On the EDge: Anti-Prop 2 hysteria based on fear and lies

Stock image, St. George News

OPINION — When the governor announced a so-called compromise to Proposition 2, one of the things both sides promised was a rollback in campaign advertising.

It has not held, particularly from those opposed to the proposition who continue with fallacious attacks, which I’ve seen repeatedly while here in Southern Utah.

The anti-Prop 2 commercial making the rounds on television could not be further from the truth.

According to the breathy rhetoric, if the ballot measure passes, you can count on pot shops on every corner. People would be walking around with 200 cannabis joints in their pocket. Cannabis would be made available to all on a recreational basis. Kids would be targeted for sales. Your neighbors would be growing weed just over the backyard fence and we’d all be going to hell in a handbasket.

The producers of that commercial are banking on the fact that people are either too lazy or stupid to do their own research or that they take the advice of religious leaders or politicians intent on imposing their personal will and uninformed opinions on all of us.

If you have any doubts, please read the measure.

It clearly states that cannabis production facilities and dispensaries may not be located within 600 feet of a school, church, library, playground, park or within 300 feet of an area zoned exclusively for residential use.

Sales will only be authorized to those older than 18, or with the approval of a parent or guardian, with a doctor’s recommendation. Your kids won’t be able to walk into a dispensary and score pot. Packaging and labeling must comply with strict safety standards and may not be designed to entice children.

The person who owns the production facility or dispensary must go through criminal background checks, must make their facility available for inspections and may not do what would be considered extensive or enticing advertising.

According to the measure, one dispensary would be allowed per 150,000 population area. If you live more than 100 miles from a dispensary, you would be allowed to grow up to six plants for personal use. The governor’s compromise would reduce the number of dispensaries, meaning more people would live farther than 100 miles from a dispensary, meaning more homegrown cannabis.

The product itself must undergo extensive testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content – the principal psychoactive chemical in cannabis. While the THC found in today’s cannabis is, indeed, higher than it was decades ago, there is still no level that can cause death. Not many substances, including Tylenol, can make that claim.

It would also be tested for pesticides as our food is.

The so-called compromise measure the governor proposed would cut back the number of qualifying illnesses that would be eligible for cannabis treatment, particularly autoimmune diseases, of which there are more than 100, including ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, lupus, lyme disease, Meniere’s disease, myasthenia gravis, peripheral neuropathy, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and many, many others that are the source of chronic pain and distress.

Patients would be allowed up to two ounces of cannabis over a 14-day period.

There is, and rightfully so, concern about the use of cannabis by young people

It’s true that there is evidence that cannabis can have a negative effect on the development of young brains, which is why its use would be restricted to adults or would only be prescribed to minors with parental or guardian approval.

There is also, rightfully so, concern about addiction. Although there is no evidence of cannabis causing physical addiction – such as what can occur with alcohol, tobacco or opioid use – a psychological dependence can develop in some people. Of course, you can also develop a dependence on chocolate, coffee or greasy fast food burgers and fries.

There are far more dangerous and deadly medications that we don’t think twice about prescribing. I don’t recall any of those having to go through legislative or ballot measure hurdles.

But, they don’t have the cultural or religious stigma attached to them like cannabis.

It’s been called a “gateway drug” to other, more potent and dangerous substances. That, however, is like warning that kissing leads to pregnancy. I’m not sure, but I would imagine that a kiss was involved in almost all activities resulting in pregnancies.

If your religion forbids the use of any type of intoxicant, then I pity you if you need surgery, have a condition that causes pain or you require some sort of mental or physical relief because I don’t know of any prescription pain med or psychotropic medication that does not have the potential to create euphoria, even when taken exactly as directed.

The most important thing to remember?

If somebody wants to use cannabis, they will.

The current penalties are not going to curb usage and, quite frankly, law enforcement has higher priorities than to bust somebody for smoking pot.

I read a line recently that quoted a former Obama administration official as saying: “The reckless way that we are legalizing marijuana so far is mind-boggling from a public-health perspective. The issue now is that we have lobbyists, special interests, and people whose motivation is to make money that are writing all of these laws and taking control of the conversation.”

First of all, the path to legalization, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, has not been reckless. Far from it, in fact. Laws would remain in place and the cops would still be concerned with shutting down the neighborhood dealer.

The stinging part of that quote, however, is the business about lobbyists and special interests.

While that is true and an ugly fact of life, I cannot wonder why similar charges are not leveled at the gun lobby, alcohol lobby, tobacco lobby and, of course, Big Pharma, which have all taken lives and caused grief because Congress, quite frankly, is in their pockets, whether Democrat or Republican.

It’s how business is done today, it’s how decisions are made, it’s how our leaders cling to their powerful positions.

Prop 2 is a grassroots ballot initiative.

We live in a place where state’s rights are vigorously defended, where we claim that the will of the people must be respected.

We’ll see how that plays out.

A new Deseret News poll shows 64 percent support for Proposition 2, 33 percent opposition and only three percent unsure of how they will vote on the measure.

That’s a very healthy margin for the opposition to overcome, which is, perhaps, why the latest commercials are intentionally deceiving, preying upon fear.

You really should read this proposition before voting.

There is no need to worry about dispensaries pandering to children.

There is no need to worry that the dangers of cannabis outweigh the dangers of opioids that can kill.

There is no need to worry about a so-called “pot shop” opening up next door.

Most of all, there is no need to worry about cannabis coming to a vending machine near you.

It is just not going to happen.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Redbud October 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I voted NO just out of spite!

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 11:21 am

      Sounds about right. Don’t be late for church, now! BTW did you chip in to the $85 million the COJCOLDS wasted on prop 8?
      They could have built a dozen new Temples with that wasted dough.

  • AnnieMated October 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

    ~John Ehrlichman
    White House Domestic Affairs Advisor
    1969 – 1973

  • Carpe Diem October 16, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Since the so-called “Truce” came about, voters look less likely to pass it. What’s funny, is if the LDS Church manages to kick this can down the road another short two years, they will lose face. They want to bury it… they dont want to accommodate ANYTHING even to help severely suffering children. They are going to TAX it too… while killer Opioids are NOT taxed. :/ ? I fully expect the LDS Church and State to drag this out until finally citizens are completely fed up with them.

    This will be about the time Mitt Romney is attempting to get his Senate Sea legs.

  • commonsense October 16, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Marijuana makes you feel groovy. A lot of people like that. Make no mistake, marijuana is addicting and dumbs you down. If you have severe epilepsy, the trade off makes sense.

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 7:07 am

      “Make no mistake, marijuana is addicting”…. = Fake news.
      It may be habit forming, but not addicting in the sense of nicotine, cocaine or opioids.
      Thanks for playing, though.

    • iceplant October 17, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Spoken like someone who has ZERO experience with cannabis.
      Hard to take you seriously when you pull opinions from your…
      Thanks for playing. You’re out.

    • LocalTourist October 18, 2018 at 7:30 am

      9% of chronic users become “addicted”…and their withdrawal symptoms include such horrible, life-threatening things like headache, tremors, irritability, insomnia… you know, all those things that withdrawal from the caffeine in your Mountain Dew includes.

      Dumbs you down…. I’m sure Nancy Reagan appreciates you paying attention during her “Just Say No” assembly in junior high.

      Anything can be abused. Cannabis is no exception. But the safety profile makes it impossible to die from an overdose. Die from making bad decisions during use? Yeah. But the same thing can happen when you drop your Sodalicious in your lap as you turn off Riverside. 30 other states have working medical cannabis programs, including Arizona. (Opponents never speak about AZ, because it doesn’t fit their “sky is falling” narrative.)
      How about we let patients get access in Utah as well?

  • DRT October 16, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Just a couple of observations here. First off, and directly to Ed; “and we’d all be going to hell in a handbasket.” Apparently we have been headed toward hell riding in a handbasket for many years. I can remember my grandmother saying that back in the 40’s! Oh one more thing on this; as a little kid, I wondered why we were going to hell, why we were riding in a hand basket, what the heck a handbasket was, and who was carrying to hell with us in it! 🙂
    The second observation, and I’ve said it before, is that the state politicos and the mormon church are terrified of prop 2 being passed. Because it will plainly show that the current powers that be have lost control of the sheeple of this state.
    They are terrified of losing their power.

    • jpff October 16, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      If you really think the LDS church would be terrified if this passes, you certainly have your head hidden somewhere where it can’t think straight. Of course, common sense says to be careful about such propositions as this one; once it passes, lawyers are very good at twisting the intentions of the verbage and getting marijuana accepted out in public. Just as we exercise control on the production and distribution of opiates, we need to do the same for this drug. The proposition would allow users to grow there own; how many patients are allowed to grow their own opiates?

      • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 7:10 am

        jpff // Do you know how many millions the LDS church spent on fighting Med MJ over the years? How much did they spend… err… lose, fighting gay marriage?
        Yes, they were terrified over that too. Somehow, the world didn’t end though. “Take a deep breath”

      • LocalTourist October 19, 2018 at 7:25 am

        Prop 2 does NOT allow “grow your own” unless the state doesnt set up regulations for dispensaries.
        And it doesnt even trigger until January, 2021… the state has TWO YEARS to set up regulations for dispensaries.
        If there’s a dispensary within 100 miles, you can’t self grow. So if a dispensary opens from St George to Cedar, no one in Washington County will be able to grow.
        Think about it– dispensaries will naturally go where there are large numbers of people. So, SLC (which means no growing from Wendover to Evanston), Moab, Vernal, Price, Logan, probably Richfield… and sudddenly, there’s no where in the state you can grow.

  • jpff October 16, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Sorry, but I cannot agree with Ed on this. I have studied what has happened in other states, and it has not been pretty. Additionally, the many people opposing prop 2 are medical doctors and experts; I am not certain what qualification Mr. Kociela has.
    I firmly believe that there are elements in marijuana that can do great things for many patients. The proposal by the governor will take that into consideration while still providing some protection against open, free use of the drug.
    I will be interested in how this one plays out.

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 7:23 am

      Yes we were all interested in “how it played out” in Colorado with recreational MJ. Images of doom and denigration were drawn in all the chapels of the land.
      OOOPS! The prophets were left empty handed. Taxes pour in by the hundreds of millions… And the State has mellowed out. Wow.

      BTW just last week… this was the headline :
      GOP lawmaker: Trump administration will soon unveil federal marijuana reform plan
      POSTED 1:48 PM, OCTOBER 12, 2018, BY ERIC RUBLE

      Meanwhile… Canada was so un-frightened with Colorado’s success, they are going National Recreational as of…. TODAY!!! Pot now legal CANADA WIDE!

    • iceplant October 17, 2018 at 9:25 am

      “I have studied what has happened in other states, and it has not been pretty”

      Anytime you have to preface your opinion this way, the rest of us can be damn sure you didn’t “study” anything.

    • No Filter October 18, 2018 at 11:30 am

      You should really post your studies for all to read. Voters need to see this before its to late! In 2017, 237 people died in Utah from prescription opioids, how many have died from marijuana?

  • KR567 October 16, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    LOL ! if somebody wants pot they’re going to get it here or somewhere else …its been here for ages you will never stop people from using it here or anywhere else
    it’s on every street it’s in every neighborhood, it’s in every school it’s in every workplace …..good luck in stopping people from using it

    • Real Life October 17, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Take it from him, he knows.

  • sheepobserver October 17, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I’d like to say that I had chronic back pain from the time I was 25 to the time I was 36. A ruptured disk in my back was the cause. When it would flare up I’d walk with a limp, when it wasn’t flared up, it just hurt really bad to bend down and tie my shoes. I was prescribed 800mg of Ibuprofen and I can’t remember the other drug I was taking, but neither one did much for the pain.

    I moved to Southern Utah when I was 35. The first time I ever smoked was marijuana was right here in St. George. My girlfriend at the time loved it…..so I ended up trying it and liking it. PURELY for recreational purposes. I had no intent other than to get high. It felt wonderful……..I became a heavy user, lol. It was easy to do, I wasn’t working and had lots of money saved up. By this time I was ingesting it (I don’t like to smoke because I’m a cardio freak). First thing in the morning, and a couple of more times during the day.
    My back pain went away within six months of using it. I didn’t even realize it was getting better, it was so gradually slow that it just occurred to me one day…..that my back didn’t hurt anymore.
    I haven’t had any mj in years, and my back is still fine today. I’m still skeptical that it was the cure, but there was no other change in my life other than having started using mj. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Chronic back pain is not fun to deal with.

    There are negatives to it too. I definitely had wasted days where I’d just listen to music and do nothing. It was awesome!
    The worst thing it did (from the perspective of a society that cherishes followers/workers/money) is it made me think. Think about money, society, corporations, and the corruption in them. It made me want to be more involved in nature. It turned me into a hippie! lol

    Now, I’m reading about psilocybin (the psychedelic in magic mushrooms). I predict they will go down this course of legality next. The research that’s been done is amazing when it comes to curing alcohol addiction, ptsd, anxiety, and depression.
    It also is said that nature talks to you, or maybe you become more in tune with nature when they’re ingested.
    There’s also a theory that they may be responsible for human intelligence……check out Paul Stamets if you’re curious.
    They’re non addicting, but they are powerful enough that they really should be prescribed and dosed accordingly.
    I’ve never tried them, but I will when I have the chance.

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 7:36 am

      I happen to know someone who has experienced a miracle cure during a three month period of using CBD patches. Fibromialgia, neuropathy, weight loss, hair loss, sweaty palms… on the verge of dying. This person was on so many meds from “Doctors” for years, then went alternative. The CBD, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, herbs… suddenly over a period of a couple months they emerged from a long multi-year health spiral that was mostly bed ridden and now travels, hikes, and lives a normal life.

      IRT the psilocybin, I’ve heard some govt is thinking about legalizing it for terminal patients… that is a shame, as I think it’s just a bugaboo like pot has been to LEA.
      They don’t understand it, they just know people partake in it so “it must be stopped”. I disagree that it’s strong though, I know people who have taken them, dont think it’s a whole lot different than pot.

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 8:01 am

      BTW Paul Stamets… his Ted Talk was awesome… he got a standing O – a genius. This one wasn’t about psilocybin tho.


    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 8:07 am

      From his Twitter feed:

      Sep 20

      Please celebrate the 920 movement Thursday September 20th, allowing the use of psilocybin mushrooms for end-of-life. @DrWeil @joerogan

      We all face our own mortality. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that Psilocybin mushrooms can give you a choice as you face death. Will you face death with fear, anguish, uncertainty, regret and doubt?

      Or would you like the possibility of facing death with joy, confidence, gratitude, interconnectedness and love?

      Psilocybin mushrooms help many experience that latter outcome. Psilocybin should be carefully considered by legal and health professionals to be reclassified as a for-prescription Medicine for End-of-Life.

      • sheepobserver October 17, 2018 at 9:49 am

        I hadn’t heard about the end of life discussion, but it makes sense. Thanks.

        The psilocybin seems like it’s really going to make a leap into the news when people start realizing that the techies in Silicon Valley (where I lived for my first 35 years ironically) are microdosing mushrooms to get an intellectual advantage over their competitors at work. When you start to look at how mycelium is the first “www” to exist, and how it talks/exchanges with plants/trees, it’s not hard to fathom that it could possibly do the same thing with humans.

        I agree, Paul Stamet’s research into all fungus/mycelium/mushrooms is fascinating, and he is a genius. It’s not like he’s just into the psychedelic aspect of them either. He swears his mother was cured of cancer with turkey tail mushrooms.

        Interesting stuff.

  • KR567 October 17, 2018 at 8:28 am

    There is no such thing as THE perfect wonder drug to cure all. everything has side effects and some work for certain people and some dont …so go find what works for and more power to ya ! …knock yourself out

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 10:50 am

      “…so go find what works for and more power to ya !” Well, except in Utah where the Religiocracy demonizes you and keeps hiding the ball. That little issue.

  • Red2Blue310 October 17, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    As stupid and sheepish the people of this state are, i wouldnt be seen in a Utah dispensary. These idiots would follow me.

    • Carpe Diem October 17, 2018 at 6:06 pm

      Do you remember the porn store in Mesquite back in 1995 or so? HA HA HA
      Lots of Utah State Employee vehicles reported.

  • Marilyn Manson October 19, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    I don’t agree with prop 2 solely based on the fact that our state leaders are doing this for money and control not for the good of the people. I have an epileptic family member who seizes 5 to 10 times a day. The hospitals here fill her with test meds and use her as a lab rat and nothing ever helps. She has obtained cannabis oil and began using it. She has seen improvements the likes of which she’s has never had. Our state is greedy and hides under a cloak of righteous supposed conservatism. By the way I am a conservative myself and generally think ed is wrong but I love reading his views. Thanks for sharing. I also voted for the Democrat running against Mitty. He should go the hell away.

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