Is that forest fire smoke or is it pot-smoke in the air? It is hard to tell given the promotion of legalized-weed all across the state of Oregon. Here in Klamath County, and more specifically in Klamath Falls, the cry for marijuana dispensaries and the embrace of growing of marijuana is led by a minority who are persistent, bold and sometimes annoying.
But before we as a community fall prey to the trappings of “economic development”, “agricultural diversity”, “personal liberty” and of course “increased tax revenue”, we should be certain to not inhale this rhetoric too deeply in order to think carefully about this topic.
When someone promotes the expansion of marijuana in our community, we need to ask “Do you also favor the legalization of cocaine, heroin and meth?” That may seem like an odd question, but it is the most important question. If the marijuana proponent says “No” then they are ignorant at best or deceptive at worst. Full acceptance of marijuana in Klamath County — growing it, selling it, using it — is just Step 1 of a two-step plan to legalize all hard drugs. Another way to think of it is, the legalization of marijuana is not alone.
This year the Oregon Legislature changed possession of certain controlled substances (cocaine, meth, heroin) from a felony to a misdemeanor (House Bill 2355). This trend is a mere slap on the wrist for possession and use of these substances — and unfortunately brings these drugs one step closer to legalization. And that my friends is the end game — legalizing and legitimizing all drugs — in the name of liberty. This idea of liberty is a bastardization of the founders’ ideal. Liberty was to free us from a tyrannical government and to be used to pursue happiness. Happiness is not “getting high out of our minds” (which is what happens 100% of the time with “recreational use” of marijuana and the sole purpose of recreational use), but instead improving our character. Getting high is license, not liberty. Getting high with these substances leads directly to enslavement, not liberty. Use and sales of these drugs ruins lives, ruins families and in the end ruins communities.
That is why it is so important to understand the legalization and legitimation of marijuana is not an isolated case but rather inextricably tied together with other illicit drugs. Marijuana legalization just greases the skids for the next round of legalization and legitimation.
Klamath County residents would be wise to deny further expansion of marijuana despite all the trappings of “more prosperity” because on its heals will be the cries for legalizing cocaine, meth and heroin for exactly the same reasons. Further questions to ask are:
- Will legalization of these drugs (including marijuana) increase or decrease their use?
- If legalization increases use, will that be better or worse for our community?
- If legalization increases use, will that also mean increased use among teens and children?
- If legalization increases use, does this lead to more property crimes in Klamath?
- If legalization increases use, will there be more DUIs on our roads?
I think the answers are obvious, but unfortunately those who use these substances care little about others and will passionately disagree. The heart of their arguments sit on a foundation of selfish-interests: what is best for them, what makes them feel good and damned be anyone else. I wonder why. Let us of sober minds be strong and steadfast against these expansion and legalization efforts. Legalization means legitimization, which will lead to greater use resulting in a worse and enslaved community, not a better one.