Monday, October 20, 2014

Chiefs getting high this week as Bowe stacks on pot woes

11/13/2013

The Kansas City Chiefs face a tough opponent in Colorado this weekend as the team battles against the Denver Broncos. Players must adjust to the higher altitude — 5,130-5,690 feet — in Denver versus 690-1,160 feet in Kansas City. The “Mile High City’s” distance from sea level could result in a shortness of breath from the dispersal of air molecules delivered in each breath. The situation is especially aggravated from those involved in physical activities.

One Chiefs player, Dwayne Bowe, has a different kind of “high” to worry about after he was arrested Sunday for speeding and possession of a controlled substance — 10 grams of marijuana — in Riverside, Mo., following a traffic stop for driving 13 miles over the posted speed limit. Had the stop occurred in Colorado, Bowe’s marijuana possession of 1 ounce or less would not have been illegal.

The Kansas City Chiefs face a tough opponent in Colorado this weekend as the team battles against the Denver Broncos. Players must adjust to the higher altitude — 5,130-5,690 feet — in Denver versus 690-1,160 feet in Kansas City. The “Mile High City’s” distance from sea level could result in a shortness of breath from the dispersal of air molecules delivered in each breath. The situation is especially aggravated from those involved in physical activities.

One Chiefs player, Dwayne Bowe, has a different kind of “high” to worry about after he was arrested Sunday for speeding and possession of a controlled substance — 10 grams of marijuana — in Riverside, Mo., following a traffic stop for driving 13 miles over the posted speed limit. Had the stop occurred in Colorado, Bowe’s marijuana possession of 1 ounce or less would not have been illegal.

Voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana earlier this year. Voters in cities in Maine and Michigan approved last week legalizing recreational use of marijuana too. The change includes licensing, regulation and, not surprisingly, taxation of marijuana. Bowe’s arrest suggests an opportune time for Missouri and Kansas to consider doing the same. Support for making that kind of switch is coming from some unlikely places — law enforcement and senior citizens.

Retired law enforcement official Major Neill Franklin is expected to speak Saturday in Kansas City about reasons why keeping marijuana illegal is bad for public safety. Franklin, who leads a group of law enforcement officials, judges and prosecutors — Law Enforcement Against Prohibition — thinks America’s war on drugs has been harmful to the country, and he wants to see it end, according to a press release.

“What’s happening now under the prohibition of marijuana is much like what happened in the 1920s during the prohibition of alcohol,” Franklin said in the release. “Criminal gangs are growing rich and powerful, dealers are selling to kids and yet use remains more or less the same.”

The Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature, a 125-member legislative body representing the interests of Kansans age 60 and older, also is advocating for the legalization of marijuana, though it draws a distinction between medicinal and recreational use of the drug.

“Among the benefits of patient use of medicinal marijuana are relief from chronic pain, relief from nausea for those using chemotherapy and stabilization of appetite for those who suffer chronic loss of appetite because of medical treatments, conditions often found among senior citizens,” a resolution passed by the group this fall read. “Additional benefits to patients using medicinal marijuana are the slowing of the progression of two conditions that are common among senior citizens: Alzheimer’s disease and glaucoma.”

Though a federal ban bars marijuana use via the Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. Justice Department has been accommodating, rather than confrontational, to the recent voter-driven legalization efforts.

Bowe, while causing an unneeded distraction for the Chiefs this week against its toughest opponent of the season, might also have inadvertently put some focus on an issue that is far from the craze-inducing drug it was once characterized to be. Legislators should put this issue on their front burner and consider the benefits of legalization in Kansas.

— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher

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