I originally wrote this essay as part of an application as a writer for Denver-based Pot Guides. I then was told I had moved on to the next level of the interview process, but never heard from them again. Repeated inquiries to the editor have gone unanswered. I never was paid anything for this piece, so I do, indeed, still own the rights to it. I figured I may as well post it to my own site. Enjoy!
Black market exists mostly where legal market struggling instead of thriving
President Trump just declared a public health emergency. The threat? The Pharma-ignited opioid addiction epidemic.
The opioid epidemic is sucking people first brutalized by pain into heroin addiction, simply because they took the painkillers the doctor prescribed – and kept prescribing — often without warning.
Despite a scathing report in October by “60 Minutes” placing the blame for this epidemic at the feet of lawmakers in Washington, D.C., the Trump administration already has turned its attention back to “reefer madness.”
While drug czar Chris Christie makes National Enquirer statements such as marijuana leads to more deaths, Colorado’s top public health official said last week the legalization of marijuana has not negatively impacted public health there.
In fact, many say with the greening of America (legalization of cannabis), public health has improved. They point to numerous studies that show drug overdoses from opioids actually are down where marijuana has become legal.
Even where legal cannabis remains costly, prices tumbling
Still, commercial cannabis remains very expensive in some places, particularly medical cannabis. This has allowed the black market to linger.
In Illinois, an eighth of quality flower at a medical cannabis dispensary costs $40 on average. It’s unlikely the black market can touch that quality at that price. And just four months ago, that same eighth costs about $60. As more people come onto the program in Illinois, prices are dropping.
Most people prefer to know what they’re buying, and don’t mind paying extra for legal, labeled cannabis. People who are educated about what they are getting are more likely to use cannabis responsibly, too.
Cannabis even is funding mental health care in cash-strapped Illinois.
In Shelby County, a non-profit organization called Shelby County Community Services provides community mental health services using proceeds from its cannabis cultivation centers.
Developmentally disabled people are employed at the cultivation centers.
Fight the opioid epidemic by legalizing marijuana; marijuana ‘Breathalyzers’ a must
A portion of marijuana tax revenue proceeds need to be directed toward true problems caused by its legalization. While many diehard stoners will swear they can drive baked, the truth is even experienced marijuana smokers have waited for a stop sign to turn green.
There needs to be accurate marijuana “breathalyzers” developed and deployed as soon as possible. The revenue this could create is staggering. Lawmakers would have massive funding to fight the black market however they deem appropriate. Enforcement would become lucrative.
Some might say it’s too unfair a price to pay for legalization. But the opioid epidemic is costing our country billions of dollars per year. It’s money being taken away from everywhere, including law enforcement
Marijuana is raising billions in taxes which can help fund police protection. Law enforcement should then be able to use that money however it sees fit, including to provide first responders with Narcan.
In light of what the president already has admitted is the real public health emergency, let’s legalize the healing plant from coast to coast, suffocate the black market for all drugs, and get our nation healthy again.
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