Saturday, April 02, 2011

Natural Gas Opponents, Citing Air Emissions, Come Out Blazing in Support of Marijuana Use

In a dichotomy that could witnessed in the nations capital Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo) recently introduced the BREATHE Act, which is claimed to end Clean Air Act "exemptions" governing oil and natural gas development in the United States. In a March 17 press release, Congressman Polis, citing the imperative to ensure air quality safety, says this about the BREATHE Act:
“It’s simply common sense to ensure that we monitor extremely dangerous emissions, equip communities in heavy drilling areas with the tools they need to stay safe , and reverse these exemptions to the Clean Air Act.”
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) in the same press release adds this:
Whether you're drilling oil or gas, toxic fumes released in the process pollute the air we breathe, causing health problems for workers at the drilling sites and nearby residents. The BREATHE Act is another commonsense bill that will make sure that oil and gas companies use the best available technology to rid their emissions of harmful pollutants and protect our air and the people who breathe it."
This is all well and good. Everyone wants to breathe clean air without the risk of health problems or respiratory difficulties, but it takes a true politician to, in a matter of weeks, put to rest this line of argument to advocate for the legalization of marijuana. In a speech this week at the National Press Club in Washington DC, Rep. Polis - flanked by Steve Fox, director of public affairs at the National Cannabis Industry Association - renewed efforts to legalize marijuana.

Ben Smith of Politico helps to put Congressman Polis' duplicity into perspective....

"Drugs are fundamentally a health issue," said Polis on MSNBC. "Is there an abuse of drugs? Absolutely. Do people abuse alcohol, tobacco and marijuana? Yes. Should we have a national health strategy around reducing that? Yes. Does throwing people in prison for smoking a joint make sense? No."

And Polis tells the hip-hop magazine The Source that legalizing marijuana could actually even lead to urban renewal and greening.

"Marijuana farming in major urban centers would increase greenspace and make urban renwal profitable in the short and long-term," said Polis.
Yes you read that right. "Urban renewal" by way of pot farms. You cannot make this stuff up even if you tried. Somehow Rep. Polis is able to reconcile his concerns about the impact of clean-burning American natural gas production with the widely accepted fact marijuana smoke is carries a significant health risk is beyond me. For what it's worth, the American Lung Association, has this to say about the impact of marijuana use and health:

Marijuana smoke contains a greater amount of carcinogens than tobacco smoke. In addition, marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, further increasing the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Marijuana use is not only associated with adverse physical effects, but also mental, emotional and behavioral changes.

People who smoke marijuana frequently, but do not smoke tobacco, have more health problems and miss more days of work than nonsmokers. Many of these extra sick days are due to respiratory illnesses.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana, per se. In fact, I think it is more than appropriate, but I would expect some degree of consistency when making the argument and Jared Polis fails to maintain consistency.

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  1. "In Blackpool, Lancashire we call marijuana, sage" said Mr Barry Costello-Monelle Delmonte as he puffed away outside a Fish and Chip shop clutching a Quickdox takeaway packet of Wills in Batter.

  2. Not sure what that means exactly, but sage is considered and herb, so I guess it is ok?