Medical-marijuana-sign

Drop Cap Last week in Brawley, they had a marijuana meeting to discuss many issues,  one of which included voting on a dispensary where medical marijuana cards can buy the bud. I have mixed feelings about these decisions facing cities and communities across the nation.

The culture is changing and marijuana use is much more acceptable for both medical and recreational uses since the days of “reefer madness.” I am a recovering addict with a history of providing substance abuse counseling, education and treatment, but I don’t have a big dog in this fight.

It is our nature to be dependent on things: food, air, love, but not all dependencies are healthy. I encourage you to be dependent upon God and that will help you when your other dependencies aren’t working out so well. I am opposed to marijuana use, especially among the young, because I believe it interferes with emotional development and the maturation process.

I worked in the schools for nearly a quarter of a century and I have never heard, “I was flunking my classes and started smoking weed and I am now on the honor roll!” Or, “I got cut from team last year, but after I started smoking bud, I’m the captain of the team and the quarterback.” Too often, the path to academic perdition has been paved with rolling papers or pipes.

Deny it or not, marijuana is a gateway drug. It puts you in the company of substance abusers, and the longer you hang around a barbershop, the more likely you will get a haircut. Alcohol and tobacco are much more dangerous as gateway drugs, but all drugs lead to loss. This is part of the case for decriminalization. Make it legal, and it will lead to less crime. That is by definition true.

In my mind, marijuana has been legal for a while, ever since the first medical marijuana card. If I am not mistaken, it might have been an Imperial Valley judge decades ago, who ruled that a local person with cancer could use marijuana to help with the side effects of chemo.

The medicinal effects of marijuana has been documented in treating glaucoma, chemotherapy and other health issues. I have veteran friends who feel it is helpful with PTSD, back problems and depression. So what’s a community to do? I say be true to yourself. Seek the input of the people and represent the will of the people. (At this point, I know you think I am silly, but whatever!)

There is currently an informal system of distribution here in the valley and in all communities. If you need weed, it is not a big deal to drive to San Diego where, according to the “The Reader”- a local magazine, dispensaries abound. If you have a card, it is just like going to the pharmacy.

My personal vote is, if we are going to have a pot shop, have it be operated by a not-for-profit organization, with the income coming back to the community to help people. This is a model I heard from a veteran friend, where the money might go to programs for vets.

One last pot shot, here at my own Desert Review. In a previous picture with the article, it looks like someone adding marijuana to tobacco and rolling a cigarette. Don’t use tobacco, use a pipe. For that matter, don’t use at all!

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Jim Shinn has lived in the valley for 57 years and was home-schooled in the 1950’s. He was been a counselor at schools, health clinics, drug treatment center and is the director of the Son-Shine Counseling Center. He has written for the Alpine Sun and the Desert Voice and has published 2 books Bedtime Storeezzz and Faith and Loving on the Way to Heaven. He has taught at IVC, SDSU and the University of Redlands and writes to keep sane in a very strange world. He loves Jesus and serves Christ at Valley Baptist Church in Brawley.

6 COMMENTS

  1. City of Brawley medical hemp is big business, People have spoken .Two council members cannot go against the will of the majority .You’r pushing for big beef,what not medical hemp?

  2. Thanks for the pot shot. It seems like you know more about pot than you are letting on. The Bible is clear, whether it be substance abuse or an alternative lifestyle. Everyone has free will of choice, but some Christians choose what teachings in the Bible they want to adhere to or not. If you’re a Christian, it matters.

    • You are a typical American “Christian” that just doesn’t get it. Mental health is a serious issue that must be addressed here. You have to be the same type of “Christian” that doesn’t believe in antidepressants or anything of the such because it is a drug. The issue here is mental health. It is a serious problem that some “Christians” act as if it is a spiritual problem. Marijuana has helped many people, including believers in Christ and obviously you are ignorant to the real problem and what the real issue is here. Use your Bible to bring people in, not cast people out because in the end will all be judged and it won’t be be and human standards, especially your political standards.

      • Only 3% of “medical marijuana” dispensed from these locations is for those who actually need it. The other 97% is dispensed for recreational use. I see that as the issue. This should be only available through a pharmacy, like other drugs. Medical marijuana is legal. It should only be available to those who need it, under a doctor’s advice.

        • The medical cards are easy to get. It is almost like a joke. On the other hand, it takes the business away from international cartels who also deal in meth, heroin, illegal immigrant trafficking, you get the picture and puts in the hands of traceable entities with no violent intentions towards anyone. An extremely large percentage of potheads are harmless people. Crime does increase around dispensaries, that is a major concern, and there is no reason to put any extra burden on law enforcement. There has to be a way to make it work without sacrificing people’s personal religious values or people’s lives. It could easily turn into a win-win deal.

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