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As usual, I swim against the tide. Or, in this case, against cultural shifts. Specifically, marijuana legalization (I guess we call it cannabis, now).

Big money has persuaded a few people I know, including former House Speaker John Boehner, to join the pro-legalization campaign. “Big Weed” has joined several trade associations and chambers of commerce and sponsored events to show how you can cash in on this new enterprise. Yes, I know, there are benefits to certain non-THC versions of cannabis oil (anti-inflammation), and I’m persuaded there are some medicinal benefits for those who suffer from glaucoma and other maladies. But as with all things, there are consequences.

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (rmhidta.org), a consortium of non-political law enforcement agencies - federal, state and local - from New Mexico to the Canadian border have been tracking several statistics on the effect of marijuana (oops, cannabis) legalization in Colorado for the past several years. While the statistics aren’t perfect (they don’t account for population growth, for example), the trends are unmistakable and indisputable - legalization results in higher traffic deaths, increased youth drug use, and increased hospitalization. Now, New Jersey (and other states) are jumping on the bandwagon, and on one, it seems, is pushing back. Money talks, it seems, and states with insatiable appetites for money (New Jersey) see a gravy train.

The monied interests behind the marijuana (oops, cannabis) industry are discrediting every study and publication they can that undermines their efforts to send Americans into an altered states of consciousness. Think about that. I get the issues around over-criminalization of marijuana possession, and understand the libertarian arguments around “my body, my choice.” But, again, there are societal consequences, including victims. Before you jump on the bandwagon, please take some time to review this compendium of statistics collected by law enforcement agencies.
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