The most successful campaign initiated by billionaire hedge-fund operator George Soros has been the legalization of marijuana. Californiahas been the focus of most of his efforts. But there are indications that the campaign has gone too far, too fast in Colorado, prompting a backlash from the black Democratic mayor of Denver, who fears his city is becoming a new capital for the marijuana industry.
During my recent trip to Denver to cover the National Conference for Media Reform, I visited a “Native Roots Apothecary,” an official dispensary of “medical marijuana” in Denver, and discovered that a Colorado resident can get two ounces of marijuana a day (at an average of $150 an ounce), and “self-medicate” for almost any reason. Even a heavy marijuana user goes through only a quarter of an ounce a day. So fears are growing that “medical marijuana” is quickly becoming integrated into the illegal drug business. It was not supposed to happen this way, but state “regulation” of the industry has been a tragic joke.
Colorado has been in the news lately for passing new “gun control” legislation, at the urging of President Obama. But the state is also becoming known as a magnet for drug activity and a destination for what is called “drug tourism.”
The Denver Post says that on Saturday, April 20, the city will be the venue for a “coming out for cannabis” party that will attract thousands. The liberal paper also lists “Dozens of marijuana-themed and marijuana-friendly concerts [which] are happening Friday and Saturday.”
April 17-23 is “World Cannabis Week” in Denver.
Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, but President Obama told ABC News that recreational users of marijuana, in states that have legalized the substance, should not be a “top priority” of federal law enforcement officials.
Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock, who welcomed participants to the National Conference for Media Reform, is already concerned about the possible damage to his city’s reputation.
Before the state legalized the drug last November, Hancock said, “I do firmly believe it’s a gateway drug. I also think it’s the wrong message we want to send our children that it’s okay for them to consume or use marijuana…We don’t want to be the first state in this nation that legalizes marijuana. I believe we will lose our attractiveness to companies, employers who want to come to our state. Tourism is the number-one industry for the City of Denver, number two in the state of Colorado, and I believe that sector will be disproportionately harmed with the perception that Denver is the marijuana capital.”
Now that the state has legalized the drug, Hancock has advised the City Council to outlaw private marijuana clubs. He is also worried about public consumption of the drug. The Denver Post reported on his testimony: “As a father, Hancock said he is opposed to marijuana. ‘There is no denying …the potential for a negative impact on our kids—on their home lives, their health, their education and their future.”
There are already over 1,400 “medical marijuana” businesses in the state. Full-blown legalization, which passed last November, is still being implemented.
In Denver, there is even a magazine, “Culture,” described as “The #1 medical cannabis lifestyle magazine.” So being “sick” has become a lifestyle? This just goes to show that “medical marijuana” is a scam to get high.
I was not permitted into the section of the “Native Roots Apothecary” offices where the drugs are actually stored or sold. But I did take several photographs in the lobby, or waiting room. For some reason, the owner came out later demanding that I delete these photos. The back of the door featured a big “I medicate” poster advertising the arrival of the “Cannabis Cup” in Denver on April 20.
The Colorado State government says the total number of “patients” who currently possess “valid” ID cards for “medical marijuana” is an astounding 108,951.
State law says you must have “an active, debilitating medical condition.” But I was told any problem or ailment will do, as long as a “medical marijuana doctor” certifies your need for the drug. Postcards advertising a website were available to direct people to doctors willing to help. A $25 gift certificate made it even easier.
“No prior medical records required,” the postcard said. “Compassionate doctors [are] on staff to assist you in obtaining your medical marijuana license.” In other words, you don’t need to show medical records or pass a physical examination to determine the nature of your health problem. Just walk in, tell them what ails you, and walk out with your card.
In addition, Colorado cannot monitor the source of the dope, to determine it is not coming from criminal gangs or Mexican cartels. And they can’t control what you do with it, after you smoke your daily allotment.
There is an obvious failure by Colorado to regulate the “medical marijuana” industry. This means that a new marijuana industry, following the passage of Amendment 64 in November 2012, is making the problems that already exist much worse. Inevitably, we will be seeing more social, economic and legal problems, not to mention hundreds of thousands of more mostly wasted, alienated, and disoriented youth.
Fortunately, Denver’s liberal paper, The Denver Post, is being forced to cover this debacle. It recently reported that “State regulators charged with watching over Colorado’s medical marijuana industry have fallen short on everything from tracking inventory and managing their budget to keeping potential bad actors out of the business, a state audit released Tuesday found.”
It went on to say that “The findings are a blow to the state Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division as it prepares to take on the additional task of regulating recreational marijuana legalized by Amendment 64.”
In addition to the prospect that legalization will end up assisting the illegal drug business, there is growing evidence that marijuana causes serious mental problems.
Jared Loughner, who in 2011 shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and subsequently pleaded guilty to 19 charges of murder and attempted murder, was a heavy marijuana smoker. Documents recently released in the case by the Pima County (Arizona) Sheriff’s Department, after Freedom of Information requests from news organizations, reveal that Loughner’s parents knew that he had been smoking marijuana and using cocaine.
Ironically, therefore, “medical marijuana” may be creating more cases of deranged individuals with even more serious mental problems and sicknesses, leading to dangerous and irrational behavior and “gun violence.”
But look for the liberals to blame the guns, not the drugs.
An excellent piece in The American Spectator by Peter Hitchens, “The Right’s Reefer Madness,” highlights “the hilarious falsehood” known as “medical marijuana,” which he points out was originally promoted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) as a “red herring to give marijuana a good name.”
But it is not so hilarious, Hitchens writes, when you consider the evidence linking marijuana to mental illness. He writes, “There are experienced psychiatrists, such as Professor Sir Robin Murray of London’s Maudsley Hospital, who have little doubt of the connection. Likewise, there are nurses from British mental hospitals who have contacted me to tell of their conviction that there is a connection between marijuana and mental illness.”
He laments that too many so-called conservatives have abandoned the fight against these dangerous drugs.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].