Bob Wiley is a Sensible Colorado board member, as well as the co-founder of the local patient advocacy group Marijuana Patient Advocates. Here's some of our half-hour phone conversation; see tomorrow's Indy for more.
I just read the review on Amazon, and it it looks like [based on] 95 percent of the comments, it does not in any measure promote marijuana use. It basically gives the information in a factual manner.
Almost all of the downsides of cannabis derive from it being illegal. You could be involved in a purchase operation where gunfire breaks out and you get shot by a gangster, or whoever, because there’s no legal way for these transactions to occur, so you’re always dealing with … violence is how you settle the dispute because you can’t go to court. So there’s always a danger from the criminal side.
There’s also huge dangers from the law enforcement and judicial side: you lose a student loan; you lose the ability to live in public housing; you may not be able to get into a college. It’s just these negative outcomes that are not from the plant — it’s not from the pharmacological properties — it’s from the system. And I don’t know if [the book] goes into it, but one of the things we need to recognize is that a kid sitting in a D.A.R.E. class, and the officers telling them about all the negatives of marijuana, and the kids thinking “Well, my older brother’s getting ready to graduate college in the next three months, and he’s already got an excellent job lined up, and the guy smokes weed on the weekends.”
So it’s like, “Hey, this officer’s lying to me.” And it actually, I think, breeds disrespect for law enforcement, when the kid finds out its not this drug that the D.A.R.E. officer told me it was. So we just need to be brutally honest with our kids; you can tell them it’s illegal, but tell them it’s illegal for reasons that don’t make a whole lot of sense on the outside; you just can’t justify it with facts.
Indy: Have you seen statistics on MMJ center-related crime?
I have not. There’s probably very little crime associated with dispensaries compared to other operations. Every one of these, that I know, has 24-hour security. They’re usually pretty well lit. You’ve got to be buzzed in to even get in the front door on most of them. Even when you’re in the front door, you’re still not in a place where you can get to the medicine. So the security is a heckuvalot higher than you’re going to find in Walgreens, where a 12-year-old can walk down any of the aisles, pick up stuff that’s much more dangerous than marijuana, stick it in his coat pocket and walk out; that’s not [even] the prescription stuff behind the counter, this is ibuprofen, and Tylenol. You take enough this stuff you can kill yourself.
Indy: What are your thoughts on the District Attorney himself?
He doesn’t write the law, he’s just there to prosecute those who are in violation, but I don’t think it’s part of his job to be a political advocate on one side or the other. But if he is, if he’s running for reelection, he can throw out whatever misinformation he wants.
I think the City Council was ill served by some of these briefings all throughout this painful episode.
And he’s got his vision of how things should be, but when he’s giving a briefing as the D.A., he needs to present the facts and not just propaganda that’s put out by the Office of National Drug Control Policy; they’re not even allowed to tell the truth on medical cannabis.
Bring facts to the table that’s relevant to this case. Don’t bring be misinformation or try subterfuge to make people think this is some evil weed. Nearly all of the harms associated with cannabis are because its illegal, and it’s unfortunate. Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity for some education of the public, but there’s some segments of the public that don’t want to look at any information that’s informative.
Indy: What was your reaction to City Council's passage of a temporary licensing ordinance?
I actually thought it was fairly decent. I’ve always tried to figure out what ... everybody wants 1,000 feet; we’ve got to have 1,000 feet. Even if it was right next-door, the kid can’t get inside it anyway. And if anybody was selling marijuana out the back door, I’m sure our police department would have made some arrests, but they haven’t. I don’t think anybody would risk the loss of their business for the minimal profit from selling marijuana out the back door to a kid. Somehow they feel safer by a 1,000 feet; what about 1,001 feet? I guess its maybe the moral thought that we can’t let our kids know about this stuff or they’ll turn into criminals or something. I think it would just be easier if we told them the truth about it.