the influence of marijuana – however the incidences of this will go up as they have in all other rec-legal states. Be careful.
• Selling pot for recreational use to friends or customers without a specific recreational sales license – for which it will take approximately a year to set up procedures.
The mind-set to adopt is “more people around me may be high”. The first fundamental of marijuana legalization/commercialization is that use of marijuana goes up among all ages…12-17, 18-25 and 26+
That skunky-garlicky smell is probably no longer a skunk and will become more prevalent. Growing and burning marijuana smell similarly.
A parent’s jobs just got exponentially harder:
• Start really watching your kids for signs of marijuana use. The legal age limit of 21 set by Prop 64 is meaningless, because of how much “off-premise” pot will be in our communities. One of California’s Prop 64’s central features is the unlicensed home grows, which became legal November 9th. This is a new black market supply from which many kids will be first exposed to marijuana and where most kids who use pot will get it.
• Start getting over any ambivalence about pot. Stop thinking of pot as being the same as alcohol. Pot is an extremely potent drug today, and the younger kids start they risk a greater chance of addiction, loss of IQ and decline in neuroplasticity. We all need to learn more about potency (% THC) and the neurological impact of marijuana. If you have not smoked pot in 1-2 years, you don’t know anything about it. You cannot rely on your personal experience to direct you in this matter. Potency is the main goal of today’s market. Currently reaching THC levels in the mid-20%, commercial cultivators are shooting for the mid-30% and expect to achieve it in the next couple of years. 15 years ago, pot rarely contained more than 3% THC. Also, no edibles nor concentrates existed then; today they do and can contain upwards of 90% THC.
• Must begin inquiring about home grows and edibles at any house your children (0-18) will visit without you. 1 in 6, or 17%, of all teens that try marijuana, will become addicted – their’s will be the brains that light-up with the first use of a cannabinoid. So sadly, allowing a child to enter a neighbor or friend’s house is now dangerous business. As uncomfortable and invasive as it might feel, you must determine if they will be exposed to marijuana. Between the potential of growing marijuana plants, possibly without the proper ventilation for greenhouse gases, fertilizers and insecticides housed inside and possible edibles on premise, you cannot risk not knowing. Again, CCC passed Prop 64 by 60.1% – your neighbors will grow and use.
• You may want to consider family pot messaging – it might serve all best to let friends know your marijuana status – are you a “no-pot” family or a “pot-friendly” family. This may start to divide some friendships, but it will keep communities from making serious mistakes with each other and this is the new world California voters want to live in, so best to get on with it.
• Big Marijuana will target kids in the same ways Big Tobacco and Alcohol have in the past. Watch youth events for casual marijuana promotion. Youth sports will be a target. Vans handing out marijuana swag were already seen last summer at a big outdoor Lax tournament for 8-18 year old boys.
• California primary and secondary “Ed Code” says no drugs on campus, but schools will need to develop strategies as they see the use of marijuana increase among students, increase smelliness among students (big problem in Colorado) and/or an increase of edibles on campus. Prop 64 offers nothing to elementary, middle or high schools – no policy, structure or money.
• Eventually, parents will need to demand drug-free education from California colleges and universities. Colorado has failed in this regard. We must find a way or the right partnerships to make this happen, so the investments in our kid’s futures do not become 4 years of being high with negative impact on executive brain function – which is under development at greatest rates 18-25.
Do not assume your city or town will disallow pot shops or other marijuana businesses in your community. Any city that wants to ban marijuana businesses must officially do so within the next year and the sooner the better. If you don’t want pot shops in your downtown, you really have to attend city council meetings when marijuana is on the agenda. Here’s how this works…a) a majority of your neighbors are in favor of commercializing marijuana in our communities.
The county I lived in passed Prop 64 by 60.1%, so many from your town are likely to show-up to these meetings extolling what they see as the value of selling, manufacturing or growing pot commercially right here, and b) the marijuana industry is quite adept at fostering local outcry for marijuana, they will send outsiders to every council meeting with marijuana commercialization on its agenda to speak in favor of it. Hopefully, Councils will require addresses of all speakers, so they know who is speaking from inside and outside the city. And, hopefully councils will factor this information into their decision making. But it’s not guaranteed especially if the pro-pot voice is louder than the anti-pot voice.
Be careful of homemade foods. A marijuana-infused option will start to become more prevalent everywhere – at home parties, farmers markets, events with food trucks, outdoor tournaments, concerts, etc. Again technically it is illegal to sell to people not carrying a medical marijuana card without a recreational license, but pot edibles are very easy to make and many communities and environments will embrace them now.
Seriously, enjoy the last Christmas without an onslaught of pot products being promoted as this year’s hottest gift giving item or best stocking stuffer. There may be some marijuana companies with products available, but given the greater difficulty in selling to non-medical users this year, they are less likely to promote broadly. We will not have another Christmas without a myriad of marijuana gifts. How tragic given how negatively these “gifts” will affect 9-30% of new recipients.
Reprinted with permission from a drug prevention activist in California.
Whether you smoke pot or not or believe in recreational legalization – Prop 64 is a long, poorly written bill that does not accomplish what pro-pot claims it will. Let’s count down to number one, the 8 reasons you should cast a No vote on marijuana legalization.
8. “Inevitability” has already happened – to the question, “aren’t we just postponing the inevitable, by voting no?” – Pot is legal in California today – everyone in California that wants to or believes they need to smoke can do so under our medical marijuana laws.
7. Small possession is only an infraction (less than a traffic ticket)- If your buddies can’t be bothered to spend the $25 for a medical marijuana card, they risk virtually nothing – California has had the most lenient possession laws in the country since 2010.
6. Prop 64 isn’t going to raise significant revenue. “Sin” taxes historically do not generate large sums. Look at alcohol and tobacco tax revenue last year – $367M and $84M, respectively. California has a $110+ billion budget – $451M is only .0041% of revenue –this is not a game changer. Also, Prop 64 allows regulators to reduce the tax rate it sets after one year; many will still buy with their medical marijuana card where no tax is collected; many will continue to buy from existing suppliers where no tax will be charged; some will grow their own.
5. Prop 64 is not about social justice – African American leaders in California are beyond insulted that the Marijuana Industry is trying to tie civil rights to legalization. See Bishop Ron Allen speak
4. Organized crime dominates the Marijuana Industry in every state. It’s fantasy to think the market leaders (organized crime) just pack it up and go home now that pot is legal – they thrive under the veil of legalization. They operate quite comfortably outside the new laws, just like they did with the old laws. It’s dangerous. If your employed by Organized Crime or a competitor they do carry guns, for real.
3. Anyone interested in the pot industry, should focus on perfecting the medical marijuana laws passed by congress October 2015 –called MMRSA (Medical Marijuana Regulation & Safety Act) – it provides a real (and bi-partisan) framework for potentially bringing pot out of the shadows and making it a legitimate player. To date, no state including California has gotten organized crime out of the Marijuana Industry. Perhaps California can, with MMRSA, enough money and the will and support of our state legislature. Further, Prop 64 scrambles portions of MMRSA – making pot more unmanageable.
2. Marijuana potency is getting stronger every day. This is not a debate about whether marijuana is good or bad for you, but science is settled on the fact that it’s bad for younger developing brains. The younger one starts using marijuana, the greater potential this increase in potency has to inflict harm and addict.
1. The number one reason to vote no on Prop 64 – is because it is not fair. Yes, you could find pot when you were younger, but you had the privilege of growing up in communities that were not awash with marijuana. No constant skunky-garlicky smell wafting from home grows. No marijuana advertisements – on TV, Radio, Instagram or Twitter. No huge companies telling you to “just do it” or that “you’ll never smoke alone with x-brand of pot.” You never went to homes where pot was growing or the candy could actually hurt you – permanently. It’s too selfish – don’t inflict this horrible living environment on your little brothers and sisters or the generations to follow.
Watch these 18-25 year old film-makers in So Cal – who understand what the proliferation of edibles means to them and their friends.
The latest poll of Proposition 64 shows soft support of the measure and highlights how quickly support changes depending how the message is given. Of the five states with marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2016, California is the only state in which support for legalization leads in the polls. Legalization ballots lose badly in Massachusetts and in Arizona, according to recent polls. It is a statistical tie in Nevada.
Smith-Johnson Research conducted a poll of 500 likely California voters by cell and land lines, August 17-19, 2016. The margin for error is +/-4.4%. Support for legalization drops once voters hear one fact — Proposition 64 will allow marijuana smoking ads in prime time, and on programs with millions of children and teenage viewers.
Voters heard the description of Proposition 64 two different ways.
First, the ballot said that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act “could result in tens of millions of dollars in savings and increase tax revenue from hundreds of millions of dollars to over one billion annually. It gives local government the right to ban local sales, and establishes a state system of regulation and licensure.” With these positive messages, 56% of voters support the ballot. (About 80% of communities in California have banned marijuana.)
Second Ballot Mentions Advertising
In the second ballot, they were told of a ruling by the Sacramento Superior Court about advertising. Opponents to Proposition 64 may state there’s the possibility of television ads promoting marijuana smoking and edibles on prime time television. The change from the first to the second poll was dramatic, shifting from majority in favor to majority opposing. The second ballot yielded 43% support compared to 52% oppose.
In each case, the interviewees asked, “If the election was held today, would you definitely vote for Proposition 64, probably vote for Proposition 64, probably vote against Proposition 64 or definitely vote against Proposition 64.
These results of this new poll shows the fluidity of vote and the softening of the support. Support soften as voters begin to hear more about the actual details of the measure. As in other surveys on this issue women continue to be skeptical about Prop 64. In this latest statewide test only 49% of likely women voters are “probably” or “definitely” supporting the measure. Here’s a description of the new poll with complete description of the questions.
“Proposition 64 has had two weeks of press coverage that is starting to expose some serious flaws,” said Tim Rosales. Rosales is a strategist working on No on 64. He mentioned possible “television ads promoting smoking marijuana that will air to millions of kids.” Support is soft and a win of No on 64 is “definitely is in striking distance.”