If we have a national epidemic of opioid abuse, why create another with pot?

There are times when I sense America is confused. I don’t understand a culture that wants to pursue courses of action and policies detrimental to its very existence. How could anyone stand by an insidious declaration such as “sanctuary cities and states” and attempt to defend such an absurd proclamation? Either we’re a sovereign nation of laws or we’re not. Here in Texas we have a special legislative session over what is termed a “bathroom bill.” It’s amazing to me that we have special interests targeting the state of Texas, when they should have been asking, what place is it for the federal government to direct who goes to what bathroom…and how they will withhold federal funds without compliance? So, cities and states can disregard the rule of law on immigration but they cannot determine, within their states via the concept of federalism, who goes to what bathroom?

The federal government tells the states who can get married, and demand their obedience…while there are states who deny a constitutional right, the right to bear arms, to citizens.

I mean, just strip away the foolish emotions and ponder these issues on principle. If you did, you’d see we’re really confused as a nation — well, some folks are.

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And so it goes that I’ve found another instance of hypocrisy and confusion, which I will share.

As written in the USA Today opinion page“Last week, Senator Cory Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Act in an effort to legalize marijuana across the nation and penalize local communities that want nothing to do with this dangerous drug.

This is the furthest reaching marijuana legalization effort to date and marks another sad moment in our nation’s embrace of a drug that will have generational consequences. Our country is facing a drug epidemic. Legalizing recreational marijuana will do nothing that Senator Booker expects. We heard many of these same promises in 2012 when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. In the years since, Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits.

The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption. In 2012, we were promised funds from marijuana taxes would benefit our communities, particularly schools. Dr. Harry Bull, the Superintendent of Cherry Creek Schools, one of the largest school districts in the state, said, “So far, the only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”

In fiscal year 2016, marijuana tax revenue resulted in $156,701,018. The total tax revenue for Colorado was $13,327,123,798, making marijuana only 1.18 percent of the state’s total tax revenue. The cost of marijuana legalization in public awareness campaigns, law enforcement, healthcare treatment, addiction recovery, and preventative work is an unknown cost to date.

Ok, here is my issue, why are we worried about an opioid epidemic and wanting to throw $45 million worth of taxpayer funds at the problem, if we want national legalization of marijuana? After all, we say the war on drugs is a waste, a failure, so why try and stop the opioid epidemic?

If people want to take drugs, then should we just let them. Let them take responsibility and suffer the consequences of their own personal decision. Someone in America is confused, the question is, who is it?

I’ve never smoked, consumed alcohol, or partaken in drug usage. So perhaps my analysis may not be the best, however, I’m one of those taxpayers asked to provide resources for more drug abuse programs. I don’t mind doing so if we’re seeking to help people struggling with substance abuse. But, if we’re slowly descending towards being like an Amsterdam — nah, I ain’t down with that.

The problem I see is that Senator Booker wants to drug up our American youth, and then turn them into substance abused dependents on the federal government. I’ve always prayed over our two daughters that they would never fall into the abyss of drug or alcohol abuse. So, at this critical time, why would Senator Cory Booker introduce a piece of legislation that promotes increased drug abuse, as the opinion piece writer presents?

As well, consider this, if we have a national legalization of marijuana, how many young people will that affect for service in our military. Unless we’re so confused as a nation that we’ll rescind that condition for service in our military?

We must reconcile ourselves with a simple concept: personal responsibility. If we’re going to have a nationalization of marijuana use, it’s incongruent with our concerns about the opioid epidemic. As the writer stated, the promises Coloradans heard about legalizing marijuana have not come to fruition. As a matter of fact, it’s another example of a drug disaster an epidemic.

We cannot be so delusional as to believe we can fight a certain type of drug epidemic while encouraging another. The issue is that with individual liberty comes individual responsibility — unless we’re too confused to understand that concept as well. We cannot determine that we want legalized drug use of a certain type, but then we make the government responsible for the drug usage. If we legalize drug usage, then the consequences are on the individual, after all, they made that decision. I do agree with this: we don’t need doctors who are over prescribing pain killers to Americans and making them addicts. That’s something we can stem. But can we regulate individual behavior? And let me share with you, I don’t like drunk drivers either, as they endanger others as their state of mind is altered with that substance as well.

Yes, I am compassionate, but I am also a logical and rational person, and I cannot fathom how we can say we have a national drug crisis an epidemic, yet we have an elected official who wants to create another one. Someone here is confused. Either it’s the people we elect, or the people electing them.

[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]

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