Paul James: Get pot facts straight
To the editor:To the editor:
To the editor:
As the Committee to Grow Craig gains momentum and the time of petitioning grows near, I can't help but cringe at the fear mongering and misconceptions about marijuana being infinitely perpetuated by certain individuals. The biggest fallacy I keep seeing comes from Mr. John Pogline. I do believe that he is absolutely entitled to his opinion, as is each and every one of us. However, I also believe that if you are to be speaking to the public in any manner, you should do your best to provide true statements. It seems to me that certain individuals believe that marijuana remains illegal in Craig and Moffat County. This is a blatant falsehood.
It is legal to possess one ounce or less of marijuana on your person, anywhere in Colorado, and because that is written into our state constitution, that right may not be infringed upon. It is legal for a person over 21 to grow up to six plants within their house. The only thing that is illegal involving recreational marijuana here in both city and county is the business surrounding it. Our committee is not attempting to legalize marijuana here, that was done in November of 2012. Our committee is trying to legalize marijuana business in our community. I do have to agree with Mr. Pogline on one point, however, recreational marijuana business IS about more than money. It is about bringing new industry to Craig, growing our community, and helping it to sustain itself.
Our coal mines are under attack every year by people who don't understand the value that industry has to our local economy. The conversion at the power plant will be over in a few short years. We don't claim that the marijuana industry will solve these problems, but our goal is to provide a starting point to help save our small town, a buffer zone to help prevent a possible economic catastrophe. This industry will bring more young people to the area, people who will be looking to buy houses, businesses who will be looking to build warehouses and lease properties, and a new source of taxes that will only target customers of recreational marijuana and tourists. The only moral issue I see here is that which happens when others try to impose their morals upon others. I for one, believe in freedom. Freedom means that sometimes people will say and do things that you don't like. As long as it doesn't affect you, you are free to either complain, or turn your head.
Freedom also means that if you don’t like something, you don’t have to partake in it, and that’s fine too. Freedom means having a choice. This debate constantly reminds me of the gun control debate. Some people believe banning guns will get rid of them. The more logical people believe that if you ban guns, only criminals will have them. This is very true, and the same exact circumstances are applied in the situation regarding marijuana. The black market here is alive and well, and that is a factual guarantee. I do not believe that allowing recreational shops here will completely stop it, but it will hinder it greatly. As for now there are people growing well above their allowed limit of plants and selling marijuana on the streets. These people do not pay any taxes on the product, do not subject to testing for potency or pesticides and absolutely are not checking IDs before making a sale. Those people are criminals, and without allowing recreational shops here, more money goes into their pockets, and the likelihood of it getting into the hands of minors is greatly increased. So soon when the petition is going around town, and later when it reaches the ballot, I urge people to vote to grow Craig, to cultivate prosperity for our quaint little town, and to vote for small business.
Paul JamesPaul James
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Voting rights advocates from Disability Law Colorado will be in Craig to conduct a presentation addressing voting rights, accessible voting, and voter registration on Aug. 17.