The following is a submission for The Hub Debate. Participants in submit 500 words or less in support or opposition to a statement.
Participate in the comments below or submit a response for publication to UtahPoliticoHub@gmail.com. Submissions can be no longer than 500 words and will be published on Friday.
Resolved: With the passage of HB105, Utah has embarked down the slippery slope of legalized marijuana.
Some people think that HB 105 is a gateway to legalizing marijuana in Utah. While they are certainly smart and have some interesting points, unfortunately they seem to have also played a few too many rounds of Tom Smykowski’s Jump To Conclusions.
Ultimately, HB 105 is less harmful than the bills that make alcohol and drugs legal.
Why is this the case?
- HB 105 is a solution for a specific problem. Medical cannabis would be prescribed by a physician, it would be a controlled substance, and it is has 10 times less THC (the active psychotropic in marijuana) than the street drugs that people are driving to Grand Junction to legally buy in order to control their symptoms. To put this in perspective, you are more likely to get high by smoking a hemp rope than by taking cannabis extract. Should we ban hemp ropes because they are a gateway to legalizing marijuana?
- The predominant religion would not allow marijuana to become legal. Just as the LDS church has a say in Utah’s liquor and marriage laws (be it directly or indirectly via church members in the state legislature), they would absolutely have a say in legalizing marijuana in Utah.
- The behavior of taking cannabis extract is significantly different than smoking marijuana. In order for a behavior to be a gateway to another behavior, there has to be a logical bridge. Ingesting an oil capsule with cannabis extract is akin to that other dangerous gateway product, the multivitamin. Because this is accepted practice for most Americans, there isn’t a gateway behavior for this to bridge. Those who take cannabis extract are more likely to get caught up in Utah’s nutraceutical industry than they are to turn to rolling joints or smoking pot.
Because this bill is so narrowly tailored there is no real concerns with taking additional steps towards legalizing marijuana.
Instead, most of those fears seem to be related to the fact that cannabis extract is related to marijuana. It’s the equivalent of being concerned that because we have legal morphine, oxycodone, and Vicodin, we’re on a slippery slope to legalizing heroin.