2014-01-31 / Columns

Politics & other Mistakes

Don’t dare
By Al Diamon

Supporters of legalized marijuana have a serious medical problem they need to address. There’s now scientific evidence that the mere mention of repealing laws against possession and use of pot makes Maine politicians go squishy in the head.

In tests conducted by a team of researchers (please note: The preceding phrase is subject to credibility issues with regard to the terms “tests,” “conducted” and “team of researchers”), normal people, when asked if they favored repealing laws making the drug illegal, all had answers beginning with words like “yes” and “no.” Mostly “yes.” In other words, nearly everyone knows where they stand on that issue, and a clear majority supports ending the war on weed.

Note that I wrote “nearly.” That’s because there’s a small group, primarily composed of what scientists classify as “wimps,” who are incapable of admitting how they feel about unfettering the kind bud from its statutory limitations. Investigators believe this is because they lack two glandular factors called “courage” and “common sense.”

Here, for instance, is what one anonymous subject – identified in research documents by the code name “U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, Democratic candidate for governor” – had his spokeswoman tell reporters last week: “Congressman Michaud continues to have real concerns about the impact of legalization on children and young adults. The congressman and his staff have had a number of meetings with advocates, and he continues to evaluate information on legalization.”

Another person interviewed for this study – code named “Eliot Cutler, Independent gubernatorial candidate” – gave newspapers this non-opinion: “I think my biggest concern with legalizing marijuana is that it could send a message to our kids that drug use is OK. That said, the current system doesn’t work – it has permitted the development of a thriving, unregulated and untaxed black market in non-medical marijuana that is easily accessed by children and adolescents, as well as adults.”

Surely there are blunt-talking pols who can give a straight answer as to whether they support letting people get high without fear of arrest. For instance, a spokeswoman for the interviewee dubbed “Republican Gov. Paul LePage” told the Lewiston Sun Journal last year, “Gov. LePage has taken an oath to defend and uphold the Constitution and observe the laws of the state of Maine and he intends to do just that.”

Apparently, the pot cultivated these days is so potent that the mere mention of it causes those afflicted with Blaine House ambitions to contract a serious case of wussiness. And that allergic reaction appears to have spread to members of the state’s congressional delegation, resulting in answers even hazier than the cloud floating over a group sharing a doobie.

Here’s an example of independent senatorial non-spokesman speak from the Portland Press Herald: “Senator [Angus] King believes the decision to legalize marijuana on a federal level for recreational purposes is significant and must be thought through carefully and comprehensively. He is interested to see the effects of legalization in places like Colorado and Washington, as data emerges that will better inform the decision-making process on this issue.”

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ spokesman got so vague, you have to wonder what he’s smoking: “While Sen. Collins believes that the president and Congress should be focusing like a laser on jobs and the economy, she would look for guidance from Maine’s law enforcement and medical communities in the unlikely event that legalization legislation is debated by the full Senate.”

The other member of the state’s congressional delegation, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, is on record as supporting an end to marijuana prohibition, having co-sponsored a bill to do just that last year. Researchers say that in Pingree’s case, it’s possible the antidote to a politician’s natural inclination to avoid taking a position on this subject is being incredibly rich and powerful.

On the other hand, Democrat Shenna Bellows, who’s running against Collins, is neither wealthy nor influential, yet she told the Portland paper, “Legalization will benefit our economy and civil rights.” Scientists say this unusual honesty may be attributable to Bellows having no chance of winning.

No doubt, once marijuana is legal in Maine (probably after a referendum in 2016), Michaud, Cutler, King and Collins will do what they usually do and endorse an idea that can no longer do them any harm in the polls. There’s no telling where LePage will eventually come down (heh), although it’s difficult to believe somebody who spends as much time in Jamaica as he does won’t go with the flow.

In the meantime, perhaps researchers can study whether watching supposedly responsible adults display an abject fear of speaking their minds does more harm to children than legal pot could ever do.

D.A.R.E. to keep kids off cowardice by emailing your opinion to me at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

Return to top