Pubdate: Fri, 01 Apr 2016
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 2016 New Haven Register
Author: Randall Beach


Thanks, all of you spirited online commenters and phone-callers, for 
your varied and assertive messages reacting to my column last week in 
which I endorsed a proposed state law to legalize marijuana in the 
Nutmeg state.

Somebody called me a "liberal" (ouch!) and hung up. Another person 
branded me "a well-known leftist" (I plead guilty to that, too) who 
has "a false regard for mankind, coupled with the usual cynical 
disregard for what your proposed policies would do to real living and 
breathing people."

That particular onliner added: "Your ideas can elicit only one 
response from those who love this country: Viva Trump!"

Enough said. Except this: Consider the source.

There was another online commenter, who is "empowered by Trump," 
attacking state Sen. Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, for his very 
obvious acknowledgment that legalizing marijuana would provide 
"significant revenue" for our cash-strapped state. "When all that 
money is gone, where will you turn next?" the Trumper asked. "Prostitution?"

And yet another commenter wrote: "I told you, Randy, you were just 
sipping beer at Toad's." (Well, that's also true, but what has that 
got to do with legalizing marijuana?) This person added: "No wonder 
your thinking is so clouded" and said states such as Colorado and 
Oregon, where marijuana is now legal, have "some of the highest 
numbers of serial killers in this country per capita" and "attract a 
lot of strange people."

You could say the same thing about online comment spaces.

But "Rudy Right" wrote: "Beach is right on this one. It's 
(legalization) going to happen. That said, the question from the 
business angle is whether the state uses some common sense and gets 
in on the action sooner rather than later. Sooner gives us an earlier 
advantage in terms of all the business it will create, which in turn 
will give taxpayers some needed relief."

Rudy also addressed the argument that marijuana is supposedly a 
"gateway drug" to heroin, etc. He noted, "Someone who says they went 
from pot to hard drugs was already headed in that direction because 
of their own free will. Pot didn't cause them to move on to harder 
drugs; they just happened to try pot on their search for a harder high."

Brian Kelly wrote: "Marijuana is just about the safest drug out there 
and much less dangerous than perfectly legal, widely accepted, 
endlessly advertised, often glorified alcohol consumption."

Kelly offered some gentle philosophy for us: "A little live and let 
live goes a real long way in ensuring a very long, 
stress-and-anger-free life. If you don't like marijuana, then don't 
use it. Allow others to make their own choices."

I also welcomed a taped message from a Madisonman who guessed that he 
and I are from the same approximate age group. "I'm a guy who's a 
child of the '70s. It wasn't a question of who smoked pot but who 
didn't. Everybody smoked it!"

He said those smokers "went on to productive careers: lawyers, 
judges, doctors, firemen, policemen, politicians." He said he also 
has had a fine career and raised several "healthy, wonderful children."

"Yeah, maybe I've smoked a little weed in my life," he said, "but 
I've had no ill effects whatsoever."

As for that "gateway drug" claim, he said he knows many, many people 
who ares still "quietly enjoying marijuana. And none of them - none - 
have ever gone beyond smoking marijuana."

He predicted that soon another New England state, perhaps 
Massachusetts or Maine, will legalize the stuff. "And then people 
(from Connecticut) will just go for a nice ride and do what they have 
to do to get their goods. And Connecticut will lose while the other 
states are generating revenue. Our state should be more proactive."


While we're on the subject of marijuana vs. alcohol, you might be 
interested to see the list of "the top drunkest Connecticut cities" 
as chosen by the website RoadSnacks,

The rankings, which include towns as well as cities, were based on: 
number of bars and pubs per capita; number of wineries per capita; 
number of liquor stores per capita; each city's or town's 
"drunk-related tweets"; and its divorce rate.

Branford scored number 1 on this top 10 list, helped mightily by the 
array of great breweries that have opened there in recent years. In 
our geographic area, the others winning recognition were Milford at 
number five and New Haven at number six.


"Time is running out," with Opening Day for the New York Yankees 
coming next Monday. That's the headline on the latest full-page 
newspaper ads bought by the YES Network as its fees dispute continues 
with Comcast. I wish I had some good news for my fellow Yankee fans. 
But as I keep telling those anxious folks who are calling me, don't 
give up hope yet. However: isn't it irritating to see YES spending 
millions of dollars (by its own admission) on these ads when this 
argument is all about money?
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom