Published in the June 30, 2016 edition




Imagine, if you can, the following conversation over the backyard fence between neighbors Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones.

Mr. Smith: I just found out my house has termites. What should I do?

Mr. Jones: Bring in some carpenter ants. They’re no worse than termites.

Mr. Smith: What a fantastic idea!

Of course, that conversation is absurd and would ever actually take place. But it’s exactly the type of tortured “logic” that the marijuana industry and legalization advocates expect us to swallow.

“Marijuana is no worse than alcohol, and alcohol is legal so you have to legalize marijuana,” they say.

No, actually we don’t.

State Senator Jason Lewis was in town on Monday to talk to the Board of Selectmen about the question that will likely be on the ballot in November seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use. He dismantled many of the BS arguments currently being promulgated by the marijuana industry, including the “It’s no worse than alcohol” claim.

Lewis summed up that argument like this: Alcohol is harmful and legal, so let’s make another harmful substance legal.

While many people enjoy alcohol safely, Lewis pointed out, it also does a tremendous amount of damage.

“Alcohol is a loser in terms of its cost to society,” Lewis said. “Why would we take the same approach with pot that we took with alcohol and tobacco? It makes no sense.”

Now let’s be fair, Senator. It makes perfect sense – if you’re stoned.

Another argument that’s caught on lately is the “social justice” argument.

“Legalization is a way to remedy disparities around race and income,” the argument goes. The claim is that a disproportionate number of minorities and low income people are arrested and incarcerated for marijuana.

Except for the fact, as Senator Lewis pointed out, that no one has been arrested or incarcerated for possession of pot in a very long time – since at least 2008 when marijuana was decriminalized in Massachusetts. If you hear about anyone being arrested for marijuana these days, it’s for trafficking massive amounts.

So what’s really behind the drive to legalize weed in Massachusetts?

You’ll be shocked by the answer. It’s money.

“The commercial marijuana industry is big business,” Lewis told the selectmen, “and profits are a huge motivation for many legalization backers.”

And it’s not just profits from the sales of marijuana. There’s money to be made in ancillary areas too, as Lewis pointed out.

“There are marijuana-focused hedge funds, law firms and marketing consultants,” he observed.

One of the latter is a firm called “4Front Advisors,” with offices in Boston and Phoenix. Their website makes no bones as to what they’re all about.

“4Front Ventures is a company on a mission. We’re a leader in the burgeoning legal cannabis industry. … Our underlying mission is to defeat prohibition through sensible regulation. In short, we’re working to change the world.”

Thanks for the warning.

One of 4Front’s employees used to list his occupation as “Marijuana Consultant” on his public Twitter profile. He’s since removed it. Even for a weed warrior, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. You never know when you might have to go out and get a real job.

Another falsehood that the pro-pot lobby likes to put out is that legalizing marijuana doesn’t lead to increased use by kids.

“Study after study is showing that marijuana legalization does not increase youth use or access,” our friendly marijuana consultant tweeted recently, citing exactly no studies to back up his assertion.

He must have missed the 2013-14 study by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), which concluded that “The top 17 states in teen usage have legalized marijuana for commercial or medical purposes.”

You don’t need studies to figure out that when something is legally sanctioned there’s going to be more of it across every segment of the population, including kids. That’s just common sense.

But the marijuana industry and its lobbyists want you to abandon common sense in favor of studies published in such impartial sources like 420Intel and High Times magazine.

“I never thought I’d be the pot senator,” Lewis quipped Monday night.

I for one am glad that Lewis has taken the lead on this issue and for that I’m willing to give him a pass on a lot of other things. Thankfully, he has a growing list of people who agree with him on marijuana.

Business leaders from the Associated Industries of Massachusetts and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts oppose legalizing pot.

Educational leaders from the Massachusetts Association of Superintendents oppose recreational marijuana.

Public Safety officials including all Massachusetts District Attorneys and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police oppose making marijuana legal.

Healthcare professionals from the Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Association for Behavioral Healthcare and the National Association of Mental Illness of Massachusetts are all opposed to legalizing marijuana.

But the profit-driven, billion-dollar, commercial marijuana industry wants you to believe that they know better and have your interests at heart.

Big Marijuana and its apologists don’t care about you and they don’t care about Massachusetts.

They care about only two things and both of them are green.

Who are you going to listen to?