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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Shape of Things to Come - by Citizen Jay

     Do you have kids?  Or a baby or a toddler?  Know anybody who does?  [Full disclosure: I AM a parent.]  Here’s something for you to consider.  Let’s say that said kiddo accidentally crawls into the laundry room unnoticed where it just so happens the cat box lives.  What do you think will happen?  What do you think that kid will do?  You know what that kid will do…  And it ain’t pretty…mmmMMMmmm… 

     No it isn’t pretty.  In fact it looks like shit.  Literally, that cat poo looks just like any old shit.  And yet, it is still quite the attractive nuisance to that young inquisitive mind, who just can’t resist putting the thing into its mouth (poo-dites?).  It’s quite a dilemma …inducing abject disgust and nausea.  We should outlaw cat poo.  Or at least regulate the hell out of it.  For the safety of our children, of course.  

     Patently absurd, yes?  And yet that is the mentality most prohibitionists have when discussing how to “protect” our kids from Cannabis.  But where cat poo might actually harm your child, Cannabis is completely NON-TOXIC.  No one has ever died from ingesting Cannabis--EVER.  The same cannot be said for cat poo (Toxoplasmosis anyone?).

     Prohibitionists always look for ways to demonize that which they are trying to prohibit.  It makes it much easier to convince others of the “correctness” of their position if they can point to the “evils” done by said prohibitive substance.  They’d have an easy time with cat poo too.  But times have changed and the prohibitionists are finding it more and more difficult to demonize the healing Canna. 

     Still they try.  One of the most potent arguments they have at their disposal is to point to the increase in the number of children that have been admitted to ER facilities over the past couple of years in Colorado since legalization took effect.  They LOVE that statistic because it seems so dramatic.  The stats show that the number of child-Cannabis-ER-incidents rose by a whopping 37% from 2009-2014!  That seems HUGE until you look at the actual number of kids they’re talking about.  In 2014 the number was 70 in the entire state of Colorado.  The hospitals say almost all of them had eaten some form of either homemade or store bought medicated “brownies” or “cookies.”  While they can’t say that any of those kids died, they sure love to suggest that one could at any time… though there’s no evidence to support that supposition.

     And that’s the thing.  It’s just fear mongering for the sake of bolstering their precarious position.  Because they can’t do anything else…they’re stuck in that prohibitive mind set.  They’ve dug their heels in too deep.  As a result, they’re having to constantly pull the wool so thinly across our eyes just to try and get us to even listen.  So thin, in fact, that we’ve begun to see right through it.

     Recently, new legislation passed in Colorado’s State House that is designed to significantly change the way parents are able to better care for their kids.  At least that’s the intention behind the new rules governing the shapes available to Cannabis edibles manufactures.  The new rules exclude the use of animal or human-shaped molds for Cannabis products.  No more gummy bears or sour patch kids.

     That’s their fantastic idea.  But they didn’t come up with it in a vacuum.  It turns out the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce proposed this notion months ago.  It was a proactive campaign geared towards showing legislators just how well the Cannabis Industry is able to regulate itself.  The CCCC held a press conference in February to announce these self-imposed changes to a small group of reporters, myself included.  They and their members would no longer use these types of shapes.  The story didn’t get much traction at the time. 

     Edibles come in many different shapes and sizes.  They’re made from different ingredients and can take any number of forms.  While our legislators are proud of themselves for making this particular distinction for the sake of faulty prohibitionist argumentation, the outcomes won’t really make a difference.  Because, sure kids like animal and people-shaped objects.  But there are so many other attractive shapes that can be utilized: stars, crosses, flowers, a dodecahedron… even cat poo.

     The argument, “what about the children” is moot when it comes to Cannabis prohibition.  Mainly, because over the last 80 years or so it hasn’t worked in the least to keep Cannabis out of the hands of our youth.  What’s more, unregulated Cannabis is sold on the Underground Market by unscrupulous dealers who don’t think twice about upselling their customers to harder, more expensive drugs.  National statistic show that Cannabis use by teens is and has been on the downswing since the 1980s. 

     In those states that have legalized Cannabis, statistics show that same decline— even though those numbers are higher to begin with. 

     Young kids getting their hands on Cannabis edibles is a challenge.  Cannabis is non-toxic, yet there are still uncertainties.  When an infant or toddler ingests Cannabis accidentally, I have to ask where those parents were at the time.  Yes, accidents happen.  But how is it the responsibility of edibles manufacturers to ensure what happens in your own house?   If young kids are getting Cannabis it’s because their parents aren’t being responsible with it.  Changing the shape of edibles isn’t going to effect that.

     What about the children?  “The kids are alright…” it’s their parents we need to educate.  If the prohibitionists really cared about keeping Cannabis out of the hands of kids then they’d help us legalize it and take it out of the hands of ruthless dealers.  If we put Cannabis into the hands of regulated business owner’s, kids will have less access to it.  Period.

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