Monday, January 6, 2014
Congratulations, Washington voters. Conservative darling Bill O'Reilly has named you, along with the voters of Colorado, his "Pinheads of 2013" for voting to legalize marijuana.
Hear his fury (a longer clip is available on his website here):
We'll ignore the fact that voters legalized pot in both states in 2012, not 2013. O'Reilly's primary concern here seems to be children's access to the drug. He's not alone in that worry, but state regulators have promised preventing underage use will be a top priority. (The Washington State Liquor Control Board, which is regulating marijuana in Washington, has said it will use undercover minors, like it does for liquor stores, to make sure pot stores are following the law, which prohibits sale to those younger than 21.) Not only will kids be getting high, O'Reilly warns, but they'll find themselves with lower IQs and gripping addictions. The addiction question is a big one in this historic moment for marijuana. Some argue pot is not at all addictive, while others claim that, while it may not cause the same violent withdrawals as harder drugs, regular users will indeed find themselves craving it if they quit. Even so, the numbers remain small: The National Institute of Drug Abuse says just 9 percent of marijuana users will become dependent on the drug, compared to 23 percent of heroin or methamphetamine users.
It may feel like O'Reilly is on the fringe here, considering the way we've become more accepting of marijuana in recent history, but remember, 40 percent of Americans still don't believe pot should be legal. As legalization gets underway in Washington and Colorado, we're likely to hear more from this contingent.