Just say no to medical marijuana

Friday , February 05, 2016 - 5:00 AM28 comments

By TERRY L. THOMPSON
Weber County Sheriff

To an average sixth-grader, “Just Say No to Drugs” is an accepted norm that he is taught that may save his life. This may seem self-explanatory. Our Utah state legislators, on the other hand, are struggling with peer pressure and the challenges of effective leadership with this same concept.

Wealthy, dope-market money changers are descending on state level politicians all across the country in an effort to spread their despicable lust for money via drug addiction. Today, the push for legalization is only for medical use and only for certain “conditions.” Tomorrow’s goal will be full legalization. Utah is on a crash course down a perilous path that other states have followed to their dismay. This legalization effort is being pursued through the most disgusting and devious of ways — by using legitimate, real illness and injury to real people who are desperate to find hope and relief for real medical needs. Many more are simply addicted individuals who are looking for an excuse and hiding behind the fallacy of “medication.”

I would submit that what gets lost in this debate is the appropriate priority of legislative directive. State legislators need to be focused on the overall welfare of Utah’s three million residents, not on the perceived or actual needs of a few when the risk for so many is so great.

Even leftist Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has denounced a windfall of revenue. Colorado is spending big dollars on violations of enforcement due to massive illegal growing operations, as well as on education for kids suffering from the perception that dope-laced candy is safe to consume. Concentrated marijuana produces a much more potent and deadly mixture of toxic chemicals and is way too readily available to kids.

Marijuana is the No. 1 problem in Colorado Schools, according to ACT on Drugs.

“The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” a 2015 report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, provides some other interesting statistics on marijuana:

  • Drug-related school suspensions are up 40 percent
  • Youth use is 56 percent higher than the national average.
  • Use by adults and older is up 87 percent.
  • Use by adults is 86 percent higher than the national average.
  • Hospitalization for marijuana use increased 82 percent between 2008 and 2013, according to the 2014 RMHIDT report.
  • Marijuana use emergency room visits increased 29 percent in 2014.
  • In 2013-14, the average number of marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 41 percent.
  • Colorado youth obtain marijuana most often from friends who legally obtain it (39 percent); the second most prevalent source was parents (30 percent).

After 2013, when recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, there was a 110 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related traffic fatalities in Utah, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety. Hmmm…

It is ironic that so many touting the legalization of marijuana want to show an analogy to alcohol when alcohol is the most abused drug we have in our communities — yet we consider adding marijuana to that already-existing problem, pretending that it does not exist. Alcohol is so prevalently abused, primarily due to the perception that it is not dangerous because it is legal.

Studies show that marijuana use in youth contributes to schizophrenia, anxiety, cognitive disorganization, abnormal levels of dopamine, lower IQ, and being socially withdrawn. Marijuana use in adults indicates increased psychotic illness, psychosis, depression, and asthma. These are some of the very concerns others purport to be treating with marijuana use. We must understand that the well-funded marijuana legalization lobby propaganda is designed to mislead and distract us from the very real dangers of marijuana use.

This is not a complicated issue, but as with similar efforts to deceive, the dark side is ambiguous, pretentious, twisted and all about the money. The sad reality is there is a willingness to sacrifice the very persons they use to blame and shame.

Please contact your Utah state legislators and ask them to say no to drugs.

Terry L. Thompson is serving his second term as Weber County’s sheriff.

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