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March 6, 2014

Mug Shots, Fingerprints, Smokers

Harry M. Covert

Lots of illegal pot smoking goes on around these parts, according to those in the know. Large numbers of citizens, young and old, have been locked up for buying, selling and using cannabis. The latter results in criminal records.


These facts are no reasons for the Maryland General Assembly to acquiesce to common sense and the best interests of the public and to even consider legalizing the drug.


It's certainly a terrible thing for normally sweet and law-abiding citizens to be arrested, get fingerprinted, pose for a mug shot and then face the penalties of law. The latter remains part of their life forever and a day, even if suspended jail terms and fines are imposed.


This conduct is good for bail bondsmen, attorneys, jobs in law enforcement and jail operations.


Fines these violators pay bring in large amounts of revenue for the state. Perhaps legalizing marijuana use will curb the enormous profits supposedly earned by unlawful sales where no taxes are paid.


Neither taxes from drug sales, nor prohibited salesmanship, are good for the local, state or national populace. State legality of pot in Colorado, Washington State, and now in the District of Columbia for medical use is a movement everywhere for other jurisdictions to jump on the bandwagon.


In an effort for wit, it was suggested a "smoke off" or "sniff off" be regularly scheduled at D.C.'s National Guard armory. Good idea but, of course, may be a bit too insensitive.


It is rather interesting that smoking a real cigarette nowadays has become an ostracizing act. Lots of do-gooders and health nuts would like nothing better than to enact criminal charges for those who dare light up, even in their own house or backyard.


The medical fraternity has been remarkable in determining bad results from smoking legal regular, king-size and extra-long items they like to call "cancer sticks."


This space today is not endorsing OPs (other peoples' smokes) or to the destruction of tobacco farms. Tobacco was just as important as cotton in the business of a growing nation.


Neither is this correspondent in favor of legalizing pot or any such things as heroin, cocaine or khat (a popular weed in Somalia and other areas of the Dark Continent.)


It's fun to recall the days not so long ago when cigarette manufacturers advertised that a "majority of doctors" smoked their brand; "Lucky Strike Green goes to war;" when Old Gold had "dancing girls;" that Pall Mall was pronounced Pell Mell and the world's most popular brand is Marlboro Reds. When the latter first hit the continental U.S. it was Marlborough."


Let's be serious as a heart attack, as is often slangily noted, smoking is not a healthy hobby. A smoky odor is absent from clothes, cars, and everywhere. Has been good with coffee, desserts and other pleasures.


It is something to consider that a day may come when hospitals, by law, will have to make pot smoking rooms available and probably adjacent to the multicultural quiet rooms, sanctuaries for serious contemplation.


Committee discussions are underway in Annapolis to consider the pros and cons of pot use. The first step may well be for medical usage. Perhaps pot will help ease pains. Close behind will be other drug users, lobbying for legalize use and sales of the hard stuff.


Does Frederick City and county – and the rest of the state for that matter – need pot stores springing up similar to fast-food establishments? The answer is a resounding NO. Legislators need not be pandering to druggies.


Whatever happened to snuff?


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