The innocuous plant Marijuana or, more precisely, its derivative substance THC, has been criminalized through an insidious effort which sets upon children myriad harms. Those responsible for the criminalization and those who support it stand to benefit financially from that status. How nice it would be to turn the tables on them and make their deliberate harm to children and others cost them financially. In this rationation I propose a method to do just that. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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Those who profit from criminalization may include testing labs, law enforcement officers, all court personnel, healthcare workers, attorneys, DCS workers, jailers, treatment centers, security companies, pharmaceutical companies, and gang members. Those involved in this scheme rationalize their behaviour through lies, misinformation, deceptions, and outright denial. In the following paragraphs I will logically tear these down and then tell you about what I am doing to combat these insidious actors.
THE GATEWAY MYTH
Although he routinely violated the rules of criminal procedure I enjoyed watching Perry Mason present a surprise witness or reveal exculpatory evidence during trial which ultimately led to the acquittal of his client. Similarly, I like to present the gateway drug argument in a slightly surreptitious way. When speaking of psychotropic gateway drugs my layman forensics sparing partners and I are usually in agreement that alcohol and nicotine are such drugs. Then I will throw out there that they have likely introduced their children to mood affective drugs by giving them a psychotropic gateway drug, or maybe that their parents did this to them. Generally, they object to this proposition until I mention that caffeine is the most commonly pushed psychotropic gateway drug.
The support for labeling caffeine as the psychotropic gateway drug is growing as the ability to deny this truth is waning. According to DSM-IV's definition caffeine can Induce dependence. Patients with schizophrenia have high rates of consumption of this substance which they use to relieve dysphoria[fn1]. Adolescents using caffeine are more likely to use or abuse stronger psychotropic drugs, such as cocaine, as adults[fn2]. I have interviewed numerous users of scheduled narcotics, often in prison, and made two deductions. This being that many of them have compulsive behaviours and all had been users of caffeine prior to their illicit drug use. Thus, it appears that users and abusers of cocaine and similar drugs were put on that path through the introduction of caffeine, often by parents.
SUFFER THE CHILDREN
For over 10 years I have counseled parents engaged in child custody disputes. During that time I have been able to witness the direct impact upon children by the removal of a parent from their lives. I am well read on the literature and have done my own interviews of children across a range of ages about the impact of parental absence. Additionally, I have done in-home observations and interviews of parents who are marijuana users. From all of this I have been able to make some generally applicable conclusions that you have likely witnessed yourself and know from an intuitive sense. In short, children need their parents.
There are numerous ways in which marijuana criminalization removes parents from children. The most direct is when a parent is arrested and incarcerated. There is also the involvement of the Department of Child Services who may decide that parents' use of marijuana jeopardizes the welfare of the child and thus removes the child from the home.
Indirect ways include a previously stay-at-home parent entering the workforce to compensate for the loss of income of an arrested parent. The child effectively looses both parents. When a parent losses employment based solely upon a marijuana screen that parent may then have to work greater hours to achieve the same compensation. This may also reduce time with the child. The parent may not be able to find employment or earnings at the previous rate which may subject the child to living in poverty. These types of upheavals in daily life can lead to difficulties with mental well-being and produce heightened irritability in affected parents.
An interesting aspect of marijuana use that I have observed in users is a calming effect. Thus, parents experience reduced hostility in situations which otherwise may result in an abusive action against a child. This is the opposite effect of alcohol where I have witnessed users become more hostile and abusive while subject to its effects. Marijuana use by parents may reduce neglect or abuse of children while the criminalization clearly has numerous deleterious effects on the well-being of children.
CREATING CRIMES AND FUNDING GANGS
The illicit marijuana trade is a beautiful market. Participants in this market apply the supply and demand dynamics to effectuate the free market price within the confines of artificially elevated range produced by government regulation. Due to the government regulation of marijuana, specifically criminalization of production, distribution, and possession, the product supply and distribution conduits are diminished while market demand is elevated which produces the artificially elevated prices.
The desire for on-demand delivery is substantially increased because possession itself is unlawful and end users want to be in possession of the product for as little time as possible. The production facilities are also limited due to the prospect of incarceration for the producers. Often facilities are located a great distance from end users which requires additional distribution personnel and expense. The pool of distributors is likewise reduced due to the threat of incarceration for periods much greater than for those of possession. All of these factors unite to artificially inflate a price for an herb, that would otherwise be priced about the same as parsley, to a factor many times higher.
This opportunity for huge profits to be made on the spread between plant growing costs and end user price has not gone unnoticed by numerous entrepreneurs. The most formidable of these have been the large drug gangs or cartels which are organizations comprised of individual members of this competitive market who are bound together by an unlawful non-compete agreement[fn3].
Drug gangs may use physical force to reduce or eliminate competition from non-members or other gangs within a protected territory. This is for the purpose of controlling supply distribution to keep prices high. When gang members engage competing gang members or individuals over territorial violations they often do so with deadly consequences. These battles may take place at the immediate location of distribution which result in harm or death to innocent bystanders. Additionally, disputes between buyers and sellers may result in violent actions affecting innocent bystanders.
This harm to the innocents is the direct result of the criminalization of marijuana. HERE I provide the mathematical equation that demonstrates how this harm was deliberately caused by those who prefer criminalization of marijuana. It is this phase which also produces another realm of profiteers. The MHPs who may treat the anxiety of residents affected by this street fighting. The pharmaceutical company who sell the drugs to treat anxiety. The security companies who may provide electronic or personal monitoring of property. The manufacturers who produce the hardware to protect against uninvited entry. The healthcare workers who treat the injured. People from all of these domains can be heard to rationalize support for marijuana criminalization in one way or another. But what they are really saying is I make a living this way and I don't want it to change. It is therefore up to those of us who value the lives of children and other innocents over their greed to force the change.
MY FINANCIAL ACTIONS
I have watched with interest and provided testimony and numerous reports to our legislature relating to the rights of individuals regarding sexual preferences and the legislation associated with such. It is from the effective measures used by the LGBTQ community that I have gleaned some ideas applicable to marijuana decriminalization.
So what am I doing financially to combat those forces who seek to harm children through marijuana criminalization? My first mode of attack is to boycott businesses who have a policy of dismissing employees who test positive for marijuana but not firing those who are positive for alcohol, nicotine or caffeine. They are clearly discriminating against people who choose a particular dopamine activator over another solely based upon a social parameter and not performance based observations. It is only slightly tedious to check websites or call and ask. I would like for someone to compose and publish a list of those nationally who engage in this discriminatory practice. If you know of one that exists please send a link to me.
The second thing I do is to financially reward those who have been punished by this insidious scheme or those who seek to end it. When I list something for sale such as my Craig's List postings I include the following message. "20% DISCOUNT if you provide a copy of your abstract of conviction for any marijuana related offense or a letter from a legislator acknowledging your support of ending marijuana criminalization. Just give it to me as you would cash." Similarly, I do the same for the various professional services I offer.
This is a way of hitting those who support marijuana criminalization financially which for them is what counts the most. I would like to see more individuals and businesses offering a similar financial incentive for those who have been the victims of unwarranted persecution by the profiteers or those who wish to end the discrimination. The windows of businesses should display messages about discounts to those convicted of marijuana offenses or decriminalization activists much the same as discounts are offered to senior citizens.
If you agree that this is a good approach to combating those who deliberately inflict harm through marijuana criminalization then please consider doing the same as I have done and also share this idea with others.
1] Fowler IL., Carr VJ., Carter NT., Lewin TJ. Patterns of current and lifetime substance use in schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull.1998;24:443–455.
2] Wenk, Garl L. Ph.D., "Caffeine is a gateway drug to cocaine", Psychology Today, psychologytoday. com, February 13, 2015, retrieved 17 Ma7 2017.
3] The Sherman anti-Trust Act of 1890 "Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony . . . " 15 U.S.C. § 2
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