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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Douglas MacKinnon Columns

MacKinnon: Medical pot push driven by profit

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Published:   |   Updated: April 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

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In 1939, Frank Capra made one of the most entertaining, important and enduring political movies of all time titled “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur.

An essential part of the plot involved an immensely powerful and corrupt businessman by the name of “Jim Taylor” from Mr. Smith's fictional home state. “The Taylor Machine” in the movie continually manipulated a politician it had bought and paid for years earlier. Sadly, 75 years after the film premiered, many hard-working and honest Americans look at our nation's capital and even the state of Florida and understandably wonder if much really has changed.

Be it Washington, D.C., or Tallahassee, many times when the pushing of an issue just doesn't seem to pass the common-sense or smell test, then the political axiom “follow the money” usually kicks in. Which politicians are supporting it? What is their rationale? Who pays the bills? Who is contributing to their campaigns? What connections do these contributors have to the issue?

Being a fairly new resident of Florida, I don't pretend to know all the players or who might be supporting them from the shadows or even pulling their strings. That said, be it Florida, New York, California or elsewhere, it's never really a shock to any voters when they come to realize that certain politicians are indebted to certain benefactors who are seeking certain desired legislative outcomes. Now while much of this behavior may be legal, it is often less than transparent or ethical.

As a resident of a state I proudly chose to live in, I was greatly bothered to learn that an amendment to legalize “medical marijuana” will be on the November ballot as a result of a very well-funded petition drive. Really? Does nobody else see the multiple flaws and outright dangers associated with such an amendment? Does anyone else not recognize the fact that “medical marijuana” is a fantasy created for profit?

Anyone who truly believes this amendment is being pushed for altruistic “medical” reasons also may be open to buying a certain bridge between New Jersey and New York.

Human nature dictates that most people embrace the truth right up until the moment it reflects poorly upon themselves or their cause. That said, here are some facts that reflect poorly on the rush to legalize what federal laws define as a “Schedule 1” illegal narcotic:

♦ For anyone whose mind is not already clouded, it will come as no surprise to know that in the states where “medical marijuana” has been permitted, the largest users are males between the ages of 18 and 34. The most common reasons given as to why they need it being “stress,” “insomnia” and “pain.”

♦ In Colorado, for instance, 94 percent of users cited “pain” as the reason needed, 13 percent cited “muscle spasms” and 3 percent cited reasons associated with cancer, according to the Colorado Department of Health.

♦ If the amendment is passed, “medical marijuana” could be available in candy, cookies, soda, brownies, mints and a host of other “food” products making it potentially undetectable and tempting to children. Tragically, a teenager in Colorado reportedly fell off a balcony this month after eating marijuana cookies.

♦ The active ingredients in marijuana often cited as needed to relieve nausea have been available in pill form for more than 28 years.

♦ Smoked “medical marijuana” is opposed by law-enforcement agencies, the American Medical Association, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society and a number of medical institutions.

If the media and the voters take time to examine the aggressive campaign behind this amendment, they will realize it is easily discredited. So, what then is the real reason for pushing this issue?

Could it simply be all about galvanizing the youth vote? And if so, which politician might have the most to gain should they flock to the ballot box in November?

Interestingly, if we look at states that did not have a “medical marijuana” amendment on the ballot in 2012, there was virtually no change in the youth vote turnout. However, in the three states that did have medical marijuana amendments on the ballot, the youth vote increased some 63 percent.

Bingo.

Should this amendment pass, employers, parents, children, law-enforcement officers, hospitals and most of us will pay a severe price so a select few can profit greatly

Hopefully there is not a “Taylor Machine” operating in the state pushing for that destructive outcome.

 

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official, and an author.

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