Friday, November 12, 2010

Michigan and Recreational Pharmaceutical Tourism

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By Mr. Sig

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.newsmain/article/1/0/1725203/Michigan.News/Federal.judge.hears.arguments.in.Michigan.medical.marijuana.case

As a strong proponent of legalization of all drugs, these particular articles always pique my interest.  This particular case highlights a Wal-Mart worker in Michigan who took marijuana for medical purposes.  This is all fine and dandy since Michigan passed medical marijuana laws in 2008.  However, this is not fine and dandy with Wal-Mart.  And that's fine.  Just because something is legal doesn't mean that it cannot harm your ability to perform the job your employer hired you to do.  And employers should be able to exercise that disgression so long as it is made clear to the employee before work starts.  I would personally disagree with Wal-Mart's policy, but I respect their ability to do what they want with their own company.

This kicked off a train of thoughts regarding Michigan and drugs.  Why doesn't Michigan try to do the same thing that California attempted?  Decriminalize marijuana.  Make it legal not just for medical purposes, but straight up legal.  That's right.  You should be able to purchase it from CVS if you are over the age of 18.  The benefits of legal drugs have been proven in Portugal, and marijuana has been proven time and time again not to be a gateway drug as many claim it is.  Alcohol and cigarettes are much worse!   The California initiative failed.  How about Michigan picking up the torch and doing what needs to be done?

The main arguments for legalization of marijuana are typically:
1.  Legal drugs are taxed.  This means more money for the government to burn and a lower defecit.
2.  Drugs are not going to be stopped, but legalization as a containment policy will take the novelty out of smoking dope.  It won't be "cool" anymore which will help slow the inevitable increase in usage
3.  Regulated, legal drugs are safer for consumers than the shady alternatives offered in the informal market (gangs).
4.  The legalization of drugs eliminates the vast majority of the black market.  The black market results in crime, violence, and killing.  You eliminate the black market, you eliminate many of the effects.

It seems like arguments 1,3, and 4 directly target two of Michigan's problems.  Lack of public funds and high crime are two items that will not be completely resolved by the legalization of marijuana, but its passage will certainly help.  This all seems like a no-brainer for Michigan folk, and I think it will greatly benefit the state from a tourism perspective.  Think about out of staters going "up north." and rather than drinking alcohol that makes one tired, sick, fat, and/or unpredictable (in a bad way), they would smoke the peace pipe.  This would make them happy, peaceful, relaxed, and harmless - isn't that what vacation is supposed to be anyway?  I can actually see boutique marijuana spas opening up and attracting individuals from other states and countries.

Maybe this fantasy of mine is outrageous and would be a terrible business, but I think it's something Michigan should seriously consider.  I highly doubt an initiative like this has any chance in Michigan since our culture is much different than that of California's.  But if we get enough out of the box thinkers around here, I think it would be a spectacular project for Michigan to try.

With all of Michigan's issues right now, we are at a perfect opportunity to really try some radical new ideas.  Marijuana legalization might just be one of them.

Am I stupid for thinking this?  Or.. are there other "out of the box" ideas that sound crazy, but just.... might.... work?  What's your idea?  Let us know in the comments

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10 Anniversaries

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There are a pair of anniversaries we'd like to draw your attention to today. The first is that today is the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Michigan Expats would like to thank all of the Marines past and present and give a personal thanks out to Dwight, John, Louis, and Kent.

Today is also the 35th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and our thoughts and prayers to the family of the 29 crew members perished on Lake Superior.

On the eve of Veterans Day (originally Armistice Day), these two anniversaries serve as excellent reminders as to the great service and dedication Americans have given to ensure our way of life.