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Thursday, December 6, 2012

CO, WA: Calling all Stoner Surgeons

Periodically I participate in discussions on how technology and changing law affects the music industry.

For example, at least in the state where I live there has been a lot of emphasis on reducing drunk driving, i.e., police issuing more DUI citations.

Naturally this impacts bars and clubs and also what those bars and clubs do with music.

Similarly I have written in the past about ASCAP which attempts to force bars to pay royalties on live music, DJ's and karaoke.

More interesting is are the recent developments of Facebook, pot legalization and so on.

One wonders what the legalization of pot will do for the future of both the live music and bar/club industry.

For example, will the fact that marijuana is now "personally legal" in some states impact liquor sales?

I think the answer has to be yes for a couple of reasons.

One is that over the last few decades there has been an enormous effort to push children away from alcohol.

However, what's been missing is the effort to do anything about the replacements the kids decide to use instead.  Pot being a primary one.

The days of kids riding around in cars with six packs of beer are diminishing because the penalty for underage and vehicle operation under the influence are now quite severe even for first time offenders.

However, unlike alcohol which is fairly easy to detect, i.e., smell on ones breath, pot is less obvious.

When my own children were young perhaps fifteen years ago it was obvious then that alcohol was on the way out.  Pot was just as easy, if not easier to get, that alcohol as well.

Another interesting tidbit of information I see quite frequently is the anecdotal "factoid" that no one ever does anything bad while smoking pot - no murders, no rapes, no deaths.

In fact, at least according to this site, we would all be better off with marijuana.  Less cancer, less death, less violence, less sickness, and on and on.

Interesting - sounds too good to be true...

And perhaps it is.

Here, for example, is a study that the summary says "Consistent marijuana use (OR = 1.85, p < .05) was related to an increased risk of intimate partner violence perpetration. Adolescent marijuana use, particularly consistent use throughout adolescence, is associated with perpetration or both perpetration of and victimization by intimate partner violence in early adulthood." [ underline mine ]

So kiddies that spend a lot of time smoking pot tend to beat or victimize their significant other more frequently that those who don't.

Perhaps its not as harmless as it seems.

One simple issue is that even I, a non smoker, cannot easily tell if someone has been smoking pot recently.

So if I can't how is someone in law enforcement going to know?  If there is no obvious evidence in, say, a spousal abuse case, why would they ask and why would suspects freely confess use?

They wouldn't in either case.

So perhaps no one is collecting useful statistics on this.

And our friends that promote pot are simply tacking advantage of the ignorance and lack of data.

Legalizing something that impairs people also causes other problems.

For example, car accidents or surgery.

Do you want the "stoner surgeon" to fix your broken wrist?

Do you want the "stoner bus driver" hauling the kiddies to school?

Most, I am sure, would say no.

But, at least with alcohol, someone can probably tell that old bus driver Bob is drinking.  Not so obvious with pot.

So when there's an accident the cops may not think to check for pot if it isn't obvious the accident was caused by impairment.

I think that times are going to change at least in Washington and Colorado as this comes into effect.

My prediction is that eventually there will be a "realization" that being stoned on pot is not as safe as all the "pot promoters" say it is today.

Once there is a realization there will be reliable data collected.

And only then will we see what the real issues are...

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