Coming from a non-smoker: Marijuana shouldn’t be illegal

 

It has many names. That tends to be the case with drugs though. With this particular one, which can be called maryjane, weed, refer, grass, bud, herb, dro, ganja, sticky icky, and many other names, there seems to be a wide variety unlike any other substance. Marijuana, your influence goes far and wide. You touch so many lives, and make profit for so many restaurants when people need something fast after indulging in your sweetness. Unfortunately, most of these people have to do so in secret, because in most places, having you around is against the law. You have been proven to have legitimate medical uses, just like drugs sold in any pharmacy in the country. So why is it that the government has prohibition level stubbornness when it comes to you being used recreationally? I have no idea.

 

Notice that part of the title of this article says “Coming from a non-smoker”, because that’s what I am. I have never smoked and I have no desire to ever try. I have made that statement before to people and they have sometimes replied by asking “why?” and that is not only annoying, but stupid also. It’s not a requirement in life, that’s why. It’s not like showering or anything. Not showering isn’t an option, unless you want to spend all of your days alone. Smoking is optional. For the people that do it, more power to them. It’s just not something I ever wanted to try. I just don’t understand why smoking cigarettes is legal, and drinking is legal, but smoking marijuana isn’t.

 

Smoking cigarettes can cause cancer. Even second hand smoke can cause health problems. Alcohol kills more than all of the illegal drugs COMBINED, yet it’s legal to drink. Yes, combined means all together, and 100,000 is a huge number. That’s how many deaths occur every year that are alcohol related. On top of all of that, there are numerous other drunk driving incidents that don’t end in death, and  sexual assaults because of intoxication, and violent acts because some people get too much to drink and just get in fight mode for some reason, and sometimes people get drunk and get annoying and stupid, or they get hospitalized from dehydration. This all occurs from substances that are legal if you are of age.

 

The war on drugs seems to take attention away from that. Drugs like Heroine, Crack Cocaine, Meth, and numerous other illegal drugs get labels and get so much attention when Alcohol is the main substance causing deaths in this country. This article isn’t supposed to be about alcohol. I’m just using it to help make my point. NO, I’m not pushing for legalization of those Schedule 1 drugs by any means AT ALL. I’m just saying…people don’t overdose on Weed. Unlike Adderall, or Dilaudid, or Oxycodone, or Hydrocodone, to name a few, Marijuana is a plant and isn’t manufactured in a lab or factory. Those schedule 2 drugs just mentioned are dangerous, addictive and often abused and sold on the streets. It is illegal to do so, but even with that, they have medical purposes so they can be prescribed and given to patients ANYWHERE.

 

Yes, they were originally made to be sold in pharmacies and given to people in hospitals and nursing homes and wherever else drugs can be given, but they have come to be abused on the regular. It is what it is, but why is it that weed is sort of in the middle between Cocaine and Lortab? Yes, it has medical purposes like Lortab, but it is treated like Cocaine by the DEA. That’s just an example, because obviously cocaine has no legit medical use and needs to be illegal, but I don’t get why marijuana is sort of dangling between being ok and not being ok. In some places you can get medical marijuana, and in some places you can’t. In most places it is just illegal, but that is changing. In some states now you can actually have it if you don’t need it for medical reasons, but you can only have a certain amount and you can only have it at home.

 

 Just make it legal everywhere already!! I know it’s not that easy, but it’s not like legalizing Heroine. People might argue that they don’t want that drug in their neighborhood, but they either have a pill head next door or they are abusing their own pain meds. Why can’t it be legal everywhere and get taxed so Uncle Sam can get his cut? I don’t know. Uncle Sam makes plenty from Alcohol sales, yet people abuse Alcohol every day. Is there any other drug out there with medical use that can be sold and taken recreationally without having addicts walking around and killing people off? I don’t think so, and maybe that’s the problem for the government. Marijuana isn’t like Methamphetamine. You aren’t going to smoke weed and be strung out. If anything you will be diagnosed with severe munchies from what I have seen and heard.  Legal medical marijuana is offered in numerous states and Washington D.C., and in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and D.C. you can puff puff pass legally just because you want to.

 

In Colorado, there are more weed dispensaries than Starbucks and Mcdonalds locations combined. Even though Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, it is legal to light up in our nations capitol. I find that funny.  It confuses me that Federal Law still recognizes this as a Schedule 1 drug, which would classify it with the drugs with no medical purpose. I understand not wanting distribution to minors, and huge amounts that might bring revenue to cartels, but wouldn’t legalizing it federally make it less valuable to cartels, much like Prohibition ending killed business for rum runners back in the day? Even with it being illegal right now, they are still weighing, bagging and shipping it ANYWAY! They wouldn’t be able to do that as much if people everywhere could go to their local corner store and pick some up, because they wouldn’t need to buy it on the corner, if you know what I mean.

 

I don’t know if this will ever happen. If it doesn’t, I won’t lose any sleep because I don’t smoke anyway, so I’m not creeping around trying to find bud. Is it addictive? Yeah, I’m sure it is, but so is caffeine for goodness sake. Laws that don’t make a lot of sense, just don’t make a lot of sense. A happier America should be the goal, and an America with weed being legal everywhere would be a happier America. I’m not saying anybody should be able to just ride down the street and smoke out their cars. How about making it to where everybody could only do it inside. That way, if you aren’t a smoker and you don’t want to be around it, you don’t have to be.

 

No offense to anyone that does it, but there is nothing more nasty to me than people that buy chewing tobacco and walk around with that in their mouths. You can sit out on your porch and have a beer, even though there is no limit to how many you can have and having too many can lead you to stumble in the street and be hit by a car. You can smoke a cigarette all day, even though cigarettes smell like crap, in my opinion. I was only kidding about the happier America thing, but why can’t a person sit outside on their porch and just hit a blunt if they feel like it? I mean really, who are they going to hurt? I’m not a smoker, as has been stated more than once, I just don’t see a legit reason why weed is against federal law. Just my opinion. I’m going to have a Dr. Pepper now….Cheers.

 

Should people be made to have to stand for the National Anthem? We are supposed to be free in this Country, and standing is a choice

The definition of the word free is to “not be under the control of, or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes”. The definition of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. I wonder how many times you see or hear those two words when you hear about anything that is associated with America. They call our beautiful country “The land of the free”, but when you I think about it, a lot of things that are supposed to fall under that definition of “free” simply don’t. I say that with the national anthem in mind. Why? Well, because I don’t understand why it is such a big deal if people don’t stand for it. In my opinion, in this land of the free, you should be able to sit without it being such big deal.

A lot of people would disagree, and that is okay because that is their opinion, but my opinion is okay also. It doesn’t make a person any less of any American to not stand for the national anthem. Do I stand for it myself? Yes. I’ll admit that there have been times that I was wearing a hat and didn’t take it off, but I have always stood up for it. From the time you are a kid it is drilled in your head for you to do it, and I don’t have a reason not to. Someone might look at the last sentence and think “Well why are you writing this then? What are you trying to say?” I have an answer for that. I’m trying to say that I don’t think anyone should receive backlash if they don’t stand, and I disagree with anyone being forced to.

That completely goes against this being a “free” country to say that people must stand for the National Anthem. It just does. If you disagree with that, then that’s ok, because you have the right to disagree, but people have the right to not stand either. I’m repeating myself to make my point. Just to put it out there; I am not anti-America. I love my country. I respect the military and the men and women who have served and went to battle. I have two sisters that served in the NAVY, and I commend the ones who have put their lives on the line. Lee Greenwood wrote the song “God Bless the U.S.A” and part of it, as I’m sure you know, says “And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free, And I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me.”

I’m proud to be an American. I’m happy to be free. Part of being free is being able to have your own opinion and have freedom of choice if you aren’t breaking laws. Last I heard, sitting for the National Anthem isn’t against the law. I think it’s wrong that you have freedom of choice not to do so, but you don’t really have freedom of consequence with this. It’s almost like one of those unwritten rules that you HAVE to stand up, but you really don’t. It doesn’t make you unpatriotic. It doesn’t make you hate the country or have no respect for the armed forces. That is what people act like not standing for it does though. What would I do if I were at a game and the guy next to me didn’t stand? Nothing. That would be his choice.

It’s not a character issue. People who rape people or murder have character issues. If I were to put religion in it, then I don’t think that God (or whoever you believe in or worship) is going to hold it against you for not standing for a National Anthem. I’m a Christian. I’m a Christ follower, and if I stopped standing for the National Anthem for the rest of my life I don’t think God would frown on that when I get to Heaven and say it was a Sin. Killing is a sin, but even Almighty God will forgive you for that. People, on the other hand, hold grudges and get mad over stupid stuff, and act like they are perfect. In my opinion, being able to make our own choices is something basic that this country was built on.

People from all over the globe come here to get a taste of this freedom. If you haven’t heard of him, look up the story of a guy named Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He is a former NBA player that was suspended in 1996 for refusing to participate in the National Anthem pre-game ceremony. He ended up standing during the anthem and praying from that point on but ended up losing millions after that and it cut his career short because he was traded and after his contract expired no one would sign him, and he was only 29 years old and clearly still able to contribute as a player. He received death threats. He was actually born in America as Chris Jackson but he converted to Islam, and I don’t know the first thing about Islam, but it went against his religion, so he decided not to acknowledge the anthem. He didn’t try to convert anyone else, but people (including NBA commissioner David Stern) disagreed with his stance.

They had the right to disagree, but he had the right to not come out during the National Anthem. It’s not even because of his religion, it’s because in this country he was supposed to be free to do so. Like I said, I stand for the National Anthem, and my religion doesn’t say anything about whether I should or not, but I’m free to do whatever I want. Am I? I can’t think of any laws that say you can’t sit, and I can’t think of a place in the bible where it brings it up at all. In my opinion it’s not disrespectful, it’s just a personal choice. We are supposed to be free to have our own. God bless America.

Panama City Beach Spring Break Laws…Give me a Break

               Panama City Beach. PCB. The Spring Break capitol of the U.S. Well, maybe not anymore. This vacation spot in Northwest Florida is known for drawing crowds thanks to beautiful beaches. In recent years it has made headlines for other reasons, and those reasons are attributed to the unofficial holiday during March when thousands of college kids converge on the Bay County Beach town for Fun in the Sun during the week that their respective schools are out for Spring Break. I never indulged in spring break as a student, but I now call this city home. I moved to Panama City Beach during the summer of 2012 from Alabama and I knew about people coming here for vacation, but it was bigger than I thought.

                For someone that had never been to Florida at all before I moved here, I thought I would see people going to the beach, or see people walking around in bikinis or holding beers since it was June at the time. I knew spring break got crazy at times from me growing up in Alabama and hearing about it, but I thought that being here in the summer it would be a lot less mild. The first thing I did was stop at a Wal-mart Supercenter when I made it here, and when I walked inside I wondered if I somehow was  transported to a party on the beach . All I could think was “wow”. This wasn’t even Spring Break.

                I would come to see the madness of Spring Break nine months later. I’m not a drinker. I never have been, and never wanted to be. I always say “to each their own”, and I don’t mind people having fun and having a good time. No, I DO NOT condone some of the things that have happened in recent years, like people being raped or shot, but I also am not a fan of the 2016 No drinking on the beach law. I’m not a drinker, as stated earlier, so I’m not affected by that as far as the drinking thing goes, but with me being a resident of this city I am affected by the hit that the local economy takes.

                I didn’t grow up in a vacation spot, so I was unaware of how important certain parts of the year are here compared to others as far as making revenue is concerned, other than national holidays. That month is a big money time for the beach, so the revenue brought in from 100,000 or so extra people coming into the city buying whatever it is that they are going to buy is of great importance. Before you go saying that I am saying I think everything should be all about money let me say something….everything shouldn’t be all about money. I’m not a politician or a city leader, but I do understand the importance of your area having a good reputation.

                I understand that during a time that 18-22 (or more) year olds come to town in droves that any bad incident is going to make national headlines and make people look at your town in a negative way. I understand that drunk and disorderly people can be rude, people zig-zagging on scooters can be annoying, and people not cleaning up their trash is messy. I do also know that a lot of people around here count on that revenue to feed their families. If you are a retail manager or worker, a club owner or worker, a restaurant owner or worker, or an owner of certain seasonal small businesses you need that money to help you make a living. If you have another career, are retired or work for the city council or the Sheriff’s Office then you may not be affected by the new laws in that way so you, depending on who you are in that class of people, might not care about the needs of those people.

                To be fair, it is the job of law enforcement to serve and protect, and locals don’t have to be subjected to wild and crazy behavior. At the same time, I don’t think it makes sense for law enforcement to do random cup, bottle or can checks on the beach. I also don’t think it is fair to the local couple that has made a good living for themselves and on a weekend that they both have off, they can’t walk out of their back door with their beach chairs to go relax on the beach and have a beer together. It makes no sense to me to punish people that are obviously not displaying disorderly conduct. From my experience, Spring Break was more calm last year and should be this year so they have accomplished what they set out to do, but it’s done at the expense of people that need the money and people that might want to just relax on the beach without being harassed or arrested for something that is legal for the other 11 months of the year.  

                I have lived the majority of my time here right in the middle of it all. I had roommates in a condo with 21 floors at one point, and getting an elevator during the spring is like waiting in line at the DMV. Annoying at times I will admit, especially since we stayed on the 15th floor, but life is annoying at times without Spring Break. It is what it is. A couple of times I had random people knock on my window and scream at night. I guess for me that isn’t enough to despise Spring Break even though it obviously got on my nerves. Would I change anything if I could go back? No. I liked my roommates and liked living there despite the occasional annoying incident.  The place I live now is right on a busy road and close to night clubs and condos, so it’s like being right in the middle of the city that never sleeps. During the spring people are constantly coming by, being loud, and yelling “WOOOHOOOO!” when you go out to your mail box. I knew what I was getting myself into, and there is always something going on here. During bike week, which happens twice a year, it constantly sounds like motorcycles are revving up in my living room.

                I’m not being whiny and saying “Get rid of bike week!!” I’m not saying that anyone against spring break is whining either. I’m just saying that people should know that this is a vacation spot and a beautiful city, so what else do they expect? This isn’t a city-sized retirement community. I’d be willing to bet that a lot of people that complain were just as wild in their day, and now that they are married with kids or just old they want peace and quiet. Maybe they are neither and just don’t have a life other than playing video games all night, so they just hate on the people that aren’t that lame and actually want to get some fresh air. I say let the kids have some fun. If you are spiritual, invite them to your church instead of talking down about them. How about being a missionary instead of just being sour.

                I can understand wanting to cut down on negative incidents. Trust me; I get it. Let us not forget   about the people that, like you, have to make a living and thereby depend on having these people come so they can take care of their families. Yes, it’s only one month, but think from the perspective of the guy or lady that works at one of these restaurants that has kids that go to school with your kids or grandkids. You could argue that kids don’t need to see people getting drunk and taking off their bras, or having sex on the beach. I agree with that, but kids also need to eat and everyone doesn’t have a lucrative career. A lot of these people are out of work during the winter months, and Spring Break comes and they can begin to provide for their loved ones better.

                Yes, it’s up to them to manage their money, because they know they will have their hours cut for a few months, but I live across the street from a restaurant that closes completely for a few months. It’s not just a building that is there for show, people work there. Locals get their feelings hurt because they see half-naked people, and laws get passed so now places like that take a hit. I feel the need to keep on bringing up the fact that I’m not saying that there should be no order, because I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that people should get over themselves and their feelings. That’s my opinion. You have yours and probably think I’m stupid if you disagree. That is totally fine with me.

                I honestly have never understood why people feel the need to go out of town just to get drunk. I think people can do that at home and save money, but maybe people like to be able to say they came to the beach to do it. Obviously they do, because now that they can’t they aren’t coming here. Opinions differ on the subject. I’ve ran my mouth for a while and given mine. Thank God for freedom of speech. They can disagree, but they can’t take that away.

Jalen Hurts is still the Man..Welcome Brian Daboll

 Jalen Hurts is still the man…Welcome Brian Daboll

I remember the buzz following Jalen Hurts after the A-day game last year. Even before that, he simulated Deshaun Watson before the Championship Game. Even though he was drawing raves, history wasn’t on his side. That history being the fact that Nick Saban had never started a true freshman QB. Only one has started in the history of Alabama football. Simply put, Jalen Hurts was a true freshman, and true freshmen don’t start at the University of Alabama at quarterback.

Add to that the fact that three other more experienced Quarterbacks were already ahead of him, and even though it seemed intriguing, it just seemed unlikely. Hurts brought athleticism to the position that isn’t a big asset of the usual Nick Saban quarterback other than former starter Blake Sims who was able to use his legs and be allusive when necessary. Other guys were just more experienced and further ahead in then Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin’s offense. Hurts was the future, but he couldn’t really come in and start as an 18 year old could he?

I, like anyone else, has always thought that the best person for the job should play, but I also thought that Hurts may not be ready to start in the SEC for a team that wants to contend for a championship as an 18 year old. Not that I was rooting against him, because there is no reason for that, but I was thinking that Coach Saban always goes with experience, and even if he didn’t, Blake Barnett came to campus the year before and he had created a buzz.

Another year, another QB competition that seemingly takes an eternity to be unresolved. I thought about Nick Saban and his “process” and how well waiting to see who the best guy is has worked out for him at The Capstone going back to AJ Mccarron and Phillip Sims. It took three games for AJ to win the job, and we know how that worked out. Records were broken, championships were won, but eligibility runs out.

 

Coaches change schools also, and Alabama also saw Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier move on after that season. What did Nick Saban do? The most unlikely move of his Alabama coaching career (so far). Who would’ve thought that he would hire Lane Kiffin? An offensive extraordinaire for sure, but this is the same Lane Kiffin that coached the Raiders in the NFL, the Tennessee Vols and USC. He was as unlikely a candidate to run Saban’s offense as you could think of. On top of that, the most experienced QB at the time is former running back Blake Sims.

Another year, and another QB battle with Jake Coker transferring in from Florida State after sitting behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. We all became spoiled with the greatness of McCarron, then we go on to a QB battle between two guys with no starts. This is where Kiffin showed his abilities as a Coach. There was a buzz about Coker and his arm, but Sims ended up winning the job after the start of the season. Honestly, I was glad he did, because he waited his time for four years, and he gave Alabama fans a pretty good show that year.

He would go on to set passing records and helped lead Alabama to the first ever College Football Playoff. Even though it ended with a loss to Ohio State in the semi-final, things were great because Alabama football was still great even with so much change going into the season. More change was to come though. Sims was a senior, so another new QB would be starting next season. Most fans, like me, started to speculate as soon as the season was over.

Is it going to be Coker? Is it going to be Cooper Batemon? There is no offseason. Once again, Alabama nation had to trust the process and wait until after another season started before we all knew who would be starting at Quarterback. Coker ended up winning the job, and the rest is history. Another Championship to add to an already hefty history of championships. The Saban-Kiffin pairing is working pretty well. Another year in the playoff, and a Championship this time around. Another senior QB also, which means another offseason of questions. On top of that, Kirby Smart is leaving to go to the University of Georgia.

Nobody got things twisted. Offense can win some games and get you on Sportscenter top 10, but defense can win you championships. Nick Saban has built his career on being a defense guy, and the machine he has built at Alabama has routinely put out top ranked defensive units. These are the guys that can give even a new QB a chance by making sure he doesn’t have to play catch up on the regular.

Enter Jeremy Pruitt from Georgia. Top shelf hire. Worked under Saban before. He will make sure the defense doesn’t miss a beat, but once again, who will be behind center on offense? Once again, that is THE question, but once again the trust is there because Saban and Kiffin are still there. For the third straight season, this question is unanswered going into the season opener.

Blake Barnett is announced as the starter seemingly right before the September 3rd game against USC, and I thought the question was in the past and that we wouldn’t have to wait more than one game to know who the starter was going to be. I was right, but Barnett would end up being replaced by Hurts after the offense wasn’t producing enough yards, and after fumbling on his very first college snap he would throw two TD passes and pass for 118 yards while going 6 for 8.

He also rushed for 2 TD’s, which is an exciting element to the offense from the quarterback position that would serve him and the team well throughout the season. All in all, it served him well to have such a stout defense in this game (USC only scored 6 points) and throughout the season, and running back Damien Harris rushed for 138 yards on 9 carries. Alabama found its quarterback. Hurts went on to win the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC freshman of the year. He started all 15 games and passed for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, while rushing for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Despite pushes from people out there that are never satisfied and want to see Tua Tagovailoa start after Alabama lost the National Championship game to Clemson where Hurts didn’t have his best showing (13-31, 131 yards, 1 TD), and couldn’t convert on 3rd down, his performance wasn’t as bad as some have made it out to be. I thought the game was over after his rushing touchdown with a little over two minutes remaining.

Alabama just hurt themselves with penalties (and if I remember right there were two against the defense on Clemson’s last drive), and it hurt the offense when Bo Scarbrough went down. He left the game with 93 yards on 16 carries and 2 touchdowns. It doesn’t matter what offense we run or who is throwing the ball, Alabama always uses the running game to wear opponents down. With him being the workhorse the last couple of games and Clemson being unable to stop him I wonder what could’ve been had he not went down with an injury.

I wish him well, and he will be back strong next year, but Hurts in the unquestioned QB and the MVP in this offense in my opinion. He will develop more as a passer. That’s what practice and the off season are for. Who knew that he would go on to have the type of year that he had? I think in today’s world some people tend to focus on the bad and not appreciate what they have, and that leads them to want whatever (or whoever) is new.

I would say don’t forget that Hurts was only 18 years old and is far from a finished product. Despite that fact, look at what he was able to do this past season. If he keeps progressing, I see him possibly going to the NFL after his junior season, and leaving the offense to Tagovailoa, who at that point would have three years of eligibility remaining if he redshirts during the 2017 season. That’s a great scenario in my mind. If Hurts stays 4 years, I certainly wouldn’t complain. I’m not a fan of the Heisman trophy, but at times during his true freshman season he was being mentioned as a possible candidate, but people continually point to his issues. Imagine what good he will become with more experience?

I don’t know for sure how things will turn out next season, but I’m going to assume that Hurts will be the starter. The real question now is who will call plays? Here we go again with questions, but the word on the street is that New England Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll will be named the new OC. With success comes opportunity, and opportunity has come knocking frequently with assistants under Coach Saban. Kiffin went to FAU, which still baffles my mind, but the guy wanted to be a head coach again. My hopes that Kirby smart would stay and take over after Saban were dashed, and I honestly hoped the same for Kiffin afterward. He is gone, but Sarkisian was there. WAS.

The fact that Sarkisian left to take the same position for the Atlanta Falcons was surprising to me, because he was able to get that job after only coaching one game over a couple of seasons, but it is what it is. He is gone. Welcome Brian Daboll. Obviously, he comes from a championship atmosphere being under Bill Belichick for four seasons. He has 17 years of NFL experience and was a grad assistant under Coach Saban for 2 years under him at Michigan State.

It helps that they have a history, and Coach Saban is great at picking offensive coordinators. He has won at least one title with every OC he has had at Alabama, so why can’t it happen again with Daboll? Look at the weapons the future OC will have…Hurts, an embarrassment of riches at RB, Calvin Ridley. It’s an attractive job. They get a whole spring and summer to work together before next season. Stay tuned. Roll Tide Roll.

 

 

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