By Joe Tilton
Life is a struggle. Then there are days that become anniversaries to remind of life-changing events. Some are asked for and others thrust upon us, loading our emotions with joy or grief. Today, the 24th would have been another birthday for my son. The annual reminder of the loss of his potential causes regret and pain of his use of illegal (marijuana) and legal drugs (alcohol) that took his life.
There are hundreds and perhaps thousands more parents who would have moved heaven and earth to stop the carnage. It took his tragic death at age 44 to be wakened from the lie that “marijuana never killed anyone.” Tragically, it’s not possible to assemble his ashes back into the person who told his dad, “I love you” every time we talked. And even as proof mounts and bodies are buried as a result of this “powerful drug,” as one county resident declared at a Montcalm Township meeting, profiteers continue their push to deliver delusion and death upon Michigan.
Arizona is where our state was a year ago. An initiative petition is being circulated to bring them down, just as Colorado is quite literally falling into financial ruin from marijuana alone.
Sally Shindel lost her son Andy to suicide after he wrote a note to her reading, “Marijuana took my soul.” Sally and I have become friends in a common cause of informing parents with living children to never embrace marijuana. You do so at the risk of losing your most precious gifts. Sally writes, “Do you know anyone who takes Snythroid, Crestor, Lyrica or Januvia for fun? Neither do I. Medicine is for health care purposes, strictly dosed and prescribed. When people start thinking of medicine as “recreational,” you get the opioid crisis. What if Oxycontin or fentanyl or other opioids were made legal for “recreation?” Yet big corporations behind medical marijuana are telling us that the same marijuana products they sell as “medicine” should also be made available for recreational use to anyone who wants them. Not even Purdue Pharma, maker of Oxycotin, was that brazen. They need Arizonans to swallow their twisted argument that medicine can be taken for fun. If Big Pharma came asking you to sign a petition to make their drugs available for recreational use, you’d laugh.”
We in Montcalm County need not look at what other states are doing. The twisted argument is presented right here, in places such as Crystal Township, by people who don’t care what this “powerful drug” does to you. Their care stops when the money is handed over and you accept whatever dose or concentration you happen to ingest.
Google “purpose of recreational activities,” and you get “…culture and art, recreation, leisure and sports activities play an important role in communities. Their benefits include improving the health and well-being of individuals, contributing to the empowerment of individuals and promoting the development of inclusive communities.” Anything under “recreation” that causes devastation of community through death, loss of workforce, family tragedy, psychosis, aggression and other problems, does not and cannot come under “recreation.”
If my son and I could not be together on his birthday, a call was made that began with singing “Happy Birthday” to him. Although the call could not be made this morning, the song was sung anyway, in hopes and somehow he could hear his dad celebrate his birth and life. Marijuana did not “recreate” him. All the pot in the world is not worth his life. It hurts to know his death was needless, and taken by a dealer in Florida who enjoyed his money, took his life and broke my heart.
Happy Birthday, Jody.
P.S. Oxycotin was never legal for “recreational” use, yet the company pleaded guilty to misleading the public about Oxycotin’s risk of addiction and agreed to pay $600-million, in one of the largest pharmaceutical settlements in history. Perhaps the same will happen to big marijuana.