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Author Topic: Plants Which are BOTH Nutritional and Medicinal  (Read 4753 times)

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Re: Plants Which are BOTH Nutritional and Medicinal
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2016, 05:22:05 pm »

Gary Shattuck 
I had the pleasure of working with Matt Birmingham as an assistant U.S. attorney when he was in the trenches with the drug task force as an investigator. Together with other officers, we put together many different drug cases and obtained many convictions of those involved in serious distribution and trafficking matters.

At the same time, as with Keith Flynn, I came from a law enforcement background, serving as a Vermont State Police patrol commander and know full well the conflicts he and others in the ranks are experiencing. Since leaving government service a few years ago, I then became involved in researching and writing on historical matters from a legal perspective and it has shined a lot of light on these particular conflicts that so many of us are experiencing.

In working on Vermont’s 19th century opium epidemic project (see past VtDigger articles) it became clear to me that that was a product of the alcohol prohibition movement that began in 1852 (Vermont was the second state to do so, and the only one maintaining it as law for the next fifty years). People not inclined to break the law during those decades by consuming alcohol then moved over to opium and morphine, resulting in a huge addiction problem by 1900; much of which was brought about by the medical profession enabling so many patients to consume the drugs in an unregulated atmosphere.

Bottom line, prohibition does not work. It did not in the 1800s and it did not in the 1900s and there is no reason to think that it will work now. As much as it might force those in the law enforcement field to swallow hard, legalization, or decriminalization as some call it, is simply inevitable. The issue then will be the strict regulation of these substances and that is where we need to put our focus. I respect Matt’s and other officers’ position, but this is something that is simply going to happen and he needs to push hard for the tools that will allow for effective enforcement, not trying to stop the approaching flood. Otherwise, they will be swallowed up and their effectiveness impaired. 

Joel Davidson 
While I am one of those, who in my many years in law enforcement aggressively pursued marijuana growers and users not only because of the department goals, but because it was actually fun. Trying to catch the “bad” guys, turning informants, executing search warrants, that’s what police work is all about. These cases were a learning tool for officers and troopers that wanted to refine their investigative skills. We were all aware of the target rich environment and in some cases the environment was too rich with targets. Several instances where VSP were providing security for concerts, directives came out to the troops to tone down or eliminate marijuana enforcement at the event. I noticed a marked decrease in problems at those events. I think everyone knows the effects marijuana has on the human body and that there are many legal substances out there that are much more harmful and problematic than marijuana. For instance most domestic violence incidents typically involve alcohol, prescription drug abuse, stimulant abuse but almost never marijuana use alone.

Impaired operation of a motor vehicle is another story. While alcohol may be the most widely seen culprit in impaired operation of motor vehicles, studies indicate a large percentage of DUI operation involves more than one substance causing impairment. It is difficult to determine since the investigating officer usually only needs the breath alcohol test for prosecution and therefore no additional tests (blood, saliva, urine) are taken. Even in cases where blood is taken the tests are usually limited to the likely impairing substances or class of drugs due to costs of testing. Impaired operation is a public risk that not only needs enforcement but much more training of officers, in order to recognize and legally request testing. Some years ago, I recommended mandatory training in “Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE)” as part of a career development model for the Vermont State Police. This training provides tools (dexterity and observations) for the officer to help determine the cause of impaired operation and document information needed by the drug recognition experts (DREs).

I consider alcohol a much greater threat to public safety than marijuana. I also think that the true gateway drugs are prescription drugs, especially the opiate class.

When legislators make decisions that involve money, they are often biased by the promise of big revenue to put toward new programs that are seen as beneficial to many. There are serious concerns with the burden of regulating marijuana use if it is legalized but the real question is, “does it really need regulation?”, ”will that regulation cost more than the revenue?”, and “will regulation overwhelm the resources of the regulating agency?”.

Looking back on my career, responding to incidents I would prefer to deal with someone under the influence of marijuana than alcohol or any number of narcotics, prescription or illegal.

 Joel Davidson
 Retired S.Sgt, VSP

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Pr. 13:12


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