As I watched the breaking news of the Oregon shooting at Umpqua Community College, my first thought was Refocus, the second was what about the children? College students are someone’s child. They are not safe. No one is really. But we will protect them from marijuana by God. Refocus
As many were celebrating the end of prohibition in Oregon, I couldn’t help but wonder how many resources we will continue to squander on a fairly benign plant that anyone could grow for free in their fenced back yard or closet. I thought of the police resources that will be used to protect us from this plant and the industry around it. I envisioned guarded front doors at the grand opening of legal marijuana businesses. I remembered a mass shooting in a town a few miles away from a dispensary in California being raided by local, state and federal enforcers I was watching live a year or so back. They have had a legal market for decades. Refocus
Of course law enforcement needs to make sure that a 1/4 oz. of plant matter is not heavy and in the proper container, while others watch cameras of growing plant and the people watering them. In cities where prohibition is still the law of the land, there are school shootings too. Where are those police resources being spent? I will tell you they are spent talking to confidential informants, gathering warrants, busting down doors looking for a joint, processing otherwise law abiding productive citizens into the system, testifying in court and supervising marijuana consumers after what feels like coerced plea deals. Refocus
Violent crime clearance rates are abysmal, rape kits sit untested for years as we test green leafy substances. Marijuana is the focus because it is easy and makes money. Communities don’t agree with this policy. I go out in neighborhood and talk with community leaders and families, they talk of their fears. The fear of law enforcement overreach, mistrust. Why I say? Because I can defend my family, my property and myself against a common criminal. Refocus
Mental illness and addiction must be addressed with healthcare professionals. Criminal justice and punishment have proven ineffective and counter productive. We prefer to hide these people behind bars so we don’t have to see the ugliness of addiction. We stigmatize and criminalize our loved ones for hurting themselves. We can’t find them help if they want it. I have lost too many people that just needed an outreached hand and offer of help, human interaction, the truth. Instead they get a knock on the door (if they are lucky), a pair of handcuffs and a jail cell for their use or abuse. What we are doing is inhumane. It is a crime against humanity. We have to decide who we are afraid of and who we are just mad at. We must end the insanity. Refocus
[su_box title=”About Sharon Ravert, Executive Director of Peachtree NORML”] Sharon is a wife, mother, caregiver, business owner and life long resident of Georgia. Her eyes were opened when her family was traumatized by the “War on Drugs”, she uses her ears to listen to other victims and her voice to tell their stories and educate others on the direct and indirect harms of prohibition and how it affects us all. Sharon has been a guest on numerous radio stations across the country as well as local and regional TV news affiliates. As well as LadyBud Magazine, HighTimes Magazine and Main Street. She was recently nominated by Mass/Cann NORML for National Female Activist of the Year. Sharon has traveled the country speaking on various topics including drug policy, activism, southern strategies and harm reduction. She produces a segment on 420radio.com highlighting the stories and work of other women in the fight to end marijuana prohibition. Email Sharon[/su_box]
Very well stated Sharon! REFOCUS!
I can’t help but notice that all these “mass shootings” have two things in common: 1) they occur in “gun-free” zones, and 2) the politicians and media jump all over ’em as an excuse to steal the 2nd Amendment rights of all those who AREN’T out there shooting anyone. That said — your article is, of course, quite right, Sharon. An evil plant deserves far more attention from law enforcement, now doesn’t it?
Right on, sister!
As always, you are 100% on point, Sharon!! In fact, that should be the talking point for all states that are not yet “RE-Legalized”! Refocus law enforcement resources, refocus education resources, refocus revenues and how they are spent, and most of all, refocus what IS criminal and what IS 100% natural and NORML.
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