|If this leaf gets you worked up, then you're probably not smoking it. (Image)|
I recently got an email from my friend Brian asking me if I was related to Shawn Sitzman. Brian had seen Shawn's name on a National Geographic channel show and wondered if the two of use were related, seeing as there aren't too many Sitzmans lurking about. I am related to Shawn Sitzman; he's my cousin. Here's the picture of him on National Geographic's site. The interesting thing, which I had no idea about, was that the show was all about medical marijuana in Colorado, and it focused a lot on Fort Collins.
I guess this is what happens when you leave the country for 5 or 6 years. It seems like I'd heard that medical marijuana had become legal in Colorado at some point, but I didn't know much more about it than that. Apparently there were legal dispensaries in Fort Collins for several years until last November, when a ballot measure passed to shut them all down. I don't know too much more about what's going on, but evidently patients with a medical marijuana prescription can still get it filled in other places, but not in Fort Collins.
The National Geographic show seems to be part of a larger series that is still in the process of being released, and there are only a few 2- or 3-minute video clips on the site so far. Still, it caused different emotions in me. My first and main reaction was: "What in the world is wrong with the voters who passed the measure to close the dispensaries?" Even if I didn't have a cousin who relied on the drug for pain relief, I would still have been opposed to the idea. I could understand if they had been trying to get rid of methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin... you know, drugs that are actually dangerous and don't have much legitimate medicinal use, but marijuana? Really?
Agriculture still isn't based on the honor system.
Properly stow your crops, numb-nuts! (Image)
The argument of the people who wanted to close the dispensaries seems to have been that they didn't want hippies or junkies coming to town, or some such thing. But the people getting marijuana in the video didn't look like hippies, they seemed like sick patients that were having a pretty crappy go of it. Plus, any town except Singapore is going to have junkies no matter what, but when I think of "people who smoke a lot of pot," I don't think of junkies sleeping and pooping in the street, I think of people in a living room eating cereal, watching TV with the sound turned off. Although the show did present both sides, there were a few parts of the video that make the whole pro-medical marijuana side seem a bit... well, high. Like the guys who had planted the marijuana plants outside their house, next to a public sidewalk. Seriously, what kind of idiot would do that? Of course high school and junior high kids are going to take leaves from your plants, you morons. It's free pot. That's like storing an open safe full of money next to your mailbox. You can do it, but you should only do so if you're exceptionally stupid.
The other reaction that I felt was disbelief that marijuana is still so vilified in so much of the world, yet alcohol gets off with nary a mention. You may know that I drove a university bus at CU-Boulder for about 6 years. From that experience, I can guarantee you that if there was a belligerent passenger who wanted to fight me and/or other passengers, or who threw up on the bus, or who yelled obscenities at other riders, that that passenger was drunk, not high. High passengers were even arguably even better than regular passengers, since they just sat quietly and looked out the window.
And that's the people who aren't using the drug for medicinal purposes, but if we then consider the people who rely on marijuana as a medicine to get through the day without constantly feeling excruciating pain, then it's even harder to reconcile the voters' decision with the reality of the situation. If the people of Fort Collins wanted to get rid of the junkies, they should have closed down the bars and liquor stores (which I also would have opposed... if people want to get high or drunk, I could care less, as long as they don't bother me or anyone else when they do so). It's just a shame that people who actually were benefiting from the availability of medical marijuana will now have to go elsewhere to literally ease their pain.