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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Dayton: Avoiding The "Weeds" -- For Now

Category: Society
Posted: 12/07/12 16:03

by Dave Mindeman

Governor Dayton made it clear that he doesn't want to wade into the "weeds" as it were, about legalization of marijuana.

A lot of people are still entrenched with marijuana's symbolism with the 1960's counter culture. Marijuana was actually the "safe" drug of that time period and still gets a bad rap when lumped in with LSD and the like.

As a pharmacist, I have tried to evaluate marijuana in a professional sense...and I have yet to see a credible study that proves marijuana is any more dangerous (and probably less dangerous) than alcohol.

Marijuana can impair your judgment and needs the same curbs for operating machinery that alcohol has been given. But there is little evidence of any sordid addictions or toxic side effects.

The benefits to its use, medically, are growing. And more research needs to be done. We have a track record of use (even if it is still illegal) that belies any permanent problems with regular use.

Its critics have always had the, equally unprovable or disprovable, fall back position that marijuana is a "gateway" drug to harder addictive substances. However, I tend to maintain that any "gateway" problem with marijuana stems from the fact that it is still illegal and forced to be obtained via the darker side of drug commerce.

If legal and with safe production practices, marijuana could become a useful commodity for health related purposes, as well as recreational usage. And as a commodity, could lead to a number of entrepreneurial endeavors and business growth.

More states are listening to its citizens on this issue and changing the archaic laws that are geared to outmoded perceptions.

Minnesota needs a broader discussion. I understand Governor Dayton's reluctance to deal with this now - we have a lot more pressing tasks.

But legalized marijuana will happen one day....everywhere.
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