Time has a way
of changing everyone, and yet I was not prepared
for what I saw when I ran into an old friend last
month. We had not seen each other for a number of
years. He had always been a chubby, jovial fellow,
with a good head on his shoulders. He had seemed
to be happily married, and had held a good job.
My friend, however, had changed, and not for the
better. I almost didn't recognize him.
He was now recently
divorced. His face was lined, and the laughter that
I remembered in his eyes was gone. He had lost almost
70 pounds. He was sporting a scruffy beard.
I learned that
he was unemployed. He had quit his job of almost
two decades, left his wife, and had gone prospecting
"out West". Now he was thinking of traveling to
the South Pacific. He seemed lost and confused.
What had happened
to this once vibrant fellow to cause him to shuck
everything that had seemed dear to him?
I really can't
answer that question to any scientifically proven
certainty, but I have my suspicions. So do other
of my friends. "He started going downhill about
the time he started smoking the weed" one old pal
told me. "He never was the same after that. "
I had never
seen my buddy smoke marijuana. He would have had
too much respect for my feelings to do that. But
other of my friends did see him smoke "that stuff"
and he smoked it "quite regularly". And I believe
my friend's use of marijuana was the cause of, or
at least contributed to, his deterioration.
keeping the private possession of marijuana in the
home legal in Alaska will, no doubt, disagree with
my opinion. But having seen a number of friends
and acquaintances who have used that drug seemingly
go downhill, as its use increased, I believe that
marijuana's harmful physical and psychological effects
are readily observable, in some users at least.
Under our present
law, thanks to our Supreme Court's decision in the
Ravin case, it is legal to possess small
amounts of marijuana in the home, for private use.
Proposition 2, which appears on the ballot this
Tuesday, would re-criminalize such in- the-home
possession. Opponents of Proposition 2 say that
we don't need such a law, and that it invades our
privacy. They argue that since it is illegal to
have marijuana outside the home, we don't need another
law to make it illegal inside the home. In making
such an argument, however, marijuana proponents
choose to ignore the obvious. Marijuana doesn't
magically appear in a person's home, suddenly growing
up through the floorboards to the delight of the
pothead homeowner. Instead, it is obvious that for
the marijuana to get into the home, where it presently
enjoys a type of legal sanctuary, it first had to
be purchased illegally, and then brought to that
home. Even if the marijuana is home-grown. the seeds
had to have been obtained outside the home in violation
of the present law, and taken into the home to be
planted. Thus, in allowing the legal possession
of marijuana in the home, we are fostering the illegal
drug trade in that substance outside the home.
I wonder what
kind of message parents, who use marijuana at home,
send to their children? Aren't they saying that
it is OK to violate the law against buying drugs
in the community, because once you get it home,
it is legal to possess? No wonder many of our community's
children seem confused over their duties to society.
We need to send
the right message to our young people. We need to
vote YES on Proposition 2.
Of course, the
outcome of the Governor's race is also going to
be of considerable interest this Tuesday. Having
come to Alaska in the late 60's, during Walter Hickel's
term as Governor, I saw a State that was, at that
time, full of promise. During the ensuing years,
however, like my friend who used marijuana, this
State has deteriorated. Unlike my friend, our State's
deterioration has not been from drug abuse, but
from Federal abuse. And too long have we suffered
under Governors who were too afraid to say NO to
that abuse. After the Primary, until recently, it
looked like our State's slow deterioration was going
to continue. With Wally Hickel in the Governor's
race, however, we have the opportunity to stop the
decline of opportunities in our State. And we can
stop the Federal abuse we have endured so long.
Unlike my pot
smoking friend, Wally Hickel hasn't lost his principles,
determination, and resolve over the years. He still
retains his visions of a bright future for this
State. And he still retains his abilities to help
us regain that bright future. Wally Hickel is an
old friend who I am glad to see again. And I intend
to vote YES on Proposition 2, and YES for Wally