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Pro-Marijuana Protesters Get Into Scuffle With Republican Representative
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Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard

Pro-Marijuana Protesters Get Into Scuffle With Republican Representative

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The first wave of protests against the legalization of marijuana has appeared in Maryland. Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland was headed to his office yesterday when two red-hatted protesters associated with DCMJ, a pro-marijuana group, attempted to follow him into his office. One of them was hit by the door and stumbled back into the hallway.

The protesters were part of a small group carrying signs alleging that Harris worked for "big Pharma." According to the DCMJ website, the demonstrators were there to protest Harris' opposition to using marijuana as a treatment for the opioid crisis. Shortly after the door to Harris' office slammed, the two lay on the floor in protest.

When Capitol police arrived, another protester told an officer that Harris had slammed the door on the foot of one of the protesters who was lying down. One of the protesters was handcuffed by the police while the other remained on the floor. The smell of cannabis wafted through the air as someone had lit a joint.

The protester whose foot had allegedly been crushed by the door remained on the ground as officers crowded around her. "Can you stand at all, ma'am?" one of the officers asked the woman, who had initially been standing after the door-foot collision had taken place, just moments before. A medic looked over the protester.

Eventually, she was wheeled away from Harris' office in a wheelchair and handcuffs.

According to a spokesperson for Harris, the congressman was in his office when the protest began and promptly left after it started.

Harris released a statement later in the afternoon condemning the protesters' actions.

"Today's aggression by protesters who disagree with my position on the legalization of recreational marijuana demonstrates the problem with political discourse today. We all must agree to have a civilized debate when disagreement occurs. My parents fled communist Eastern Europe where people with different political opinions were harassed and punished, and it has no place in America," Harris said.

Such an incident was to be expected. For example, in Illinois, a police officer came up with an original argument against the legalization of marijuana, which led to protests.

There is a special type of bloodhound service dog in the Illinois K-9 police unit, which has at least 300 animals that are able to recognize drugs.

Training one dog lasts from eight to sixteen weeks and costs from $10-20,000; after that, the animal works with the police on average for six to eight years. Chad Larner, training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County, said in an interview with the local publication the Pantagraph, that after marijuana legalization, most of the dogs in Illinois will have to be put to sleep. According to him, they were taught to recognize drugs from an early age, and an attempt to change these instincts will be a “cruel abuse” of the animals’ psyche.

His words caused a storm of negative emotions, but there were many who supported him. There were even those who suggested putting the animals to sleep en masse.

Marijuana has already been legalized in many states. There are plans to implement new laws allowing marijuana throughout the United States by next year.

But the debate about legalization is ongoing, and it should be said that those who advocate the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes have already made significant progress as far as the adoption of laws.

But opponents aren’t giving up and promise to react harshly to any cases of drug detection. Many doctors, including experts of biochemical institutes, declare that marijuana is a gateway to heavier drugs.

If legalization happens, then first of all, students, teenagers, and others of weak minds will be drawn to it. At this age, they really want to experiment and feel like an adult. Smoking tobacco after all, too, often begins in school years, and quitting smoking is much more difficult. Experienced smokers can confirm this.

Authorities and anti-drug experts fear a return to the past, to the 70's and first half of the 80's, when the drug epidemic swept the United States. The peak of illegal drug usage was in 1979-1980. The tightening of legislation and counter-narcotics propaganda has led to a 50% reduction in the number of users of both “light” and “heavy” drugs over the past 20 years. It’s inspiring, isn’t it? You can understand the federal government, which didn't want to create an unnecessary headache. After all, so much effort has been spent, and the success is evident.

Yes, authorities have admitted, as if responding to young people rallying for marijuana legalization, they have tried weed, but if they were to remove all prohibitions, they would not only run the risk of repeating the experience of previous years, when drug addiction was a huge problem, but would create an even worse situation. Permission to sell marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, would be the first step, followed by others. And the experience of the Netherlands? But we live in the United States — a country with slightly different cultural traditions.

Saying “no” to marijuana legalization, the administration of President Bush, who, according to some journalists, himself had problems with illegal drugs in his youth, and not only “light” drugs, decided to allocate additional, multi-million subsidies to such well-known and reputable centers to combat drug addiction, as a National Institute on Drug Abuse and a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, as has his predecessor President Bill Clinton.

"We've already two legal drugs on sale," said Joseph A. Califano Jr., a former United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and the founder and now chairman of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. "It's about alcohol and nicotine. At least 60 million of our fellow-citizens are avid smokers; there are from 15 to 20 million alcohol addicts in the country, while approximately from 4 to 6 million are drug addicts. This figure could increase many times if marijuana and other drugs become as readily available as alcohol or tobacco. The first victims of drug legalization will be children, who even today, under existing prohibitions, quite easily buy beer or cigarettes, freely sold in our stores. The growth of drug addiction will inevitably cause a new surge in crime, especially serious offenses."

Califano Jr. draws more attention to the social consequences of legalization—a ruse, perhaps. According to one study conducted by his organization, more than 50% of American high school students consumed alcohol in the month preceding the survey, and 38% — marijuana.

Law enforcement agencies are already focusing on the fact that traces of marijuana have been found in the blood of a considerable number of people involved in traffic accidents.

These are the negatives that come into conflict with the arguments of those who are trying to convince society of the harmlessness of marijuana.

Author: USA Really