It was high time – pardon the pun – that marijuana was decriminalized/legalized in New Mexico. I applaud the efforts of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to help make that happen.
Although many criminal records of people convicted for marijuana-related offenses will be expunged, I believe the government should at least acknowledge and apologize for the hardships those convictions have caused people in terms of job restrictions, lack of SBA loans, Second Amendment rights, etc. They’ve stood on the backs of those folks for many years, and now that they’ve had an epiphany in the form of a new tax revenue stream, it all gets neatly cleaned up.
This is not your daddy’s weed.
For all the buzz generated – pardon again – regarding millions of dollars going to communities from marijuana taxation and licensing revenues, I have yet to hear about what percentage of those revenues will be allocated to addiction research and treatment for the ills caused by marijuana use.
Mental health experts have become more aware of the psychosis attributed to the habitual use of marijuana among young adults. There is already a shortage of mental health care professionals in New Mexico, particularly in rural communities, and many insurance carriers do not cover treatment.
Having said that, at this point it appears the revenues will be generated on the backs of the poor and psychologically susceptible.
More thought needs to be focused on this issue. We do not want and should not create another situation that alcohol and tobacco has burdened society with. Think for a minute of the strain that the physical illnesses derived from alcohol and tobacco have put on our health care system.
A doctor once told me that tobacco is more addictive than heroin, but it’s legal because of the revenue it generates for the tobacco producers and government. Same goes for the alcohol industry, the destroyer of lives and families.
Let’s not rush to line anyone’s pockets without analyzing the unintended results of our actions.