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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Mary Jane's Lies

By Janalee Minnich Gage


March 23, 2015
Monday PM

How do we come to terms with the vast what ifs? We can sit and argue, fight over what is right and what is wrong, you can verbally personally attack me, call me crazy, and call me names because that is all you have to use, I will state now, that we all have mud, and we all have a past, but we all have experiences worth respect.

So many are afraid to speak their peace because of the very nature of the topic, why is that? Why is it that the minute someone states they are against Pot being legalized they are then targeted for personal slander, nasty name calling? I have no issue with Medical marijuana however; it is a completely different breed from recreational pot, and yes as a state we legalized the use of marijuana so why are you still talking Janalee?

Well because I still believe there are a lot of things that need to be addressed before we start opening up our community to businesses selling and distributing marijuana and food products with THC.

One of these is, as a person with a disability I can speak only for myself and a few others that have voiced the same sentiment and that others you may believe use drugs to cope with pain. I can honestly say I do not use any pain medication prescription, narcotic, or natural, however; I do use the occasional Advil or Aleve.
If you don t believe me, I will take a UA for you, no problem. I have heard from several people, Well Janalee, you can now go get your medical marijuana for pain. Yes I could but I don't why you might ask considering I am allergic to Morphine in the pill form, muscle relaxers, and velium.

For the record I do not like how medication robs me of my brain, memory, and ability to function on a daily bases. Before my accident I did not use drugs, yes, I drank alcohol, I was a bartender, and I can probably say I over indulged but wouldn't say I had a drinking problem.

After my accident it took me about 7 years to realize that all the drugs I was on for the first 6 months after my accident robbed me of a lot of things. My memory was shot, my ability to stay on task was shot, and my ability to work effectively was compromised.

I had to keep lists, notes and take additional breaks in order to work effectively, and I left a lot of projects undone, and was an emotional wreck. It did not dawn on me till my ability to do all of these things came back that my brain had been affected.

What bothers me is a question regarding truths, can we ignore the common truths, can we deprive our children of the reality of telling half truths to achieve our selfish goals?

Yes Marijuana is natural, so does that make it good for you? Tobacco is natural too? But we know it causes cancer. Did you know that a Marijuana cigarette has more tar than a cigarette? So smoking just one joint is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes?

But you will tell me that it is a lie, won't you, you will tell me no one has died from smoking pot. What you won t tell me is that, they have died from being stoned and driving a vehicle, or that they took another's life while under the influence of Marijuana, but hey they didn't O.D!

For the sake of your own bottom dollar you will have no problem and you will sleep fine tonight when you open up your shop to edibles that are not FDA approved because the reports from Colorado and Washington State regarding the increase in people being submitted to the hospital for allergic and over indulgence in these products have shown that people can O.D. on these products.

You will blow off your children getting in trouble for minor consuming; by saying, It is a rite of passage, we all did it and look at us. I don t remember my parents ever saying this, and if I had gotten caught doing said rite of passage I knew I would have consequences, and I believe many of us grew up with the same consequences.
This so what attitude and idea that marijuana is not a problem is makes us as adults our children s worst enemy, because we tell them lies to meet our own needs.

Another lie I keep hearing; is that we think we are arresting people for possession of pot. News flash; people who get busted for supposed possession, lie about what they got busted for, look it up, and pull the court report. I have never seen anyone except a minor under the age of 21; get busted for possession of pot, unless it was over the legal limit, oh right, pot was legal before we made it legal again.

The truth is they don't want to tell you what they really got busted for, it is easier to say and justify their trespasses and indiscretions with using the lie of possessing a small amount of pot or a pipe, when in actuality they got busted for what they were doing while under the influence, driving a vehicle, stalking, assault, Domestic Violence, trespassing, selling or contributing to minors, our children.

We need to think about what we are doing, yes pot is legal, and yes there are people who do not abuse it and have no legal issues using it.

With that said, we need to consider several factors like the federal laws that prohibit the transportation of marijuana in and out of our community by air and water, the only way in and off the island, which last I checked is Federal jurisdiction and Pot is still illegal with the Federal Government.

Food products are not FDA regulated, or monitored so we do not know what we are getting and how it will affect our community as a whole.

We still have public places that drugs even pot is illegal to have, schools, public library, airport, rec center, so having the ability to monitor these areas is still important so that we are not giving out the wrong message. P.S. Your Boss can still require a drug free environment and you can be fired and drug tested for pot.

If you haven't been watching the news; check out the number of homes being blown up by Marijuana users trying to make hash oil. The issue here is that there are again no laws in place regarding this issue alone, and now Colorado and Washington are scrambling to figure out how to manage to keep people safe.

I ask only that Ketchikan consider watching Anchorage and other communities for two years, and see how things play out there before we allow, shops, and edibles. I also ask that we begin to educate the community on the truth, for example the differences between medical marijuana and recreational.

I have seen the devastation of drugs on family, friends and neighbors and we will be doing an injustice and a disservice to our future if we pretend that there are not serious consequences to use and distribution without truth.

Janalee Minnich Gage
Ketchikan, Alaska

About: "Janalee Minnich Gage is a photographer who recently did a show in October 2014 at the Main Street Gallery Called: Look, See, Hear, & Listen, which can currently be viewed at the Southeast Discover Center. The show is in Regards to the treatment of those with disabilities. Janalee lives with a disability and is a lifelong resident of Ketchikan; she is the daughter of Janet and John Minnich, Grand Daughter to Jane & James Church, Thelma and John Minnich, Great Granddaughter of Jack and Elaine Talbot, and the Great -Great Granddaughter of Harriet and Forest Hunt. She attended Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles from 1986 to 1990 to study a Bachelor in Photography."

Received March 20, 2015 - Published March 23, 2015


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