By: Edgar Mana-ay
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Five years ago, when I was here in Colorado, I was shocked when the state legislature legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Authorized stores all over the state selling marijuana sticks, candies and many more are conspicuous what with the frontage sign of a big green cross so that customers, especially those from other states where use of marijuana is still illegal, can easily spot them.
At the outset, the state legislature believed that marijuana legalization was a logical move to destroy the drug’s black market. But recently, all frontline indicators point to the opposite direction, as the legal market provides camouflage for foreign cartels and illegal plantations and warehouses all over the state of Colorado.
But pro-legalization politicians seem to turn a blind eye to the realities in the field. Even Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said recently, “The black market is shrinking and will be largely gone in a few years”, without any explanation as to how this will happen.
The National Forest Service of Colorado reports that cartels are running hundreds of illegal pot plantations throughout the Colorado Mountains (which is a vast expanse of uninhabited land) in an unprecedented volume and the black market pot activity operates in plain view every day. As an example, downtown Trinidad, just north of New Mexico’s border, has a population of only 8,100 but sells pot 15 times more than the famously pot-friendly Boulder County – home to 320,000 residents but far from Colorado’s border.
Trinidad’s shops sell $300 worth of marijuana for each of the 55,000 people living in the city and surrounding La Plata County. Colorado allows each retailer to sell up to 1 ounce of pot.
In Trinidad, buyers riding in cars from out of state go from store to store buying an ounce at each stop. An ounce that costs $99 at a Colorado store sells up to $350 across the state like in Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming and other states. For a lone entrepreneur willing to break the law in other states, this business model is simple: travel, purchase, turnaround, markup and sell.
In Colorado, the evil effects of marijuana legalization is now being felt: growing numbers of traffic fatalities involving drivers under the influence of pot, classrooms with stoned kids who can obtain marijuana like it is gum, more children rushed to the emergency room because of overdose on THC, general lowering of IQ among students, and other brain-related problems associated with young people consuming THC in high doses.
There is now strong pressure for the Attorney General to put a stop to this Obama era of marijuana legalization, because other states have the right NOT to suffer from a neighbor’s poor judgment. While Colorado enjoys a tax pot bonanza of $250 million annually, this may not last long. And with the pressure from neighboring states on the Attorney General, this may soon end.
In the Philippines, there are also moves from wicked politicians to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, which even here in the US, there is no conclusive proof on such notion. We should learn from the Colorado experience and our politicians should be reminded of what George Barnard Shaw said: Hell is paved with good intentions, not bad ones”.
In the wake of the Valentine’s Day school shooting at a Florida high school, the Board of Education District 38, Colorado Springs are considering ways that could deter such massacre from befalling its students. They start with a community discussion and dialogue to explore solutions for preventing a school shooting in D-38. Ideas that came up are: security needs to be more extensive, with armed security personnel at every campus, not in favor of teachers to get a concealed carry permit in order to bring their weapon to school and many more.
In my previous columns, I have castigated the NRA (National Rifle Association) as an instrument of promoting gun violence, but here in Colorado, I am part of that lonely voice in the wilderness. Majority are supportive of NRA and to quote one reader: “The NRA is merely a group of every day Americans who support their country and the Constitution. And the NRA as an organization has always advocated for common sense laws that align with our Constitution (background checks for one) and gun safety program. If an honest assessment is carried out regarding past and present policies, it will be found that NRA is not the problem. It is the solution”.
There you go, never a mention of banning the AR-15 used in almost all the civilian massacres. This is Colorado, largely the home of the white conservative Americans where the gun is a way of life and part of its cultural heritage. Unless the gun portion of the massacre equation is addressed, we can only pray that no further shooting will happen in the future.