I watched half of the Frankenstein movie with Boris Karloff before falling asleep last night. I dreamed of lightning and thieves' corpses hanging from trees. Dr. Frankenstein is quite mad in this depiction—eyes like sparks, constantly howling melodramatically to a deformed assistant that he spends all of his time with.
Mary Shelley's doctor was mad, too. But his was the madness of ambition and hubris. He got cocky. The subtitle of the book is The Modern Prometheus, named after the Greek Titan who stole fire from Zeus (to improve the lives of his mortal creations, you'll remember), and was rewarded for his uppity move by being bound to a stake for all time while an eagle fed on his eternally regenerating liver. Zeus would stand over the writhing form and gloat. “Thought you were an agent of progress, din't yew? Ain't gonna forget yore place now, huh kid?” I don't think I realized that Dr. Frankenstein was a hero when I was in grade school.
I've already heard talk about what will happen when “we legalize in November” at a dispensary. I opened my mouth to say something, but thought better of it. Luckily the budtender had more patience than I did, and told the patient that nobody was legalizing anything in November. “Well that depends on who we vote in now, doesn't it?” the man answered.
“No … ” the ’tender trailed off.
And we won't really know what the future governor will do until we see a bill cross their desk and get signed or vetoed. Right now it's all theory. We can make some guesses though.
Last week the two candidates for governor of New Mexico once again faced off in mental and verbal combat to the delight of the masses. It was their first debate since early voting started, and the question of legalizing recreational marijuana once again came up. They were asked specifically if they'd sign legislation legalizing cannabis if it were introduced.
Republican Steve Pearce answered first: “I hear a lot of people say that this is the way to diversify our economy, that we could get more tax revenues, that something magic is out there. I don't think so. … If we're going to cure the poverty—if we're going towards the drug addiction—solving those problems—then how in the world are we going to do that if we legalize one more drug and we encourage people? The experiments in Washington, the experiments in Colorado are not proving up [sic] so good.”
He said driving under the influence was increasing in those areas (which is silly, since the only diagnostic being used tests positive if you've ingested cannabis in the last four months) and that use in underage kids was increasing (not true, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey using data from 2017 which showed 19.6 percent of Colorado teens used marijuana, down from 21.2 percent reported in 2015 and lower than the national average of 19.8 percent).
And then he trotted out his weird rhetoric about “putting an obstacle” in front of “struggling” residents again. I laughed when I heard it. I thought for sure some kind friend or loved one would have told the man that the argument makes no sense. I've been thinking about it for months and I still don't know where to even start arguing against such an asinine “point.”
Then it was Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham's turn. “There's no evidence that suggests that legalizing cannabis makes any difference in poverty,” she said. Well there you go.
She then went on to take credit for bringing the medical cannabis program to the state and say that she voted repeatedly in Congress to give veterans access to medical marijuana. “If the New Mexico Legislature gives me a bill that protects medical cannabis, that deals with underage use and prevention, that deals with workplace intoxication and driving intoxication, then that's a bill with the right kind of robust, clear, critical requirements that I would sign—that could add as much as $200 million to New Mexico and that would be a place to jump start our behavioral health system.”
I want to point out that this doesn't mean legalization is a guarantee. Lujan Grisham has never precisely said what “protect medical cannabis” means, and that leaves a pretty big hole to backpedal through. If she gets in, this issue will have played a part, and I strongly encourage her to remember who her constituents are. I also suggest she ignore the story of Prometheus.
Pearce's rebuttal? “The idea that we're going to have these robust protections in the law—maybe we should start with alcohol first before we experiment with this dangerous idea of just putting marijuana—
One thing the stumbling gremlin said that I agreed with: “I think that that's going to be something that really defines this race—this different view on the future of New Mexico.”
My view on the future of New Mexico: We're quickly sliding toward ruin. You can see it in the broken down schools in the South Valley and the smashed out windows along Central. This state is suffering from self-hatred and a lack of hope. Legalizing cannabis probably won't solve all of our problems, but why would you turn down anything at this point? Alcoholics Anonymous calls it, “hitting rock bottom.” It's supposed to be a moment of enlightenment.