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I get it that this is a free country and the majority rules democratically and all that, but when a selfish, uninformed majority (barely) legalizes recreational use of pot, well, it’s like stupid on steroids. Someone very close to me is addicted to drugs so if I get a little poignant with my opinion, forgive me, but in my family addiction is an awful, awful thing. We count ourselves blessed that so far it hasn’t cost any family lives. Just friends. That’s blessed when all you’ve lost is friends.

I know. Pot’s not addictive, right? Wrong! Estimates are that 9 percent of all who use marijuana will become dependent on it. That number jumps to 17 percent for those who begin using in their teens or earlier and to 25 to 50 percent among daily users. That 50% is when our kids starting using daily. A 2013 study showed marijuana accounted for 4.2 million of the estimated 6.9 million Americans dependent on or abusing illicit drugs. And this is not the pot from my formative years. In the 1990’s the THC level in pot ran between 4% and 8%. Today’s version runs from 50% to 80% THC content.

I went through drug rehab in the 70’s while serving in the military. I was too scared, being a hick from Wyoming, to try anything but marijuana but within a year’s time I went from high functioning in my job to not being able to grab any part of my life with both hands. I didn’t just get stoned, sleep it off, do my job and get stoned again, etc. Well, that is sort of the way it went except getting stoned became more important than my job so I started doing a worse job when I was straight at work and even worse when I started going to work stoned. At the time I was stationed in the far East, Philippines, China, etc and those more experienced than me said it was really good stuff, probably in the 8% range based on what we know today.

Oh by the way. This post has nothing to do with life insurance. I take the liberty of ranting off subject every few hundred posts. On this, the occasion of my 1900th post on this blog, with my daughter in rehab, the town we live in being known as a “Meth town” and our lives being complicated by the fact that our children and grandchildren are no longer concerned or even cautious about the gateway drug marijuana, I am concerned about the direction of my community, state and country.

I’ve lived in Colorado for most of the last 18 years, except for two years my wife and I lived in New Mexico. It was during that time that pot was legalized. We’ve been back only a few months but the changes are alarming. In our small town pot stores are easier to find than convenience stores. Just like liquor when I was young it isn’t rocket science to get someone old enough to buy it for you if you aren’t “legally” old enough. DUI related to pot is rapidly increasing as are the number of people harmed by “legal” marijuana products. And the increase in usage is notable in that there was a 22% increase in use between the year before and after legalization. Washington had a 20% increase. The US had a 4% increase for the same period. This isn’t the proverbial good idea gone bad, but rather a really bad idea going really bad with no rational voices in government suggesting the whole idea be revisited. Since no one could predict the facts ahead of time and this whole thing, while proposed as a law, was really pushed through as a grand experiment in social gullibility, isn’t it a prudent and reasonable thing to let the voters have another go based on actual experience.

Bottom line. It’s one thing when a person knowingly or unknowingly puts their life into a death spiral by starting to take drugs. It is an entirely different thing when the government gives credence and legality to the temptation for people to unknowingly enter that death spiral believing that the government has their best interests in mind. Call or email if you have any questions. My name is Ed Hinerman and I think a sober look at our future is a good idea.