Politicians taking a moral stance towards marijuana is short-sighted

I think it’s both sad and misguided when politicians argue about marijuana. Recently in Santa Fe, NM, the city council voted to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession. It then had to vote to adopt the administrative procedure that sets the path for contesting the fine if caught with said small amount. As usual, the council was divided and the Mayor voted in favor of the procedure to break the tie.

However, also as usual, taking a moral stance towards a substance is short-sighted. One of the councilors was quoted as saying, ““I think we’re just inviting more drug dealers into our community.” Now, this particular councilor had the unfortunate experience of losing his 32 year old daughter to chronic substance abuse, so I can understand his anger towards all illicit substances and I offer him love and light. However, whether or not the council approved the administrative procedure, Santa Fe (and all of Northern New Mexico) already has a severe problem with opiates and alcohol that stem from, in a large part, a dying economy. Santa Fe has very little to offer our youth; the cream of the crop leaves and those who stay tend to struggle.

Rather than making unsupported statements (I’d like to see the evidence that suggests the correlation between de-criminalizing marijuana and an increase in drug dealers), politicians should find creative ways of providing a future for our youth such that the need for substances diminishes. I often teach that nothing in and of itself is good or evil, only its use makes it so. By making substances the problem, politicians miss the core issues associated with substance abuse. While I do not believe there is evidence to suggest any relationship between marijuana legalization and an increase in drug dealers, I KNOW there’s evidence that suggests a strong relationship between poverty, education levels, and general health. Addiction is yet another outcome of generational poverty; if politicians want to curb substance abuse, they should find ways for people to participate in the greater economy.

I treat Substance Abuse and Addiction. I know that the legal system has VERY LITTLE to offer those who struggle substance abuse disorders and Addiction. For the most part, the legal system adds to the systemic cycle of trauma that persists the anxiety/shame cycle. If the City Council and Mayor of my dying city would like a crash course in the mechanics of Addiction, all they have to do is ask. Otherwise, they shouldn’t speak about topics about which they are clearly misinformed.

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