Marihuana Debate Continues

Posted on November 17, 2022 View all news

Joe Tilton

February 8, 2018

There is no end to debate of use of marihuana. Even if Michigan votes to legalize every method of using of the mind-altering drug, Federal Law can, and likely will, step in to halt its use.

Both sides have released even more information and arguments. Those against are quoting results from Colorado in an updated study dated last October. Proponents for use in Montcalm County continue to make their case, including David Overholt, the Sheridan resident who owns AAA Hydroponics.

Our articles have caused some level-headed discussion about marihuana. Many comments have come from readers, and it’s worth noting some very intelligent discussion for and against it. It was the Daily News front-page article that indicated elected officials are not in favor of “pot,” which is the joint, or smoked, form.

Overholt, in a response to the story, claims the officials “have done nothing to educate themselves” about marihuana as a “healthier alternative to the opiate epidemic.” His same response is critical of Sen. Judy Emmons and Rep. James Lower for their service in the Michigan Legislature, even how they were elected and their service regarding other subjects. Overholt continues, “Inaccuracies expressed in your article made by these elected officials is an embarrassment.”

As with the County Commissioners, Overholt wants seated officials, including Representative Lower, to be replaced. He supports his efforts with, “It is important to our community to elect someone that cares for the people and what their needs are, and they will show this come election time.” With this, it is obvious Overholt wants a wholesale replacement of elected officials in Montcalm County and Lansing.

It’s clear that for people in physical pain, cannabis oil is at least one solution, and it’s also worth noting that the opioid-death rate most likely can be reduced with the same marihuana product. However, and it’s a big however, mixing marihuana and alcohol should never happen. With no warnings, either at the liquor store or by the marihuana dealer and/or dispensary that the two used at the same time can be catastrophic, means somebody must launch a public-awareness campaign about the combined use.

Whether you believe Colorado statistics are legitimate or not, the rise in traffic deaths there after marihuana legalization in 2013 is reason for extreme caution.

For those who say, “nobody has ever died from marihuana use,” consider this one-of-several stories from the October 2017 study in Colorado.

“A former star athlete at Mead High School is accused of fatally running over an 8-year-old Longmont girl on her bike, told police he thought he’d hit the curb – until he saw the girl’s stepfather waving at him, according to an arrest affidavit released July 29, 2016.

Kyle Kenneth Couch, 20, turned right on a red light at the same time Peyton Knowlton rolled into the crosswalk on May 20. The girl was crushed by the right rear tire of the Ford F-250 pickup, and died from her injuries. Couch, of Longmont, surrendered to police Friday on an arrest warrant that included charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs. One blood sample collected more than two hours after the collision tested positive for cannabinoids, finding 1.5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. That’s below Colorado’s legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter. Deputy Police Chief Jeff Satur said the law allows the DUI charge when those test results are combined with officer observations of impaired behavior and marihuana evidence found inside Couch’s pickup.

The presumptive sentencing range for vehicular homicide, a Class 3 felony, is four to 12-years in prison.

Couch attends Colorado Mesa University where, in 2015, he appeared in six games as a linebacker as a red-shirt freshman for the football team. In 2013 Couch became the first athlete from Mead High School to win a state title when he captured the Class 4A title at 195 pounds to cap his senior season with a 49-1 record.

Couch, now 20, has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of marihuana in connection with the death of 8-year-old Payton Knowlton.”

From recent discussions with Montcalm County law enforcement officials, it’s evident that the dangers of alcohol with marihuana are not known.

While there are benefits from the marihuana plant, the issue deserves much more study, which should be legal in the United States. Until claims on both sides are scientifically proven, we must rely on England and Australia to provide such science. We already know that use by a person under 21-years results in brain changes that lowers IQ, affecting earning power and quality of life for the rest of the user’s life.

The debate continues, driven by profit and public-safety fears. Any mind-altering drug must be handled with extreme care and caution, including alcohol. As we watch what “pot” is doing to Colorado and its introduction into California’s society, we must pay attention, consider all effects on society, and ask the question posed by Commissioner Yoder in Stanton, “Does the benefit outweigh the cost to society?” It may, or it may not.

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