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Let me start by congratulating Colorado’s legislators for doing the right thing in passing the new marijuana laws; they are long overdue. The American people have been hoodwinked for far too long. The use of marijuana has been stigmatized ever since the late forties and early fifties with propaganda films like Reefer Madness. The film, now a cult classic shows young people going insane after having smoked marijuana; they seem to have ingested a hallucinogen such as LSD or magic mushrooms. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact it is quite to the contrary.

The US government conducted studies back in the fifties to determine the harmful effects of cannabis, to no avail. The studies were inconclusive, yet the propaganda rages on. In my humble opinion the government’s motives were much more sinister than simply researching the effects of marijuana. The incarceration of minority youth ever since is staggering. Coincidence? Not at all. The growing number of prisons being built for profit isn’t coincidental either, but that’s a topic for another day.

The other night I watched Bill Maher, and one of his guests was a Senator discussing the subject of  marijuana use. I listened as he tried to convince Bill about the research from a study that said, in effect, that marijuana is just bad. He went on to describe the ill effects, which certainly didn’t measure up with my experience.

I had an advocate in Bill Maher, who refuted some of the stereotypical hysteria surrounding the use of cannabis. Quite simply, marijuana isn’t going anywhere. The sooner we stop arresting people for using this harmless weed, and in fact stop this mind-boggling war on drugs, the better off the country will be. There has to be a better way.

I’m writing this blog post because I recently read that the legislators in Colorada are now haggling over methods to determine (like the blood alcohol level breathalyzer test) what percentage of marijuana one can have in their system without significant impairment while driving an automobile. I immediately saw the fly in the ointment. Having nothing to guide them but the stated alcohol requirements, making the cannabis legal has its drawbacks. The law will no doubt use a wide brush to paint cannabis smokers with the same stroke as drinkers of alcohol. I know that non-smokers will no doubt agree with this assessment. But to lay down the law this way is definitely the wrong approach. There is no comparison between driving a little stoned and driving drunk.

Alcohol brings out the rage in people. It makes them drive like maniacs, as if they were invincible. On the other hand, marijuana has a calming effect. Users are more cautious, and drive with pleasure when high. In fact, on long drives I like a toke on a joint and my music. It makes driving really enjoyable.

So I say to the lawmakers in Colorado: Do your own research. Drive with someone high on marijuana and see just how cautious they are. No speed demons here. The mixing of the two drugs, alcohol with marijuana is quite another matter. When alcohol is in the equation all bets are off. The alcohol part will override the effects of just smoking weed. If Colorado lawmakers make new laws according to the old stereotypes, their work will be self-defeating.

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