How ironic if New Jersey votes to legalize and commercialize pot this year, considering that the state’s most famous icon, Bruce Springsteen, avoided drugs. Indeed, one of the secrets to Springsteen’s continual ability to create and perform was staying sober.
According to long-time friend from E Street band days, Stevie Van Zandt, “He’s a living example of what happens when you never do drugs your whole life. I mean, I’m sure he’s taken a drink or two a few times in his life, but he was never a drinker either.”
Springsteen’s life is the opposite of so many teens who discover marijuana and then lose interest in all outside activities, as well as school. “I wasn’t looking for outside stimulants to help me lose or find anything. Music was going to get me as high as I needed to go,” he claims in his autobiography, Born to Run.
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After states legalize marijuana, teens who use pot get into the most potent varieties available. A survey of Colorado teens who use marijuana showed that 52% of them are use “dabs,” which contain 40-90% THC, and that one third are vaping THC. THC vapes were involved 82% of the vaping illnesses last year, one-sixth of them bought at state-regulated pot marijuana stores.
In Colorado and Washington, the public and some legislators tried to require caps on THC levels. Both attempts failed because the marijuana industry thwarts all attempts at sensible regulation. The industry makes its greatest profits out of high-potency products such as concentrates and edibles. The stronger the product, the more addictive.
In states with recreational pot, tax income from marijuana sales are less than projected and they stay significantly below one percent of state revenue. Legalization doesn’t get rid of black markets, and in fact black markets grow substantially under legalization.
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States that have medical marijuana will get lower tax revenue on recreational marijuana. The “medical” marijuana loophole allows marijuana consumers to get medical marijuana cards and buy marijuana at a much lower tax rate.
Legalization has not fulfilled the social and racial justice outcomes that were promised, in any states that legalized pot. Legalization unfairly causes more harm in low income neighborhoods.
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Only a few players, mainly large corporations, some owned by Big Tobacco, are benefitting from the legalization of pot. By all other measures, it’s failed policy. I don’t pretend to know how Springsteen feels about the ballot. Many of us parents against legalization are not about judging those who use marijuana, but we object to the promotion of it and calling it harmless.
Julie Schauer is the founder of Parents Opposed to Pot.