(TCRN) Tryp Tamine
Using Marijuana recreationally in a state like Texas costs the user quite a bit, even considering street price of a gram has dropped to about half of what it was only a little over a year ago. Still, Marijuana comes at an extraordinarily high price considering the perpetrators only crime was trying to improve his or her quality of life.
“In Texas, an eighth [of an ounce] costs about $50. Plus, about $400 for bail, $1,500 for legal representation, $1,000 in fines, $150 in court fees, six months of jail time, and the possibility of losing your job, your home, and your family. Really… Many Texas recreational users of marijuana share Smith’s sentiments on the issue. Many people feel as though the laws in Texas, and by enlarge the United States have made conditions worse and never better for most users, and by extension society as a whole. – Lubbock activist, Colt Smith–founder and head-director of the Hub City NORML.
Some speculate that it is causing users to turn to dealing, therefore risking further prosecution, especially for the unemployed and the opportunistically deprived segments of the population. They first may have bought the herb and used it recreationally, but since encountering the police and the consecutive monetary burdens that follow; many turn to selling marijuana, as well as other drugs in order to make enough money to make court payments, as well as provide for themselves and a family.
This is a horrifying reality to imagine for many of us, but this paints an all too familiar picture for the many Americans, young and old alike.
All it might take is for people to start asking their lawmakers and local officials… What are they are so afraid of? What do they think will happen if marijuana were made legal? and, Does keeping it illegal make the fears and facts any less of a reality? If you understand the dilemma you can inform those said officials where they lack the knowledge, via city counsel and interacting in local community efforts/events. Then, we can start seriously addressing these questions with common-sense and present well proven scientific studies about the benefits of cannabis. Studies that can not be denied. Even the local economy would benefit from legalization, on top of creating more legitimate jobs.
Prices have decreased, and potency has increased, and I don’t see the supply or demand ever slowing down. But hey, you don’t hear the kids complaining, because guess what? I’ve seen fourteen-year-olds tripling their allowance, and ‘getting high on their own supply’ as Scarface might say. Nancy Reagan couldn’t get us to, “Just say no”. I think D.A.R.E. just might have made things worse by giving kids what I would call, “A beginners guide to drugs” just as they were about to enter junior high school. The cops couldn’t seem to care less either.
Police officers in most counties across Texas are unaware that a 2007 law allows law enforcement officials all across the state to release individuals found to be in possession of up to four ounces of marijuana after issuing out a court summons citation. The law is suppose to protect low level offenders in possession of small amounts of marijuana from unnecessary detention, while also saving money and time for the more severe crimes to be investigated and pursued. However, many suspect that some counties could be ignoring the law on purpose to boost their arrest numbers?
Despite some of these old problems that we know marijuana prohibition has not solved, we are starting to see an even worse epidemic to come out of marijuana prohibition than corrupt police officials, shotty drug awareness strategies, and the systematic manufacturing of drug dealers and criminals. I’m speaking of course, about synthetic marijuana.
The ‘synthetic marijuana’ craze may be another example of what some regular users of marijuana have resorted to in order to obtain a similar effect, but at nearly a hundred times the risk; an epidemic that takes what bathtub gin and whiskey were in the prohibition era and combines it with the likes of the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80s. To top it off, who is making this stuff? Many individuals who have jobs with random drug screening policies or been placed on probation for criminal charges resort to using the drug to replace the roll marijuana played in their lives. Some however get hooked on it simply because it is cheap and available at some local gas stations and smoke shops. Synthetic cannabinoids are designer drugs that retailers mix with acetone and spray onto a random mixture of ethnobotanical herbs, then mix together sometimes in quantities large enough to fill cement trucks. They were made illegal, but are known to still be available in Texas in the cities Dallas, Lubbock, and Houston.
When asked about how they can get away with selling the concoction despite it now being illegal, one shopkeeper said:
“I think all they have to do is just move an electron around, or change up the molecule (that way it becomes a new substance all together that the laws can’t touch) then they get somebody to smoke it. And if it gets them high, they say ‘Alright! Let’s hurry up and get this stuff wrapped up, shipped out, and ready to go!’ So basically they just mix whatever chemical they are using with acetone, spray it on, wrap it up, and sell it to whoever wants to buy it.”
He continued to say that sometimes, whoever is making them will seal up the herbs too soon after it’s been sprayed, meaning the concoction would still be wet with acetone when consumers buy the product. That’s why he has to warn customers to let the plant matter dry out a little while before they smoke it, otherwise they could be smoking the acetone. It’s up to the users themselves whether or not they choose to heed his advice.
Needless to say, many seem to think conditions are worse, and not better for both marijuana users and synthetic cannabinoid users-turn-addicts who claim that the side effects they suffer after using and trying to quit the drug result in psychotic episodes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, as well as other potential side effects depending on the batch. But what does need to be pointed out is the fact that individuals who work jobs that operate heavy machinery, and individuals who work jobs that drug test are putting their workers at even more of a risk by smoking synthetic cannabinoids than they would be if users were a loud to work with trace amounts of THC in their bodies. The same can be said to police and probation officers in Texas as well as Texas state representatives. And as for those who have jobs that drug test and who are on probation should be informed on the dangers of using synthetic cannabinoids by retailers and vendors.
In the end, I do believe that if cannabis were legalized in Texas for retail sale, I with countless others probably would buy and smoke pot regularly. But, would conditions get better? I can only hope because, after prohibition it could seem like one has tried everything to work within the system. Will we once again be disillusioned by the idealistic promises and warnings of a better quality of life? What do you think?