Jan 212012
 

virginia medical marijuanaWill Virginia Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol?

Virginia Delegate David Englin (D – Arlington) has introduced House Joint Resolution 140, which would research the benefits of selling marijuana at ‘ABC stores’ alongside alcohol. Regulating marijuana like alcohol is popular with some marijuana activists, and unpopular with others. I personally feel that regulating marijuana like alcohol is better than regulating marijuana the way it is now. It’s not perfect, and it’s not the finish line, but at least it would get Virginia out of the current situation it’s in, at least a little bit.

I know there are those out there that disagree, and I always welcome your views in the comments below. Like I’ve said over and over, I’d rather be wrong and facilitate discussion than be right and have the conversation go nowhere. Despite what some ill informed readers believe, I love debate and discussion because I feel like it will help us arrive at common ground. Always have, always will.

Whether you agree with regulating marijuana like alcohol or not, hopefully you can agree with Virginia Delegate David Englin’s basic idea of why marijuana reform is needed in Virginia, “Right now people are smoking marijuana secretly,” said Del. Englin. “They’re spending money on it and it’s going into in to the hands of criminals. This legislation just seeks to find out how much money we could potentially be raising to fund core services for the Commonwealth.”

As always, there’s someone clinging to outdated reefer madness rhetoric. Wayne Frith, of Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) said, “The simple truth is the health implications and public safety implications are horrible with this drug. Somehow we’ve created this myth that marijuana is a harmless play drug and it’s not. It needs to be controlled. To equate it with alcohol and put it o (sic) the general public, I mean what’s next? Selling it at Wal-Mart and having young people steal it? That’s the wrong track to go down,” said Frith.

CBS 6 News got NORML’s perspective on the issue, “Virginia NORML strongly supports Virginia House Resolution 140 to study the potential revenue impact on the Commonwealth of legalizing the sale and use of marijuana for adults. Surveys show that young people have easier access to illegal marijuana than they have to alcohol or cigarettes. Why? Because the production and sale of these latter products are regulated and legally limited to adults.” said Spokesperson Sabrina Frederick.

Federick also said, “It’s legalization, regulation, and public education ­ coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions ­ that most effectively keep mind-altering substances out of the hands of children. Despite more than 70 years of federal prohibition, marijuana is here to stay. It’s time to acknowledge this reality, cease ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises, and put it in the hands of licensed businesses.”

 

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • Chris Hawkes

    Shutting people down like Wayne Frith is as easy as asking them if alcohol is more harmful than cannabis. If they insist that alcohol is less harmful, ask them to cite the scientific study that backs up their claim.

    But, is it logical to argue with reefer madness sycophants in the first place? Maybe we should just pose this question instead.

  • malcolm kyle

    Not yet convinced that this magic plant can actually enhance and improve human abilities? Here are just a few of the many highly motivated athletes whose drug of choice is cannabis/marijuana:

    * Usain Bolt, the 2008 World Record holder of the 100 and 200 meter sprint.

    * Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer ever with 14 Olympic gold medals.

    * Tim Linecum, the National League baseball’s Cy Young Award winner for 2009.

    * Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl XLII’s MVP.

    * Mark Stepnoski, two-time Super Bowl champion. “I’d rather smoke than take painkillers.”

    * Randy Moss, NFL single season touchdown reception record (23, set in 2007), and the NFL single-season touchdown reception record for a rookie (17, in 1998). Moss has founded, and financed many charitable endeavors including the the Links for Learning foundation, formed in 2008.

    * Ricky Williams, the Heisman Trophy Winner in 1998. Throughout his life, Williams has dealt with anxiety and depression. He used to advertise the prescription drug Paxil. However he later stated “Marijuana is 10 times better for me than Paxil.”

    * Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored (38,387), games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots and defensive rebounds. During his career with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers from 1969 to 1989, Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships and a record six regular season MVP Awards. He has a prescription to smoke marijuana in California, which he says he uses to control nausea and migraine headaches. He has been arrested twice for marijuana possession.

    * “I just let him know that most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason” – Josh Howard, forward for the Dallas Mavericks. Howard admitted to smoking marijuana on Michel Irvin’s ESPN show.

    * “You got guys out there playing high every night. You got 60% of your league on marijuana. What can you do?” – Charles Oakley (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets)

    * “I personally know boxers, body builders, cyclists, runners and athletes from all walks of life that train and compete with the assistance of marijuana,” – WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam

    * Some of the best cricket players of all time, like Phil Tufnell and Sir Ian Botham, have admitted to regularly using marijuana to deal with stress and muscle aches. In 2001, half of South Africa’s cricket team was caught smoking marijuana with the team physiotherapist. They were celebrating a championship victory in the Caribbean.

  • Tom Hillgardner

    Cannabis should be regulated like tea. Is regulating it like alcohol better than the present situation? Of course! But the time to decide what post-prohibition cannabis regulation should look like is now. If we rally around a bill that proposes to treat cannabis like alcohol, that will be how it gets treated for the next 20 -50 years. The fact that such bills are being proposed means there is a credible political debate occurring. Sure, make it illegal for minors to purchase it. Even license sellers of cannabis containing a THC content over 2% just so that government knows who is selling it. Otherwise sale should be unrestricted. Let my barber or local food market sell it. But there is no reason that it should be taxed in the same manner as alcohol as there really is no credible evidence that it causes societal harm other than because of its legal status. Face it: the concept of treatment for cannabis addiction is as ridiculous as the concept of treatment for coffee addiction.

  • http://weedblog Zachary Everett

    regulating marijuana like alcohol would be in fact legalizing so why not. Private citizens I assume, would be able to grow their own in limited quantities just as they can produce some amounts of alcohol spirits for personal use without government taxation.

  • Deborah Landau

    I have had MS for 25 years two of the drugs I take costs the Fed government $30,000 a year each. I find with marijuana, that my walking and other activities improve in quality, and length of time tolerated. I am 59 years old I recently wrote to our governor to ask him to look into how Colorado handles their marijuana issues. This crop could help to rescue some of our tobacco farmers while smoking tobacco is now so strongly (and rightly) discouraged. Keep up the great job you are doing Deborah Landau
    154 Bent Tree Drive Blairs, VA 24527

    • Sean Mitchell

      Deborah , u have hit it on the nail. i was injured very badly in a car accident. the pain medication i refuse to take (deloted and oxycotin) which i was prescibed does nothing besides cause constipation and slowly kill me from the inside out. however a simple herb called marijuana does the same job the pain medications are supposed to be doing without major side effects or the slow poison from being an opiate based drug. one thing i do wonder about is how such medications like oxycotin can stay on the market, when it is more dangerous then half of the illegal drugs.