Getting in front of the marijuana momentum

Opinion: Columns

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By John Hubbuch

On Jan. 1, Illinois joined 19 other states and the District of Columbia, which have legalized marijuana for medical use. As of that same date, Oregon and Colorado residents don't even have to be sick, they can smoke up just because they don't feel groovy.

In my youth I did not regularly smoke marijuana. The seven or eight times I did followed the consumption of 5-6 beers, so my cannabis high was diluted, so to speak. Part of my hesitancy to toke was a fear that I would be arrested and that my legal career would be derailed before it left the station. 

I made my roommate build a tent-like structure to contain his smoke when he fired up in our dorm. He called his invention the Hashtro Dome. Another time I was in a Phoenix suburb when the idiots I was visiting decided to go to a midnight Betty Boop film festival buzzed up, but the dope fell out of the car on the driveway of his parents' home. We hustled back to retrieve the incriminating evidence and calamity was avoided. The Lord must look after dopers.

Despite my historical misgivings, I've now decided that legalizing marijuana is a good idea. Life is often hard and boring. It is always terminal. So if smoking weed helps you make it through the night, the winter, or life itself, then light up. I don't see why society permits, even encourages, booze, shopping, porn, reality TV, video games and fast food to take our minds off our problems, but not marijuana.

In fact Oak Park should be in the forefront of this legalization movement. The village is crawling with baby-boomer pot-smokers. Just look around. I've gotta figure we lead the state in shoulder-length grey hair (men and women). All those weedy, prairie-preserving front yards have to belong to tokers. I bet you would be surprised how many locked Oak Park closets emit the warm glow of artificial lighting for pot plants. 

Marijuana is a growth industry, and we need to position ourselves for the warm, hazy future. We should be encouraging the doctors who write the prescriptions. We will need more head shops to sell marijuana paraphernalia. I have no doubt that junk food sales will spike. We'll need more live music venues. FitzGerald's needs some Oak Park competition. Conservatives love small businesses, and liberals love locally sourced food. Win-win.

 I would suggest that the village board convene a special meeting to discuss the important business opportunity presented by the new medical marijuana legislation. We can begin positioning our village as the dope capital of Illinois when this recreational drug is legalized for personal use. 

I don't know if the special meeting will be productive, but it will certainly be mellow. Fritos will be served.

Reader Comments

17 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: February 14th, 2014 5:05 PM

!@ Next generation: At Heartland you must disclose if you have had a tattoo recently. The question is would you rather have a sober brain surgeon or a boozer/doper coming off a buzzed weekend? I say give up the infantile aspects of life, strive for something better. Don't waste your time on feeling good, do good.Life is short, don't waste life by being fuzzy. Some jobs pay more if you are drug.booze free ie. construction. Please select surgeon coming off a weekend high for your children.

An alcohol-related traffic death each hour   

Posted: February 14th, 2014 9:10 AM

Its not IF we see added pot-related traffic deaths, the real debate is how many. It is plausible to see 2,000 added vehicle deaths from legal pot nationwide. It's taken decades to get alcohol deaths down: tougher laws and groups like MADD. I'd like to see zero tolerance for pot-impaired drivers behind the wheel. Tough penalties, too: immediate license revocation, jail time. I'm equal opportunity; I'd like to see the same for alcohol, too.

An alcohol-related traffic death each hour   

Posted: February 14th, 2014 9:09 AM

Here are numbers on the fatality estimate for marijuana-impaired driving: U.S. drug-related vehicle deaths, 6,207 (CDC, 2010). Marijuana % of all drug use: 77% (CDC, 2010). Resulting estimate of marijuana-related traffic deaths: 4,812. Assuming legalizing pot increases use by 50%, we could see a 50% increase in pot-related traffic deaths: 2,406. Be conservative, and 2,000 is not unreasonable.

Next generation  

Posted: February 14th, 2014 9:03 AM

Brian, you can have a tattoo and still give blood. At least by Red Cross guidelines. But who says you can't be a doper or a drinker and not be a perfectly fine brain surgeon? Most people these days just don't want their dentist to be high/drunk RIGHT NOW. We don't care what you did on the weekend.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: February 14th, 2014 8:25 AM

The young man didn't know he had an option to save a life or get a tattoo.Live your life to a higher standard.Donate blood,mentor,tutor help someone.Dont sit in a room and blow dope or slam 12 ouncers. Give up the infantile life style of self centeredness and extend yourself to a higher standard. A better world awaits you, Give up the silliness and do something, anything, positive.You are a better person than that, but you must strive at being a better person. Your life may depend on striving.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: February 14th, 2014 8:11 AM

Why do we argue for the lessor? Both substances are bad for you. You need a tooth extracted. A dentist will stick a needle into you mouth and pliers and remove the tooth. Do you want the dentist to be a doper,boozer or clean and sober?If you are a doper/boozer why hold the dentist to a higher standard?Worked with a young person who got his first tattoo. Very proud of the tattoo. He told me I should get a tattoo. told him if I get a tattoo,I cant donate blood to save a life.

joe from south oak park  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 3:47 PM

Uncommon - it's either that or 'Alcohol' is assuming that because pot is illegal that nobody uses it... thus the increase in accidents. an equally silly proposition.

Cherry Garcia from Shakedown Street USA  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 3:45 PM

More people die from alcohol-related deaths than LSD-related deaths. Therefore, legalize LSD.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 3:29 PM

@Alcohol, you aren't suggesting we make alcohol illegal are you? We already tried that and it didn't work, just like the drug war isn't working. You cannot control stupidity. People need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law for driving intoxicated/high. I'd never smoke weed, but I'm tired of the collateral damage from it being illegal.

Next generation  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 3:24 PM

Over age 65 it's something like a 20 point "against" legalization, nationally. But my generation in our 20's and 30's favor fully legalizing pot by huge margins. Overall, a majority of Americans support access. It's a matter of when we legalize marijuana, not if.

An alcohol-related traffic death each hour  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 3:11 PM

Each year, about 30,000 American die in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Nearby on the Ike, two well-publicized drunk driving accidents took 4 lives in the past few months alone. If pot is no more dangerous that alcohol, than will we add only 30,000 pot-related traffic deaths each year?

Not so fast...  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 12:40 PM

Dirk - I would agree with you if so many of those who are left less functional by ingesting plants dug up out of the ground did not expect the government to then provide for their needs. The number of drug users receiving aid at the federal and state level is not inconsequential, which gives the government a reasonable interest in controlling certain substances.

OP Res 253 from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 11:44 AM

I trust all support lifting onerous taxes and purchase limitations on tobacco. It is disingenuous to argue that smoking pot should be a personal choice (agree) and that we should unite to preclude smoking butts. Both are dangerous and addictive. Marijuana is much more harmful to the forming brains of adolescents than alcohol or tobacco. I'm not preaching, just hoping to shut down the hypocritical preachers.

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 10:55 AM

War on drugs has been a complete and total failure. Far too many lives ruined from being caught up in judicial system, not to mention the violent black market that profits from drugs being illegal.

Oh brother from Oak Park  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 10:40 AM

Without the easy money of mairjuana sales, gangs can focus on their other revenue streams, like cocaine and heroin sales, as well as extortion. It's a win-win situation!

joe from south oak park  

Posted: February 13th, 2014 8:37 AM

I fail to see how pot is more harmful than alcohol. It would make a lot of sense for the government to simply regulate and tax pot in the same fashion as booze. This would cause a loss of income by street gangs and also in the drug trade in general. Had we learned nothing from prohibition?

Dirk from Oak Park   

Posted: February 11th, 2014 10:48 PM

Shameful that one falsely imagines that we need to get the approval of a government body to take a plant out of the ground and consume it.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2017

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad