The Oklahoman begins its war against the Medical Marijuana Initiative…

For a group of squares who don’t smoke weed, The Oklahoma Editorial Board – and its contributors – sure are paranoid about medical marijuana.

Although 2018 is barely three weeks old, the “state’s most trusted news” has already published three editorials warning about the “hidden dangers” and consequences of marijuana legalization, and none about how awesome it is. I guess it’s all part of the paper’s new “Behind The Times with Grandpa” editorial series.

The campaign started on January 7th with a sly editorial about California’s official launch of recreational marijuana sales. Instead if celebrating the world’s seventh largest economy legalizing a product that’s been wrongly vilified and criminalized in the US since the 1930s , they warned of the problems the Golden State may face by letting people legally buy a drug they were going to buy anyway:

In locations across California on Monday, people lined up to buy recreational marijuana legally — a happening hailed by pot advocates as long overdue and ultimately beneficial to the Golden State’s treasury.

Less talked about is the potential for harm that could come from legalizing recreational marijuana. The potential downsides are routinely dismissed as hyperbole, or scare-mongering by the unenlightened. Get over yourselves, advocates say.

Yet we remain concerned about the expansion of recreational pot — California is the eighth state to legalize its sale. Colorado and Washington were the first to do so, in 2012.

Actually, the advocates are right. Get over yourselves! Stop with scare-mongering you unenlightened turds! Yes, just like with any legal and illegal drugs, there can be some “downsides” to marijuana use, but that doesn’t mean the product should be illegal.

Sales in Colorado began in January 2014. Since then, according to Denver-based VS Strategies, a pro-legalization research company, Colorado has generated about $500 million in revenue (including taxes and fees from medical marijuana, which was legalized years earlier).

Jeff Hunt, vice president of public policy at Colorado Christian University, noted on these pages in August that in fiscal 2016, marijuana tax revenue accounted for just 1.18 percent of Colorado’s total tax revenue. Meantime, “The cost of marijuana legalization in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, health care treatment, addiction recovery and preventative work is an unknown cost to date.”

Maybe I’m new, but I thought the “unknown cost” of marijuana legalization is a mystery because marijuana has been illegal for decades. Regardless, whatever that “cost” may be, I doubt it’s more costly than tossing someone in prison because they sold a 1/4-ounce of weed to a friend.

A week later on January 13th, The Oklahoman republished this editorial from the Colorado Springs Gazette about how Colorado politicians are “ignoring major pot problems.” It paints the state as a dank wasteland populated by black market growers, drug cartels and stoned children causing traffic accidents while desperately searching for Taco Bell. If you want to laugh at out-of-touch anti-marijuana propaganda that ignores the fact that people used pot in droves before it was ever legalized, check it out.

A couple of days later, The Oklahoman published a user submitted editorial titled “OKC Writer: Reasons to reject medical marijuana plan.” It was written by this guy:

That guy who looks like he hangs around the donut shop with your grandpa is “OKC Writer” Mike Brake. He served as a speechwriter for Frank Keating and Mary Fallin. He also writes for the OCPA, the infamous conservative think-tank that openly lobbies for small, limited government, unless, of course, you want to consume a drug that’s safer than alcohol or Tylenol to help deal with stress or a headache. In that situation, the government knows best and has every right to tell you what to do with your life.

He listed four reasons to be skeptical about the alleged benefits of legalizing cannabis for medical use. Yeah, that’s right. Medical marijuana legalization is such a no-brainer that the opposition can only come up with four reasons to be against it. In fact, the reasons are so weak that they can easily be twisted to be in support of marijuana.

Check them out:

First, despite what its advocates claim, there is less than universal evidence for the therapeutic benefits of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Trials of its effectiveness in a wide range of diseases and conditions tend to be haphazard and anecdotal.

Well, I guess we know that Mike Brake has never smoked marijuana, and that if he has, it was probably in a motel room with Ralph Shortey. I have, uh, friends who have used marijuana before, and they tell me it helps them relax, open their mind, and think of weird things to write on the Internet. Maybe Mike should give it a shot?

Also, who cares if it’s “effectiveness” has been “anecdotal?” Not to go all logical libertarian on you, but if marijuana works for you, and doesn’t hurt someone else, why shouldn’t you be able to use it? As long as it doesn’t hurt someone else, personal liberty should always trump the concerns of fun-hating, control-seeking authoritarian squares.

Here’s Reason #2:

Second, it would be virtually impossible to enforce the limitations on how much marijuana a person could grow and possess under the rules laid down in State Question 788. Police and health officials won’t be able to go around counting pot plants or weighing baggies.

Uhm, is any of that a bad thing? Do we really want cops bothering people by counting plants and weighing baggies? You don’t see them at Chili’s testing the alcohol content of beer on tap. If legal weed is impossible to enforce, maybe the cops can worry about policing important things that actually matter.

Third, de facto legalization of pot for medical uses abandons proven methods in place for decades for the testing and approval of drugs. Under that system, new medications are extensively tested in double-blind clinical trials where their effectiveness and potential dangers and side effects are carefully monitored against comparable populations who receive placebos.

Yes, we need to extensively test marijuana –a non-lethal plant that’s been used by humans for millieniums – for safety and effectiveness. You know, just like we did for Oxycodone, Percocet and Hydrocodone. That way people can be assured they’re using a safe, licensed product that won’t lead to addiction and cause any negative or harmful side effects to individuals or society.

Finally, there are adverse effects of increased marijuana consumption, both to the individual and to society. THC impairs attention, memory, motor skills and other functions, with possible permanent damage from habitual use, especially by young people.

Mike is right about one thing. THC can impair attention, memory, motor skills and other functions, which I guess is why only 55 million Americans use it at least once a year!

Seriously, though, marijuana needs to up its game. Just check out all the short and long-term negative side-effects of alcohol. Despite those consequences, The Oklahoman Editorial Board  enthusiastically endorsed and supported SQ 792, which increased the availability of stronger, more potent alcohol to Oklahoma consumers. Perhaps if medical marijuana was more detrimental and dangerous to the people who use it, maybe The Oklahoman would get behind it.