Pubdate: Thu, 27 Oct 2016
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2016 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Todd Mitchem


While USA TODAY's editorial "Marijuana on the ballot" was cautious and
well-intentioned in nature, it misses several key issues about
legalized marijuana. There are several factors I urge everyone to consider.

As a father, I too share your concerns around children. However, I
share far more serious concerns around the way we medicate our kids
with pharmaceuticals, media, technology and the many distractions
eroding our culture. The problem with more prohibition around this
plant is the lack of education and conversation. In Colorado a
dialogue has now been forced around marijuana because of its legality.
The point is that as it pertains to kids, marijuana is something to
talk about and as we say in our house, "Just not yet. This is for adults."

You do a fair job of mentioning the decrimalization aspect of
marijuana, but you failed to discuss the positive aspects of it on our
economy, businesses and employment here in our state.

At last estimation, there are more than 10,000 employees in the
marijuana industry in Colorado, a state with roughly 5.5 million
residents. Now, when you estimate the same percentage of potential
employment in a state like California alone, you could see a potential
gain of over 100,000 jobs. Incidentally, those jobs typically pay
upward of $12 an hour at their lowest rate and employ people who
consume marijuana, a deal-breaker for many more mainstream companies.

What we should all be concerned about is a black market in marijuana,
which causes more problems for youth, funds cartels, and wreaks havoc
on law enforcement who should be spending time pursuing actual
dangerous matters.

Do I mean to say that jobs and education are the only challenges we
face with marijuana? No, but the challenges can only be resolved in a
regulated, carefully designed industry and in a legal environment
where consumers can veer away from the dangerous black market.
Meanwhile, they can build an educational environment and, at the same
time, put good people to work. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Todd Mitchem

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