Submitted by Cynthia Macklin
“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it,” Jonathan Swift once wrote over three centuries ago.
His opinion has been substantiated by a MIT study that was recently published in Science magazine.
Among the study’s finding was “that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information.”
When it comes to a rational discussion about the opening of two retail marijuana stores in Lakewood, readers of this publication have been subjected to some rather novel opinions based on scare tactics and/or half-truths.
One of the scare tactic goes like this: If we legalize marijuana, then why not legalize murder or rape?
This is illogical on its face and ridiculous in fact. The former is the use of a legal product for personal pleasure; the latter involves two or more individuals to harm another.
Another scare tactic some pundits promote is that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” that it will lead to the use of “harder” drugs.
This is true – to a point.
For some smokers, marijuana will lead to other drug use. The same is true for some beer drinkers and Saturday night poker players who will become alcoholics and addictive gambling, respectively.
But for the vast majority of those who enjoy an occasional drink, a game of poker or a joint, their decisions to partake do not lead to addiction.
A recent study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov) research showed that “the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances.” The study also pointed out that there was no more or less affect from the use of alcohol.
To be intellectual honest at this point of the discussion – something that some opinion writers have not been – the study did point out that there is a direct correlation between “gateway” substances and prohibition.
In this case, prohibition requires those who wish to purchase marijuana to do so through the black market. Drug dealers – or pushers – sell a lot more than just marijuana to their consumers. In this case, the primary driving force is the drug dealer, not the marijuana per se.
In another example of fear mongering that highlights Swift’s statement, some opine that that all-cash business that the retail marijuana shops engage in will invite skimming and crime.
This is like saying driving a car invites speeding.
Sure, skimming and crime go hand-in-hand in the black market. But this kind of criminal activity will be very difficult to conduct in the highly regulated legal marijuana market.
The two proposed retail marijuana shops in Lakewood would be highly regulated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB).
What does that regulation look like? Every leaf of marijuana that enters a store has already been logged, tagged and documented since it was a seedling, to include any pesticides and fertilizer used in its growth to insure its safety.
What’s more, the LCB maintains records from the point of purchase, to the amount purchased, to the price paid for the purchase.
And while the LCB is at work making sure that all regulations are met, the state’s Department of Revenue oversees every penny of income made and then ensures that all taxes (37 percent tax rate) are paid.
Does this kind of regulation and taxation occur in the black market? Does this sound like it will result in an all cash business will be involved in “skimming and crime?”
While on the subject of the “black market,” let’s take a look at history.
During Prohibition (1920-1933) in this country, the federal and states’ governments attempts to end the manufacture and sale of alcohol only drove the “black market of alcohol” underground.
Despite the efforts of prohibitionists and the government, people who wanted to drink alcohol did so.
Likewise, there are people in Lakewood who will consume marijuana.
To argue that the disallowing of two retail marijuana shops to open in Lakewood will somehow stop the consuming of marijuana in Lakewood makes zero sense because those who want to consume marijuana simply will travel next door to Tacoma where they can purchase it before returning home to Lakewood.
Put another way, a portion of the sales revenues from the sale of marijuana in Tacoma that goes to Tacoma will go to Lakewood if Lakewood allows for the opening of two marijuana shops.
What’s wrong with more money in the City’s budget that funds many of the services you enjoy now?
While sensational falsehoods and half-truths fly fast and furious about retail marijuana shops in Lakewood, the truth is that these legal and highly regulated businesses will allow those who want to use marijuana to do so while at the same time adding revenue to the city’s budget.