Last year, much to its credit, Kentucky’s General Assembly pretty much decriminalized marijuana: nobody’s going to jail over a little pot and up to four plants is a misdemeanor. This was a huge step in the right direction. Kentucky’s Drug War came to its senses in ‘2011. It had to: our jails are full to the bursting with pot smokers. Hey, whatever, I’ll take it.
This year, though, our esteemed leaders did a big backslide. They passed HB 481 making synthetic marijuana illegal. All but two of the 138 members voted yay. They even labeled the bill an EMERGENCY. (Their emphasis, not mine.) Really? An EMERGENCY?
The bill is patently ridiculous for a number of reason, not the least of which is the undetermined safety of said substance: there have been no studies, no chemistry, no papers, no nothing. It’s safety or lack thereof has been determined based solely on a (very) few MSM headlines. What emergency?
And, um, what exactly is said substance, anyway? Criminey, Kentucky legislators banned something about which they know nothing, other than propaganda. That’s not really surprising, because they are, well, politicians. They don’t have to know anything to vote. Heck, they don’t even have to read the darn bills! Voting on a bill about which they know nothing was particularly infuriating this year because there are a number of bills we asked them to bring up for a vote that they refused. Why? They said they didn’t fully understand the issue. Argh.
This stuff has been sold for years as “incense”. You aren’t supposed to smoke it but, c’mon, everybody does. I suppose you could stand over the burning end and sniff the smoke… would that still be illegal? There have been reports of ill-effects, including a very few deaths linked to synthetic cannabinoids. The sticking point is that all the deaths involve other drugs and/or alcohol. There is no hard evidence synthetic marijuana is dangerous, except maybe to someone who is allergic to it. So, why aren’t we banning peanuts? Or those pesky backyard pools that kill TEN kids under age five every week?
Incense is particularly safe when compared to alcohol. According to the American Poison Control Center, out of the approximately 50,000 cases reported annually, one person dies every week from alcohol poisoning. So, why aren’t we banning alcohol again?
Meanwhile, marijuana-like compounds are being credited for halting the spread of AIDS. But, well, you know I hate to be insensitive, but only gay people get AIDS. It’s actually possible they don’t count in Kentucky.
It would appear that the legislature wants to put local Lexington head shops out of business. Either that, or they just don’t want people having a little fun using anything other than alcohol. Kentucky is the bourbon capitol of the world, after all. I imagine that lobby is pretty powerful.
Whatever their reasons, they all stink. In fact, I wrote to those bad boys and girls and told them so, whilst thanking the two Senators who voted nay:
30 March 2012
Dear Senator Thayer and Senator Stine,
Thank you for your courage in voting against HB 481. You stood up for the citizens of Kentucky and I am grateful.
The War on Drugs is a war on the American people. It allows us to be stopped and searched, to be jailed and humiliated. It allows SWAT to break down our doors in full regalia, terrifying our families, stealing all our valuables and money, destroying our personal property and treating us like real criminals.
These are bad laws. There have been many of them throughout our history. Bad laws need to be rescinded, not reinforced! Having a little harmless fun that hurts no one else is not a crime.
I spend Tuesday evenings at the Adult Facility on Old Frankfort Pike with the alcoholic/addicted men and women incarcerated there. Jailing people who are sick is the crime! I am ashamed that Kentucky’s General Assembly actually voted to add more fuel to this out of control fire. I invite any legislator to go with me on a Tuesday evening to see firsthand the effects of their misguided legislation. My phone number is [###].
The war on drugs is the litmus test for whether or not a legislator is working for the people or for big corporations. The Kentucky legislators who voted for this bill did not listen to their constituents. To whom are they listening?
Blessings on you, Senators Thayer and Stine. Your vote was one for compassion, humanity and personal freedom.
CC: All members of the Kentucky General Assembly
It’s become crystal clear to me this session that, with few exceptions, our legislators don’t listen to us. In fact, the majority of them could hardly care less. Like politicians everywhere, they are only interested in one thing: re-election. Which means they only listen to those making the biggest, fattest campaign contributions (read “corporations”). That really stinks because we in the liberty movement will never have big, fat pockets.
On the other hand, we do have the voters. And, in the end, votes are the only things that actually count.
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