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No. Oppose legalization for the good of families

p15 ValenteValenteBy KATHY VALENTE
    The marijuana industry and their allies are quick to point out the reasons they should legalize marijuana use in Illinois. Many of these proponents stand to make millions of dollars in profit from promoting what historically has been seen as a destructive vice. They promise that legalization will (1) eliminate minority arrests, (2) free up law enforcement, (3) reduce traffic fatalities, (4) decrease use among youth, (5) generate tax revenue, (6) reduce violent crime, (7) and reduce drug cartel trafficking. These promises never come to fruition. Instead, numerous adverse effects take root.
    Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2013 and should be seen as the test experiment for the rest of the nation.
    For every dollar gained in tax revenue, it costs Colorado $4.50 to mitigate the effects of marijuana legalization. i ii It is important to note that tax revenues in Colorado have fallen far short of projections—accounting for less than one percent of its annual budget each year. iii
   
The business community should be very concerned. Denver has lost 50 % of their conference business because the marijuana is so pervasive. iv In Denver alone, pot stores outnumber Starbucks, McDonalds, Walmart and Walgreens combined. v
    Contrary to projections, since legalization in Colorado, minority arrests have actually increased, vi law enforcement are spending more resources on marijuana-related incidents, vii viii violent crime has increased, ix and marijuana related traffic deaths have increased 151 percent. x xi xii
   
Proponents will tell you that states that have legalized have seen a reduction of use among youth. This is not the case. xiii Colorado youth have the highest use rates in the nation. xiv xv Colorado’s past month use by 12 and older is now 85 percent higher than the national average. xvi Over a fourth of middle and high school students use pot more than once daily. xvii
   
Dr. Karen Randall, MD., talks about the tsunami of people, many homeless, who have moved to Colorado to take personal advantage of marijuana legalization, xviii xix bringing their medical, medication and mental health issues. The population of Pueblo is 110,000 and 69,000 of them are now on Medicaid. xx Minimum wage pot dispensary workers can’t afford health insurance, so the tax payer foots their Medicaid bill. xxi
   
In 2013, Posada, an agency in Pueblo, serviced 25 homeless individuals. By 2016 (2 years after legalization), they had 7,500 new individuals requesting services. Low income housing is at 99 percent occupancy, putting a tremendous strain on government services. xxii
   
Dr. Randall regularly treats emergency room patients for acute psychosis, schizophrenia, cardio-vascular problems, hyperemesis induced by cannabinoids, overdoses, ingestion of edibles, contaminants, and even pregnancy issues because 70 percent of Colorado dispensaries recommend marijuana for morning sickness in pregnancy.xxiii xxiv
    Dr. Ken Finn, M.D., gives evidence that marijuana legalization has only made the opioid crisis worse in Colorado. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health, opioid deaths have dramatically increased since legalization, with 2018 being a record high year. xxv He says that smoking anything is bad for the lungs and believes an increase in lung cancer is foreseeable, especially with the high levels of contaminants such as tar, heavy metals, pesticides, rodenticides, and fungus now found in marijuana. xxvi xxvii xxviii
   
Today’s pot has been hybridized. THC (the psychoactive component) in the 60s and 70s was around 1-3 mg per joint. Today’s pot is 18-25 mg. xxix Concentrates can be upwards of 90 mg of THC. xxx This explains why calls to Colorado’s Poison Control Center have increased drastically. xxxi xxxii It also explains why hospitalizations from marijuana-only related exposures increased 148 percent. xxxiii
   
It may be counter-intuitive, but law enforcement officials in Colorado say that legalization has not removed the Black Market. In fact, it is thriving. xxxiv xxxv xxxvi xxxvii xxxviii
   
Because of the criminal cartels and Black Market activity surrounding marijuana, when Dr. Mourad Gabriel investigates marijuana grow sites in California, he is always accompanied by bullet-proof vested armed guards. xxxix His family has been threatened and his dogs poisoned. xl His group is the only group compiling data from marijuana grow sites. xli
   
Wearing chemical-resistant gloves that the military uses for chemical warfare, xlii he commonly finds extremely toxic rodenticides banned in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. One fourth of a teaspoon will kill a 600 pound lion. One sixteenth of a teaspoon will kill a man. xliii
   
Next to dead animals that have eaten the marijuana plants, he finds dead scavenger birds and flies, killed within seconds of ingesting the poisoned animal who ate the poisoned food/plant. And it’s being put on the marijuana plants that people are consuming for recreation. xliv xlv
   
Over a thousand pounds of fertilizer, many gallons of concentrated liquid fertilizer, many gallons of concentrated insecticides, and many pounds of other rodenticides and molluscicides are found at each grow site. These chemicals are contaminating the soil and water that humans and wildlife consume. xlvi xlvii
   
In Humboldt County alone (a very small California county), there are over 15,000 marijuana grow sites. Only 4 percent were approved for a permit, leaving the rest choosing to stay in the black market. xlviii
   
Marijuana plants require an enormous amount of water. One California site alone rerouted and pilfered over 29 million gallons of water in one year, and there are hundreds of thousands of sites. xlix
   
Illinois cannot afford more social ills, health consequences, demand for social services and a new black market problem. Illinois residents do not want marijuana in our schools and marijuana-impaired drivers on our roads. We do not need to legalize marijuana to see how it will affect Illinois’ workforce. We do not need to legalize marijuana to see how it will affect our wildlife and environment. There is ample detrimental evidence to dissuade us from embracing legalization as good public policy.
    There is much more information than what is mentioned here. Please read it, then call your state rep and senator to urge them to oppose legalization for the good of Illinois families.
    Kathy Valente is director of operations for the Illinois Family Institute. She wrote this column at the request of the Illinois Business Journal.

i “Economic and Social Costs of Legalized Marijuana” from Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, Nov. 15, 2018. http://www.ccu.edu/centennial/policy-briefs/marijuana-costs/. Executive Summary chart

ii https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/cannabis-in-the-emergency-room-2/ at 50:40; Dr. Karen Randall, M.D., Emergency Room Physician in Pueblo, CO, the 3rd busiest ER in the state.

iii Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Update 2018. https://rmhidta.org/files/D2DF/FINAL-%20Volume%205%20UPDATE%202018.pdf at page 71.

iv https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7E4HnjxDtE at 1:05:40; Jo McGuire, Chairman of the Board for the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association and is a Certified Professional Collector and Trainer (CPCT) and a Certified Designated Employee Representative Trainer (CDERT) who consults and trains professionals overseeing Safety Sensitive Employees in the compliance of federal DOT guidelines for drug and alcohol screening programs.

v Ibid. at 7:39

vi https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 53:51; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

vii Ibid. at 1:21

viii Ibid. at 45:53

ix https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7E4HnjxDtE at 44:24; Jo McGuire, Chairman of the Board for the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association and is a Certified Professional Collector and Trainer (CPCT) and a Certified Designated Employee Representative Trainer (CDERT) who consults and trains professionals overseeing Safety Sensitive Employees in the compliance of federal DOT guidelines for drug and alcohol screening programs.

xi https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 17:59; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

xii https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 16:09; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

xiii https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7E4HnjxDtE at 47:40; Jo McGuire, Chairman of the Board for the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association and is a Certified Professional Collector and Trainer (CPCT) and a Certified Designated Employee Representative Trainer (CDERT) who consults and trains professionals overseeing Safety Sensitive Employees in the compliance of federal DOT guidelines for drug and alcohol screening programs.

xiv Ibid. at 46:18

xv Ibid. at 47:24

xvii https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7E4HnjxDtE at 46:13; Jo McGuire, Chairman of the Board for the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association and is a Certified Professional Collector and Trainer (CPCT) and a Certified Designated Employee Representative Trainer (CDERT) who consults and trains professionals overseeing Safety Sensitive Employees in the compliance of federal DOT guidelines for drug and alcohol screening programs.

xviii https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/cannabis-in-the-emergency-room-2/ at 37:36; Dr. Karen Randall, M.D., Emergency Room Physician in Pueblo, CO, the 3rd busiest ER in the state.

xix https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/cannabis-in-the-emergency-room-2/ at 39:02; Dr. Karen Randall, M.D., Emergency Room Physician in Pueblo, CO, the 3rd busiest ER in the state.

xx Ibid. at 38:15

xxi Ibid. at 36:44

xxii Ibid. at 38:08

xxiii Ibid. at 1:20; 27:10

xxiv https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 44:46; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

xxv https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/legalization-has-not-helped-the-opioid-crisis/ at 17:05; Dr. Ken Finn, M.D., Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine and Pain Management, is licensed in Colorado, Utah and Arizona

xxvi Ibid. at 40:38

xxvii https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/environmental-disaster/ at 24:29; Dr. Mourad Gabriel has a Ph.D in Comparative Pathology with an emphasis on wildlife disease and is the co-founder of the Integral Research Center in California.

xxviii Ibid. at 25:49

xxix https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/cannabis-in-the-emergency-room-2/ at 8:52; Dr. Karen Randall, M.D., Emergency Room Physician in Pueblo, CO, the 3rd busiest ER in the state.

xxx Ibid. at 13:22

xxxi https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 41:03; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

xxxiii Ibid. pages 35

xxxiv Ibid. pages 53-62

xxxv https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 45:22; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

xxxvi https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/environmental-disaster/ at 17:39; Mourad Gabriel has a PhD in Comparative Pathology with an emphasis on wildlife disease and is the co-founder of the Integral Research Center in California.

xxxvii Ibid. at 11:22

xxxviii https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7E4HnjxDtE at 43:31; Jo McGuire, Chairman of the Board for the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association and is a Certified Professional Collector and Trainer (CPCT) and a Certified Designated Employee Representative Trainer (CDERT) who consults and trains professionals overseeing Safety Sensitive Employees in the compliance of federal DOT guidelines for drug and alcohol screening programs.

xxxix https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/environmental-disaster/ at 9:46; Dr. Mourad Gabriel has a Ph.D in Comparative Pathology with an emphasis on wildlife disease and is the co-founder of the Integral Research Center in California.

xl Ibid. at 56:56

xli Ibid. at 33:58

xlii Ibid. at 24:29

xliii Ibid. at 25:08

xliv Ibid. at 21:56

xlv Ibid. at 25:49

xlviIbid. at 32:13

xlvii https://noweedillinois.com/uncategorized/crime-driving-fatalities-black-market-all-up/ at 55:39; Chelsea Clarke, Strategic Intelligence Unit Supervisor for the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

xlviii Ibid. at 34:45

xlix Ibid. at 43:11