Grow It. Sell It. Tax It.

Grow It. Sell It. Tax It.

Editor, News-Register:

This letter pertains to Mike Myer’s thought piece a few days back, regarding West Virginia’s penchant to embrace recreational marijuana; his thoughts smack of assumption and suspicion. He and the other naysayers at the press’s Legislative Lookahead event he referenced had better stop watching Cheech and Chong movies if they want an accurate fix on marijuana users. They might learn that not every recreation marijuana user is a pothead, stoned 24/7, sucking in smoke until the joint burns the fingers brown, guffawing and misbehaving.

Mr. Myer wrote, “Despite serious concerns expressed by many in the health care and law enforcement communities, some members of the West Virginia Legislature seem determined to legalize marijuana for recreational use. (What exactly are these “serious law and medical concerns?” Gangs of ravaged recreational-marijuana smokers running through West Virginia’s streets, frolicking into the wee hours of the night, soaping the windows of police cruisers, spiking their donuts with silly weed, and making funny faces at church goers on Sunday mornings; fearful of the fudge bars drug emporiums supply the medical industry, whose front-line providers continue to addict a huge slice of West Virginians, will run out of sugar?)

Those “some members … seem determined to legalize marijuana for recreational use” must be the misbegotten cousins of Cheech and Chong to have such thoughts.

Mr. Myer wrote, “… the marijuana plant contains many chemical compounds about which we know little. (The inference here is that chemical compounds are harmful. This warning sounds from a closet of ghosts conjured up by naysayers and supplied these stock warnings by drug monopolies, troubled that their products may be outperformed and they are being left out of the rush to legalize marijuana.

Mr. Myer wrote, “THC … Its effects on humans appear to be relatively benign. It is, however, the compound that has the effect users of marijuana desire.” (THC is “the psychoactive ingredient that makes the user feel high.”) Is that such a bad thing? A good feeling without a hangover.

Mr. Myer wrote, “So why not give all those who want to get high for pleasure, not health care, all the THC they want, as long as it’s in pill form?” (Who will make the pills — drug companies currently ripping the heads off the American public?) For mysterious reasons green, plant-grown marijuana is the devil’s bane to the moralist mind. Keep it simple; it is what it is.

Mr. Myer wrote, “But, just like legalized gambling, any windfall West Virginia would realize would be just that — temporary, until other nearby states began competing with us.” (So what? Can a poor state like West Virginia turn its nose up, if $80 million becomes a mere $50 million? And, that reduction would be long in coming because Pennsylvania and Ohio are grannies creeping around in candlelight, pulling shutters tight against the bogeyman.)

Mr. Myer wrote “Why not just permit sale of tetrahydrocannabinol — THC, as it’s referred to commonly — to everyone?” (THC “can treat or prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medications when other medicines do not work. It can also increase the appetite for AIDS victims.” It can reduce pain in arthritic seniors, besieged veterans, and chronically-ill children, replacing addicting pain-killing opiates.) Hip-Hip Hooray for rationality to emerge from Mr. Myer’s musings!

Mr. Myer wrote: “It’s going to happen. Perhaps not this year, but within the next two to three years — as the state budget crunch some are predicting returns to haunt us — that $80 million a year is going to become intoxicating to lawmakers.” (What also could have been written: West Virginia needs alternative sources of income, because the state cannot continue to be myopic to the reality that coal and gas industries will say, “Adios hillbillies” when they exhaust our natural resources. (“These cut-up mountains, polluted waterways, sludge ponds, rusted pipelines, befouled air, and maimed and sick casualties are yours to keep.”)

I agree that ‘it is going to happen’ in West Virginia. But how? Mr. Myer could have written: “Keep it simple. Look to marijuana’s grassroots. Grow it. Sell it. Tax it. Reap its profits. Keep the Capital donkeys from stomping over a recreational marijuana law.”

Sonny Fair



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