Of considerable interest is the onsite pot consumption ordinance.
Jennifer Canfield is stated to have said in a June 25 article in the Empire, entitled ‘Talkin’ pot shop: Onsite consumption will get more consideration,’ that the decision would be a boon for Juneau business owners. That may be so. She also is quoted as saying, “People are doing it. It’s not a question of are we going to allow, they’re already doing it. Put it somewhere where it’s not offensive.”
A critical challenge to ask of Canfield and others might be her statement about putting it where it’s not offensive.
Now, if the Assembly wants to fill the revenue coffers for the City and Borough of Juneau and if entrepreneurs at all levels of their enterprises want to fill their pockets, purses and sacks – all of this may sound just splendid. It may also well be the quintessential “money-maker” for Juneau.
Are there any other reasons our elected officials (with their designated responsibilities and accountabilities) might consider other than “people are already doing it” and/or “it’s a money-maker”?
I think many of us might disagree with Assembly member Loren Jones when he said, “I think we’ve had significant discussion at the Committee of the Whole in relation to smoking and what that (sic) implications might be for our smoking ordinance because of other private clubs and tobacco clubs, and I don’t think we want to work that out at the public hearing.”
In my view, an issue of this magnitude mandates public hearings. This is far more than “fun and games,” money and “people are doing it.”
We do have a Clean Air Act. Do we keep that in place, do away with it, modify it or develop a “nuanced slippery slope with wiffle-waffle thinking” for marijuana and second-hand smoke?
It seems we must keep ourselves reminded that logic and reason are the hallmarks of critical thinking. These tenets do not include blindly accepting everything we are told or read; neither do they include blindly rejecting everything we are told or read. There are a plethora of data, opinions, statistics, fake news and snake oil on all sides of the divide to “keep us divided.” It does seem we often are so committed to our biases that it is nigh on to impossible to parse out what might be your truth or another person’s truth (never mind “the” truth). That’s where critical thinking comes in.
Whether one participates in “open pot consumption,” “do it at home, in the car, in the closet, in the alley or at a party” (hopefully without children, pregnant women or men who might want to be a father), medical professional research and clinical data are available:
• The effect of marijuana (depending on the strength, amount, frequency) on a fetus in the womb has not been “cleared” for safety.
• The effects of marijuana on the newborn at delivery has not been “cleared” for safety.
• The effects of marijuana on the neurological and physical development of the newborn in life has not been “cleared” for safety.
• The effects of marijuana on the amount, quality and health of sperm for men who wish to consider fatherhood has not been “cleared” for safety.
All of this to say, have we participated in the best of due diligence on onsite pot consumption? The jury is still out and this is not the time for knee-jerk decisions about it.
I strongly believe that public hearings — with time to speak on all sides, and without rantings and ravings — are critical. We can still maintain civility, despite the current environment.
At this point in time, we still have the freedom and ability to critically think. So let’s do it, with and for each other.
• carolyn V Brown resides in Juneau.