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The 1980s called, they want their campaign slogan back

Thursday, Feb 8, 2018

* The Belleville News-Democrat asked area legislators and candidates about legalizing recreational marijuana. Here’s GOP state Senate candidate Jason Plummer

“The idea that recreational marijuana is an innocuous substance with no ill effects on personal or public health is false. When I talk to local law enforcement about the possibility of legalizing cannabis, they point out that where they find marijuana, more dangerous substances are very often present. Research backs up their experience that this drug is a gateway for young people who are now increasingly vulnerable to falling victim to opioid addiction.”

He added: “Marijuana stunts neurological development, damages the lungs, just as cigarettes do, and impairs drivers. Special interests see the potential for huge profits, and advocates for legalization of recreational marijuana see a short-term tax windfall as sufficient to justify allowing the spread of drugs throughout our communities, but I view this as a cynical position that carries a long-term cost to families, communities, employers, law enforcement and addicts themselves. I strongly oppose legalization for recreational purposes.”

Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Smithton) also called marijuana a “gateway drug,” as did his Republican opponent and two of Plummer’s Republican primary opponents.

* Former Rep. Dwight Kay didn’t use the term “gateway,” but he said it a different way

“I do not support it under any circumstances. It has nothing to do other than generate revenue in the state of Illinois with no contemplation of end result, which is addiction, and treatment for addiction and maybe the escalating addiction of marijuana to other drugs, which enhance the feeling or the effect of cannabis.”

Maybe they’re using the “gateway” argument because these candidates live so close to the Gateway Arch. I dunno.

* Anyway, I’ve always thought that for a small number of people, pot can be a gateway drug partly because they grow accustomed to breaking laws so they may start breaking other laws. Or they start hanging out with dealers and bad things start to happen in their own lives. Legalization would mean folks might hang out at the Walgreen’s.

From the National Institute on Drug Abuse

However, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, “harder” substances. Also, cross-sensitization is not unique to marijuana. Alcohol and nicotine also prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs52 and are, like marijuana, also typically used before a person progresses to other, more harmful substances.

It is important to note that other factors besides biological mechanisms, such as a person’s social environment, are also critical in a person’s risk for drug use. An alternative to the gateway-drug hypothesis is that people who are more vulnerable to drug-taking are simply more likely to start with readily available substances such as marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol, and their subsequent social interactions with others who use drugs increases their chances of trying other drugs. Further research is needed to explore this question.

And marijuana can help alleviate the opioid crisis, which is a big dealio down in the Metro East.

* But the grand prize goes to Rep. Charlie Meier’s GOP primary opponent Don Moore, who said: “I’m also not a proponent of looking for easy ways to raise tax dollars.”

He’d prefer difficult ways to raise taxes?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 1:55 pm:

    Are we to believe Plummer, Costello, etc. have never smoked pot? Was it a “gateway” for them?

  2. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    Pot. If they are speaking from personal testament, would that speak volumes?

  3. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:01 pm:

    When I was a door guard in a dorm at NIU many years ago, never thought I would have to physically restrain someone who had smoked some herb.. Can’t say that about the drunks.

    Come on, there are better arguments than gateway drug at this point. Use your brain and use them

  4. - Actual Red - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    How long until candidates start warning us about reefer madness?

  5. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    I think these guys are too close to St. Louis, the Gateway to the West.

    Marijuana is the gateway to snacks. The state should not only legalize and tax recreational marijuana, it should create a 1% junk food sales tax too.


  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    I agree with Jason Plummer

  7. - Duuuude - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    Not surprised that Plummer is parroting AG Jeff Sessions’ talking points, but what’s up with Costello? Pot is NOT a gateway to opioid use; OPIOIDS are the gateway to opioid use.

  8. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:09 pm:

    I would like to see some stats regarding increased automotive accidents, from Colorado. Did they go up or stay the same after the state went legal. I have no problem with medical use or to help with opioid and other issues.

  9. - AndyIllini - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:10 pm:

    I would probably vote for legalization, and the gateway claim is dubious.

  10. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    Duuuuude. Jerry’s disrict is crimson. Not red. Politics.

  11. - Stark - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    Anonymous at 2:04 - Of course they’re anonymous. Do you also support the prohibition of alcohol since it also stunts brain growth and the ability to operate vehicles? Didn’t think so.

  12. - AndyIllini - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:13 pm:

    Hit enter too early…

    If vote yes for legalizing and don’t like the gateway claim. But Plummber isn’t off base in terms of impaired driving and neurological development in adolescents. I don’t like it when legalization proponents pretend there are NO cons of legalization. There are, it’s just that there are also pros to it and the current policy has failed.

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    The gateway to opioid addiction is an MD’s script and a Walgreens.

    Once you can’t get another script, you start scoring Oxy, heroin and fentanyl in the street.

    What sheltered lives those politicians down there must live. Or they’re just cynical hacks, piously playing to the reefer-madness crowd.

    Why weren’t they making citizens’ arrests when Willie played the Metro East?

  14. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    Someone should send Jason the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham. The message may go over his head, but at least it would be at his reading level.

  15. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:14 pm:

    I’ll accept Jason’s argument if he can name ONE person who is a marijuana addict.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    The thought of state Senator Jason Plummer and remarks like this only make his run here more enjoyable.

    ===Research backs up their experience that this drug is a gateway for young people who are now increasingly vulnerable to falling victim to…===

    “We got trouble… right here in Plummer City… with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for pot… oh, we got trouble… “

  17. - Rufus - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    Plummer, Costello,Kay live in fantasy world where facts are not significant, their arguments only serve to promote falsehoods and hysteria. When is the last time you saw two stoned people get into a fight. Alcohol is a far,far worst drug than marijuana. What idiots.

  18. - Just Observing - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    I’m a big supporter of full-out legalization of marijuana — that said, I do believe it to be, among some, a gateway drug — the same way alcohol and nicotine and prescription drugs can be gateway drugs. People that do coke or heroin, I would venture to guess, always try pot first and progress to harder drugs. But, it’s not like pot isn’t readily available legal or not, so I don’t think criminalization of pot really prevents anyone from progressing to harder stuff.

  19. - I’m famous too - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    Part of the Metro East’s problem is there is no strict monitoring of opioids in MO. So Illinois residents can find a dr & pharmacy in MO, insurance will pay for the opioid and that information is not in the IL PMP database and their Illinois physican is not aware of the MO prescription.

    For those that become addicted to opioids, you need to make sure the addiction is properly addressed, if not the most likely they will become addicted to cannabis.

    In order to address the entire opioid crisis, we need to address what is causing an individual to have pain. When the cause of the pain is determined/addressed, then a person’s need for opioids will most likely be reduced.

    Also, addiction is addiction- it can be food, sugar, alcohol, cannabis, opioids, gambling, shopping, etc. Unless the underlying cause of addiction is addressed, the addictive behavior will always be there and a new addiction can be formed.

  20. - Al - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:29 pm:

    One wonders whether they will become better informed and change/moderate their positions and/or walk back these statements after the crazy (aka primary) season is over?

  21. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:32 pm:

    Retired Educator, here is the info from the Colorado State Patrol. Crashes due to DUIs, 2011:546, 2012:506, 2013:480, 2014:513. Recreational marijuana use was legalized in 2012..

  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:32 pm:

    These opponents to legalization are the true dangerous people who seem to be compicit with the murderers and drug cartels profiting off of this prohibition of cannabis which is senseless. Our children will be safer if it was regulated and taxed period and those who claim different are fools or brainwashed as it is marginally much much easier to obtain cannabis when it’s illegal and prohibited than if it was regulated like alcohol period. Re-schedule tax and regulate.

  23. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    I’d be willing to bet a substantial number of alcoholics started with beer. “Gateway” is such a lame argument.

  24. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    I’m guessing everyone was paranoid in 2012, mellow and listening to music in 2013,and driving to Taco Bell in 2014.

  25. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    Anony. I feel maryjeewanna should and will be legalized in time, but there are times I totally understand where opponents to legalization come from. Working with heroin overdose victims periodically, and listeneing to their stories, I gotta tell you, many of them point to pot. This isnt science. I understand. But most opposition folks are good at heart.

  26. - anon2 - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:50 pm:

    All but a handful of GOP legislators voted against the restrictive medical marijuana bill. So it should be no surprise they are reactionary on this issue.

    As far as DUI data from Colorado, marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 66% in the four-year average (2013-2016) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the four-year average prior to legalization. During the same period, all traffic deaths increased 16%. Source: A report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Trafficking Area

  27. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    Yeah, except you can’t really argue with any intellectual honestly that inhaling the byproduct of something you lit on fire isn’t harmful; enough good science exists to demonstrate that it is indeed bad for your lungs, to say the least. Not to mention that it is pretty irresponsible to counter the impaired driver issue (a very legitimate concern) with “well, how can we really KNOW how high is too high to be driving?”

    Also, you ever smoke a bunch of weed and then try to quit? Tell me that ish isn’t addicting.

    All that said: legalize, regulate, tax, set clear standard for impairment, and punish accordingly.

  28. - anon2 - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    Here’s a question for GOP legislators to consider: Are States that legalize marijuana like sanctuary cities and States in defying federal law? If States are free to pick and choose which federal laws they want to ignore when it comes to marijuana, then why not immigration? On the other hand, if the rule of law matters in one case, then it matters in the other.

  29. - Retired Educator - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    Big Bad Wolf; Thank you for the stats. I appreciate the effort. I don’t see a large surge, so my question is answered.

  30. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:34 pm:

    News Flash to the radical right GOP politicians in our state: Cannabis has been here for thousands of years. It is already consumed regularly in our state. It is safer for everyone in a controlled, legalized marketplace.

  31. - Collinsville Kevin - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    The ignorance of DINO Jerry Costello never ceases to amaze.

  32. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===Also, you ever smoke a bunch of weed and then try to quit? Tell me that ish isn’t addicting.===

    More reefer madness. Alcohol is more addictive then cannabis. So based upon that logic, did you ever see someone drink wine and not become an alcoholic?

  33. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:42 pm:

    Illinois Resident/Collinsville Kevin. If you think only the radical right is in the oppo group, you are sadly,sadly mistaken.

  34. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    ===Yeah, except you can’t really argue with any intellectual honestly that inhaling the byproduct of something you lit on fire isn’t harmful===

    Yeah, except you have no evidence of that with cannabis. Also, people vape it and eat it. In a legalized marketplace, there would be a lot of ways to consume it in a healthier fashion.

  35. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    IR, yes, there are people who drink wine and then find it difficult—from “sorta” to “very, very”—to all of a sudden stop drinking wine. They’re referred to as addicts. Not sure how booze being addictive has anything to do with weed being addictive, but…

  36. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    ===Illinois Resident/Collinsville Kevin. If you think only the radical right is in the oppo group, you are sadly,sadly mistaken.===

    BDD - See the Paul Simon poll. 64% of people in our state want legalization. You are in the minority.

  37. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    ===IR, yes, there are people who drink wine and then find it difficult—from “sorta” to “very, very”—to all of a sudden stop drinking wine. They’re referred to as addicts. Not sure how booze being addictive has anything to do with weed being addictive, but…===

    So lets outlaw wine then for everyone because some people may become addicted to it. Also sugar as well and fast food.

  38. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:49 pm:


    Yeah, ‘cept I do.

    WRT vaping, all we really know is that… we don’t know much about it. Could be safer, could not be. Evidence just isn’t there at this point. And some people eat edibles, sure… but many don’t.

    Team Legalize It just needs to accept these bad parts of weed, and argue it should be legalized cause ‘Murcia.

  39. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    ASEG - There are a lot of things that are potentially unhealthy. Eating cheeseburgers every meal is unhealthy. Should we outlaw cheeseburgers?
    Typically moderation is the key.

  40. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    Comments like that make me suspect you didn’t really read my OP.

  41. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    –Illinois Resident/Collinsville Kevin. If you think only the radical right is in the oppo group, you are sadly,sadly mistaken.–

    No, there’s the willfully ignorant and those afraid of any kind of change at all.

    Enjoy your opioid epidemic and meth labs down there.

  42. - RIJ - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    The more addictive the substance, the worse withdrawal is. Withdrawal from marijuana cannot kill you. At worst, if you are a heavy user, you are irritable for a few days. A hangover from a single night of drinking is technically withdrawal. It is the physical need of the body for more alcohol. An alcoholic or someone addicted to opioids or heroin or the like can die from full withdrawal symptoms. My wife is a therapist, and she sees alcohol as being the worst drug by far in terms of numbers of people’s lives destroyed.

  43. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    Anony. Maybe you should read my earlier comments.

  44. - frisbee - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    How do conservative lawmakers who favor minimal government intrusion into our lives continue to bark this nonsense about keeping a plant illegal? The GOP should be for legalizing the ganja and keeping the business regulations to a minimum but of course they and their donors gotta fall back on the morality of intoxicating substances being bad. Costello is still pandering to his law enforcement days/friends but the “true conservatives” are the ones who really need to support legalization. Jobs, needed tax revenue, consistency in the law and flat out learning the lesson of the Noble experiment are all reasons to end another failed prohibition.

    When NIDA data is refutes your prohibitionist claims you are losing.

  45. - Illinois Resident - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    ===Comments like that make me suspect you didn’t really read my OP.===

    I read it. And you saying that everyone who smokes cannabis gets addicted is ridicules. You can’t OD on cannabis. I know a lot of people have been brainwashed, but I believe in freedom.

  46. - A State Employee Guy - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:09 pm:

    Facepalm emoji.

  47. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:12 pm:

    Word. Just an fyi. I am a mostly free choice libertarian. Thats why me mrs blue spat over abortion periodically. That is ahy I support legalization. To tell someone that they are ignorant that has had a heroine addict die in their arms and listen to countless addicts speak, well maybe your the ignorant one. Most people that volunteer for these weekend shifts do it for love not pokitical gain.

  48. - Techie - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:13 pm:

    Smh…it’s really sad to hear people talk about cannabis when they know so little about it. Quite contrary to making the opioid epidemic worse, legalizing cannabis would help addicts wean themselves off opioids.

    CBD, a particularly beneficial cannabinoid, is non-psychoactive yet is very effective as relieving pain. It is non-habit-forming, and has virtually no negative side effects.

    The more doctors are learning about the endocannabinoid system, the more amazing we are finding it to be.

  49. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    BDD, if you support marijuana legalization than what’s your point about heroin addiction?

    I’m not seeing how this issue become about you, anyway.

  50. - Ste_with_a_ven - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:17 pm:

    Don’t trust the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Trafficking Area reports.

  51. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:37 pm:

    Wordy, its not. I am trying to defend those who oppose marryjeewanna legalization because of the gstewsy effect. I know many drug coalitions who help heroine addicts. I have heard litetally hundreds of experiences. I can understand how others can think this way. Most are just trying to help. I can’t call them ignorant.

  52. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:50 pm:

    – I am trying to defend those who oppose marryjeewanna legalization because of the gstewsy effect.–

    And if you and others choose not to see the clear evidence that the gateway of the opioid epidemic and overdose deaths — whether from Oxy, or street heroin or fentanyl — was the quadrupling of legal opioid scripts written by docs, then that’s willful ignorance.

    You don’t get points for that in the middle of an epidemic.

  53. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:55 pm:

    BDM, marijuana is not heroin. The gateway argument is based on ignorance. Cigarettes are a gateway drug.

    Keeping marijuana illegal forces otherwise law-abiding people to seek out criminals to sell them pot. Those same criminal pot dealers probably know other criminals who can sell cocaine, LSD, heroin, etc. The “gateway” they are referring to is the gateway to the black market for illegal drugs.

    If you legalize marijuana, then buyers can purchase it from legitimate sources who, because they have background checks and other regulation, are not selling ecstasy or mushrooms or meth.

    If you take marijuana out of the black market, you take away its “gateway” effect.

  54. - blue dog dem - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 4:57 pm:

    Wordy. The opiod effect is very troubling. The drug coalition I frequent has made this their number one priority. Not marryjeewanna. In fact we just scored huge advances with local hospitals, pharmacies and doctors. Look for this to be commonplace throughout the regards to opiod scripts. So just remember these folks you call ignorant don’t just get their facts from google. They are compassionate,well informed, experienced loving individuals.

  55. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 8, 18 @ 5:22 pm:

    I would definitely trust the state police over an antidrug group like Rocky Mountain High. For example how do they have stastics that the police don’t have, since the police are the only people who can arrest, give drug tests, etc? And how is it that DUI crashes are down, but DUI fatalities are up? Are all the stoned drivers bus drivers, killing 40 people each crash? Colorado’s population increased 10% since the census, one would expect a 10% increase in DUIs. According to Forbes, RMHIDTA are not above a little dishonesty.

  56. - Honeybear - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 7:09 am:

    What I think is revealing is that they admitted what this is really about was preventing new revenue streams.

    Squeeze the beast at all costs
    We can’t have anything
    Helping the finances of the state

  57. - anon2 - Friday, Feb 9, 18 @ 8:57 am:

    Granted that RMHIDTA has a point of view. But that does not automatically mean their numbers are fabricated about the increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths.

  58. - gdubya - Tuesday, Feb 13, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    I say….
    Better pass it before any neighboring states do. We’ll see an uptick in tourism if that happens. Only state east of the Mississippi to legalize.

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