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With all the talk of legalizing pot in the nation today, fewer and fewer people seem to recognize the true dangers of marijuana.

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Voters in Colorado, Washington State, and now Washington D.C. have legalized the use of this “harmless” herb. They’ve done this without regard for pot’s obvious risks.

Personally, I got to see first-hand how pot use ravaged the state of Colorado. Where I lived in the mountains above Denver, hundreds of home-grow operations dotted the hillsides. To the locals, pot was seen as no more morally questionable than beer. In fact, it was probably less so — considering at the time it was illegal to buy strong beer on Sundays.

Over the years I met dozens of horribly-misguided older folks who told me they at one time had been spending upwards of $500 a month on prescription medicines for things like anxiety, insomnia, appetite stimulation, pain relief, arthritis, nausea, depression, glaucoma, and blood-pressure regulation. They had been prescribed these medications in a specific order — each intended to offset the other’s undesirable effects. But that just wasn’t good enough for these old codgers. They had gradually replaced their meds with this simple herb they cultivated in their basements under grow-lights.

Sure, they seemed happy and vital, but what about their personal growth? What about pot’s effects on their brain development? What about their dreams? Admittedly, they were upwards of 75 years old and were still skiing and chopping cords of wood for their fireplaces, but what if they wanted to do something else with their lives in the future? I would have preferred to know they had stuck with nice, safe opioid compounds and advanced neuroleptics prescribed to them by doctors who weren’t really paying attention to the labels.

Plus, consider the economic impacts of the loss of $500 in subsidized drug purchases per month, multiplied by a few thousand people in that community alone. The impact to honest, legitimate businesses like Pfizer, Roche, and GlaxoSmithKline cannot be overstated. Pot impacts shareholder value disastrously. That means less money in the hands of political action committees to drive (and write) legislation to help Americans purchase more drugs from those same honest companies. It also means less tax revenue to fund our ongoing mission to civilize the Middle East and Central Asia so we can bring Wal-Marts to those poor, backwards people. They, too, want to save money and live better. We just need to kill a lot more of them before they realize all the advantages of doing things our way.

If pot is legalized, who is going to make up the lost profits to America’s liquor industry? Sure, people still drink when they smoke weed, but they generally drink less. Who will carry on our national institution of dangerous binge drinking? A beer or two doesn’t count. Someone needs to support the continued massive consumption of alcohol for the good of the multinational corporations who give us Budweiser and vodka-that-doesn’t-taste-like-vodka. Drinking is fun, and it’s part of our American culture. Honestly, I think most of us owe our very lives to alcohol, really — especially those of us with an ugly parent or two.

Also, the prohibitions against pot have created great wealth in countries like Mexico — at least among a few hundred people there. Prohibition has been very profitable for our efficient and helpful banking sector as they’ve helped transform the earnings of illegal drugs into “nice” money — all for a small service fee. That means strong profits for banking, and banks help you and me, citizen!

Another concern is how the legalization of pot might put a monkey-wrench into the American law enforcement complex. We’ve spent trillions of dollars over the last 45 years to create a system where cops use military tactics to arrest people holding small Ziploc bags full of plant material, process them through a purchased court system with mandatory sentencing guidelines, and send them to for-profit prisons for years at a time. When released, they are essentially outcasts–unable to vote. Ha-ha! See how that works? Away with you, malfeasant!

Tell me, without prohibitions on pot, what remaining need would we have for the sheer numbers of heavily-armed cops we currently support as taxpayers? How shall we reward them for SWAT raids on greenhouses full of leafy vegetable material, and violent arrests or even executions of dazed people who offer no resistance, some of them totally innocent? What are they going to do with all those planes, helicopters, MRAP’s, night-vision goggles, sniper rifles, robots, and countless other really fun toys that have cost billions in our holy crusade against a close relative to the hackberry bush, sometimes used to make furniture?

But the ravages of pot use don’t stop with its effects on commerce. If you haven’t been in the presence of someone who — while blazing — just won’t shut up about some ’75 Chevy van he once owned, and how the brown shag carpet inside felt like a dog’s coat, and heard him recite the entire discography of the band Rusted Root, then you don’t know the meaning of the word “tedium.” You’ll want it to stop, but it’s not going to stop — not until he’s told you about that one concert in Tampa where Rusted Root opened for Santana and he met that girl in the apron dress and the Uggs and how he wonders where she is now. Maybe not even then.

He’s wasting your time. And time is money.

To those of you out there in states that haven’t yet embraced the insane idea of legalized pot, I implore you: Send a letter to your congressman and local politicians today telling them that pot must remain illegal. Do it for pharmaceutical companies. Do it for the military-industrial/law enforcement complex. Do it for the liquor business. Do it for our friends in the Mexican drug cartels, and our friends in international banking. Do it to send a message to garrulous former owners of Chevy vans.

Do it for America.

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