For free entertainment, head for the downtown library to listen to Sean Paige, Tom Gallagher, Mark Waller, and Dan May square off in passionate debate at 7:00 p.m.
The subject:Marijuana dispensaries.
You betcha! … as my favorite politician/opportunist/former governor of a thinly populated state might say.
For those of us still rooted in an earlier America, where dope was dope, the law was the law, dealers were criminals, and medicine was something you bought in pharmacies, the swift evolution of marijuana from scourge to panacea has been…interesting.
People, this is Colorado Springs, not Berkeley, not Boulder, not Key West, not San Francisco. Our sobersided elected officials don’t waste their evenings talking about marijuana – they don’t know what it looks like, what it smells like, or what it might do to their tidy minds. If ever there was a song for Springs politicians, it might be this ancient schoolboy chant:
“Rooty toot-toot! Rooty toot-toot !
We are the boys from the Institute.
We don’t drink or smoke or chew,
And we don’t go out with girls that do!”
As a grizzled veteran of the 60’s (not to mention the 50’s and the 40’s), it’s hard to take this stuff seriously. Is it really happening? Or am I in a medically-induced coma in a nursing home?
Sean Paige’s position on dispensaries is simple: regulate.
May’s and Waller’s: eradicate.
In a typically well-reasoned blog post, Paige noted that banning dispensaries will not affect the demand for medical marijuana.
That may be, but let’s be realistic. More than 100,000 residents of our fair state have applied for marijuana cards, enabling them to buy legal dope. If you believe that all of these folks suffer from medical conditions that can only be alleviated by a toke or two of the demon weed, then I’d like to talk to you about some Florida investment bargains.
Chatting with a dispensary owner the other day, I was amazed at his unctuous tone. Rather than cackling at the torrents of cash flowing into his business, he affected the grave manner of a mortician or an oncologist.
“It’s so wonderful to see the patients respond to the medicine,” he said, “and to be able to provide them with the exact variety they need for their condition.”
The language, the message – it was exactly that of 19th century purveyors of patent medicines.
Such nostrums purported to cure illness, to promote health, to heal the nervous system, and to bring light to darkness. Compounded by canny chemists who knew that “tincture of opium” would keep the customers coming back for more, these drugs armored our great-grandparents against the aches and pains of an earlier time.
Medicine may have made enormous strides since then, but we still love our organic remedies, our herbal concoctions, and our natural medicines. Of course, we’re opposed to mind-altering illegal recreational drugs!
As today’s ganjapreneurs have discovered, it’s all about marketing. Change the debate-it’s not a drug, but a medicine. They’re not criminals, dealing in a romantic and illicit substance, but healers helping those who suffer unnecessarily.
So expect the debate tonight to be all about patients, tax revenue, vibrant new businesses, and individual rights. Expect Messrs. Waller and May to be as baffled and bemused by it all as I was back in the 60’s, when I was the only straight person at a stoner party.
I left, not without feeling a little envious.
They looked as if they were having fun.