Saturday, December 08, 2012

Stoners Stumble Across the ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’

The enlightened people in the states of Washington and Colorado pushed through their measures to legalize marijuana smoking in the last election, many euphoric over the electoral win and believing their choice of drug, once legalized, will be broadly accepted and they will no longer face consequences for smoking a joint when they so choose.

Since marijuana use is sill illegal under federal law, the question left unanswered for the time being is what will the feds do in the two states, now that they have decided to not follow federal law?

As of this posting, there is only speculation on what the feds may or may not do.

The states have one year to work our regulations concerning the use of marijuana, such detection standards if caught driving under the influence as well as standards to be used should such a case draw a user a citation and they appear in court.

While that was pretty much expected, one area it seems no one considered was the workplace, s seen in the AP article appearing in the Saturday Columbian, Employers vs. legal pot.

We read of a man who lost his job when a routine drug screening detected his use of marijuana, even though he uses for “medicinal” reasons and his addressing being terminated under the companies “drug free” policy in court.

In this day of “zero tolerance” wherever we look, we shouldn’t be surprised that someone loses their job is pot use is detected, even though “medicinal.” Workplaces have long strived to cut costs of health insurance, increase productivity and maintain a safe working environment for all and any level of impairment is no longer tolerated.

For me personally, I do realize that marijuana use by some afflicted with certain diseases or conditions does help the person. But by and large, we also know that most claims of “medicinal” use of pot are a real stretch, using that as a smokescreen to justify their use of the drug.

Many felt that the initiatives of the people to legalize the recreational use of drug would free them up and the realization that they are not immediately free to walk around or show up at work with it in their system is not being well accepted.

What they forgot in their haste is that marijuana does contain many of the same concentrates of toxins found in tobacco. Some varieties have even larger concentrations of the carcinogens used over the years to demonize tobacco and have it banned nearly everywhere in some communities.

In Washington State, initiative 901 was passed back in 2005, placing very strict prohibitions on smoking tobacco, banning it within 25 feet of opening windows and doors of businesses and homes and even banning it inside of private homes should the homeowner operate a child or adult daycare facility in that home.

The so-called “Clean Indoor Air Act” was passed overwhelmingly by a 63.25% to 36.75% margin.

Legalizing marijuana passed by a smaller 55.7% to 44.3% margin in Washington State.

Clearly, people show they are very concerned about second hand smoke and the claims of carcinogens on those nearby.

Subsequently, additional measures and bans have been imposed by localities on smoking tobacco and taxation to, as Vancouver city council member Jeanne Harris put it, to “change cultural behavior.”

Simply put, people do not want to be exposed to smoke.

Today’s AP article makes mention of the former employee not being shown to be “impaired” at work. But forgotten again is that it is not about being impaired, but about ingesting smoke and potential health hazards that drive up the cost of health insurance an employer must pay.

Comments supporting the legal use of marijuana are saying, “This is not about the right of old hippies and lazy stoners to light up. It's about the rights of responsible people to exercise basic human rights in their own homes,” “So now employers can tell us whether or not we can engage in a legal social activity while off duty?,” “Cannabis use and a safe work place have very little to do with each other” and “The blatant collusion between the insurance lobby and the federal government should have covered MANUFACTURED WHITE POWDERS, not a plant that grows in the ground.”

As to the last quoted comment, do they miss that tobacco also “grows in the ground?”

But where was all of this angst and opposition when employers announced that even off the job smoking of tobacco would be ground for termination? Where was their outcry when court challenges failed, courts siding with employers banning employees from smoking at any time?

Too many stoners raised their blinders in their quest to have their herb legalized without ever considering that their choice of smoke will inevitably fall under the same restrictions of smoke as tobacco.

Many pot smokers even sided with the bans on tobacco and now reality comes smacking them in the face.

They are now facing the uncertainty of although the two states have legalized marijuana use, where will they be allowed to use it without repercussion of some sort?

And just wait to see their reaction when they find out that ‘nickel bag’ ends up costing them maybe as high as $25 after legislators decide to reap revenues off of it.

It’s likely they too will become the subject of efforts to “change cultural behavior” by prohibitive taxation.

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