Let adults make decisions

By Andy Winemiller - awinemiller@civitasmedia.com

One day this week, I turned up the volume on the radio after dropping the little one off at day care. Though I had hoped to jam out to some classic rock, a news report was blaring.

Some might be surprised how little I care to listen to news on the radio. Too much of anything in somebody’s life isn’t good, and I am buried in news all day — just about every day. However, this one caught my ear. Rather than find some hip-hop to blare, I listened.

Marijuana was the topic. Of course, it’s a terrible thing. We all learned the use of grass, weed or pot would likely lead to the ruination of our lives.

As if it were Mr. Mackey from South Park himself, our teachers, guidance counselors and D.A.R.E. officer told us, “Mary-ju-wana is bad.”

It seems the world is changing, however. This report stated Americans favor allowing the use of medical marijuana for veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by a 10-to-1 margin.

Having been taught “mary-ju-wana is bad” throughout my school-aged years, it’s really hard for me to imagine my VA doctor handing me a blunt and saying, “Have a toke.”

I’d probably say “no thanks,” as my college days pretty clearly taught me the stuff just isn’t for me. It was a much more concise and clear lesson than the “mary-ju-wana is bad” lesson from grade school. I’m simply not a fan.

A lot of Americans are good with the aforementioned chain of events though. According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 89 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for use when prescribed by a doctor. A slightly smaller percentage of folks support the drug’s use specifically for PTSD.

There are a million studies out there. Some say the drug is bad. Some say it’s not. Many ask, “How many folks were killed by high drivers, versus how many killed by drunk drivers?”

I’m not diving too deeply into statistics and studies. For me, the only statistic which matters is what folks think. Here in North Carolina, 63 percent of people believe it ought to be legal when prescribed by a physician, according to a recent poll.

No part of me thinks it’s OK to tell a cancer patient, “There’s this drug which could help, but it’s illegal to use.” Some social conservatives would basically say, “OK. Go die, and live in misery until you do.”

The fact is there are some who will cry, kick and scream about our society’s moral compass, but where’s that moral compass in everything else?

Dozens die from opioid overdoses in this county every year, but those are legal when prescribed by a physician.

I’m a true conservative in that I believe government should be as small as possible, and adults ought to be afforded the opportunity to make decisions about their own lives. Many pseudo-conservatives running around screaming about small government and waiving pocket Constitutions they can’t even understand actually only want smaller government when it fits their agendas.

It’s time to legalize it — at least for medicinal purposes. Whenever my doctor prescribes me a new medication, she and I have a discussion about the risks and benefits associated with the medicine. What’s the difference if that conversation were to be about a new drug called Pineapple Express or Purple Haze?

As for recreational use, that’s a column for another day. However, in my mind, it comes down to the same notion of letting adults make decisions about their own lives. Even if it’s terrible for somebody, slap a surgeon general’s warning on it, and let natural selection run its course.

It’s your life. Use it as a vehicle to soar into the clouds (a number of figurative interpretations could apply here) or crash and burn. The government shouldn’t care which path one takes.

Oh, and we mustn’t forget to tax it. After all, we tax everything else here. The governor and legislature can use the additional revenues to hire a special police force to catch the state’s bathroom boogeyman.

Now I likely even have Republicans on my side.


By Andy Winemiller


Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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