* 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?