Ah, it's satisfying to boomerang B.S. back into the face of editorial writers who hurl it.
A few days ago I criticized the entire editorial board of the Portland Oregonian for calling the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) "farcical" when their extremely minimalist reasons for saying this were just that: farcical.
But in that post I failed to address the equally nonsensical accompanying piece by editorial board member Susan Nielsen. Her "Marijuana in Oregon: Pot legalization measure would give kids quite an education" fails my basic standard for a good editorial.
Opinions, especially regarding social policies, should be based on more than personal feelings. State the facts on which your opinions are based. We are entitled to our own interpretations of facts, but we shouldn't make up facts out of falsities, or dismiss facts put forward by others without good reason.
Annoyingly, Nielsen ends with...
Either way, the initiative puts Oregon in the business of promoting and selling marijuana. It also requires "accurate" drug education in schools, after spending several pages reciting, chapter and verse, what Oregonians would hereby define as The Truth about marijuana.
That's not decriminalization -- or education, either.
No, Ms. Nielsen, it is exactly the opposite of religion. Your opinion piece, on the other hand, is a good example of religiosity in a secular arena.
You start with a dogmatic conclusion -- the drug education programs supported by the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act would be harmful to children -- and unwaveringly stick to your dogma without providing any demonstrable evidence or solid reasoning to support your personal views.
Nielsen correctly says that the OCTA would require "accurate information" to be provided to students about drugs. What possibly could be wrong with this? Is Nielsen and the rest of the Oregonian editorial board in favor of providing inaccurate information to students?
Well, actually they probably are.
Because Nielsen decries the prospect of providing accurate information to Oregon's students. Apparently promulgating the truth about marijuana is too scary for her to contemplate, so Nielsen resorts to name calling: it's religion.
Being nonreligious myself, I agree that "it's religion" is an insult.
However, Nielsen should reserve those words for genuinely faith-based belief systems. The preamble to the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act isn't one. Statements about marijuana are made. Nielsen repeats some of them.
* Long-term, heavy marijuana users "do not deviate significantly from their social peers in terms of mental function."
* Moderate marijuana use "causes very little impairment of psychomotor functions."
* People who say marijuana is a gateway drug are lying. In fact, such lies "destroy the credibility of valid educational messages about moderate and responsible use (of marijuana) and valid warnings against other truly dangerous drugs."
* Marijuana is a "relatively nonaddictive and comparatively harmless euphoriant used and cultivated for more than 10,000 years without a single lethal overdose."
* Marijuana use "does not constitute a public health problem of any significant dimension."
* People have been misled about the true environmental and medical benefits of hemp and marijuana by "federal and corporate misinformation campaigns."
I don't claim to be an expert on the effects of marijuana. But I do have extensive practical experience with marijuana, having been a heavy user for several years in my college days.
I graduated With Great Distinction from San Jose State College, by the way; I didn't find that marijuana affected either my mental or physical functioning appreciably; I never encountered a belligerant marijuana user, or knew anyone who went on to harder drugs.
I follow research on marijuana as reported in general news sources and several scientific magazines I subscribe to. It seems to me that each of the OCTA statements cited by Nielsen is accurate. If she doubts any of them, she should have noted some particulars in her opinion piece.
Instead, Nielsen took the cheap-shot insinuation route, such as by italicizing accurate information.
Ooh, is that irony I detect on the Oregonian editorial page? Look at Susan Nielsen! She's an editorial page writer who can imply that "accurate information" means something other than what those words normally mean by activating the italics function on her word processor.
Well, I expect much better. So does The Ridenbaugh Press, which noted the same flaws in Nielsen's piece as I did.
Like many ballot issues, Measure 80 includes a section which includes some justification for itself, a series of statements either demonstrably true or at least as arguable as statements on many another ballot issue. With this one, though columnist Susan Nielson takes issue, not by way of disagreeing with the specifics (which might be hard to do) but making argument that sounds just this side of paranoid: “It appears eager to indoctrinate the next generation into thinking of marijuana use as no big deal and cannabis cultivation as downright patriotic.”
Really? Pro-pot indoctrination?
Oregonians need intelligent, thoughtful, reasoned discussions about the pros and cons of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act that we'll be voting on in a few months. Unfortunately, so far the state's largest newspaper doesn't seem to be capable or willing to participate in those discussions.