Essence of skunk, it’s everywhere

By Carol Walker

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Every once in a while at night we get a whiff of that familiar skunk smell wafting into our bedroom, making me a bit leery of taking the dog outside in the early morning hours, wondering if that furry critter might be lurking under our deck, ready to leave its mark. I hear it is happening in other parts of town, and those who want some information on how to handle the problem can call city hall.

But recently I read a couple articles on a whole lot “skunkier” problem with which other cities must contend. Carpinteria, Calif., a city with a booming floral industry, was undercut by flowers coming in from Central and South America. With marijuana legalization in the state, the greenhouses are now put to another use, the growing of pot. Neighbors are not too excited about the skunky smell that settles over the area when the pot plants are in bloom.

High Sobriety, a rehab facility, once located in Los Angeles, was relocated to San Fransisco. The reason? Residents were allowed to smoke as much marijuana as they wanted while de-toxing from other drugs, creating a cloud of smoke over the facility that apparently was not wanted in L.A.

I looked at a map of the United States that showed only four states, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, that still do not allow marijuana use of any kind. I kind of like the smell of pine trees and wild roses, even the odor of our black and white furry friends, and would hate to see it replaced by the smell of pot.

Now, companies like Heineken, Corona and Coors are leading the way in producing marijuana infused alcohol. As alcohol sales have dipped in states where marijuana is legalized, they see the bottom line. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. It is no longer buds or suds, but both. Constellation Brands, the United States seller of Corona, Modelo and Svedka vodka, bought a minority interest in Canada Growth, Canada’s largest marijuana company. (Canada legalized pot as a nation.) Constellation Brands CEO said their success is based on a “focus on identifying early stage consumer trends…” Money, it is what makes the world go round, eh?

So now parents can worry not only about the weekend beer party in the woods, but add to that a little marijuana in the beer. Big Alcohol of Canada is testing drinkables that would include not only THC-infused beer, wine and spirits, but also soda, coffee, iced tea and sports drinks.  This is on top of THC concentrate infused into things like gummy candy, lollipops and cupcakes.

Another company Ebbu, LLC, has a goal of “mainstreaming adult-use cannabis…” and now makes 5-mg. THC drops that can be added to drinks that make people high in five to fifteen minutes. Having the THC component in a glass of champagne or a can of beer, proponents say, will “separate pot use from the negatives of skunk smell, cotton mouth and cough tied to traditional reefer smoking.”

Apparently, most major hotels are reluctant to become pot-friendly, but the 420 Suites chain of 200 hotels in Massachusetts isn’t worrying about it, boasting hemp-infused shampoos, CBD-laced lozenges and discount coupons to the local dispensary. They want to “disassociate the stigma a bit and make the process less intimidating.”

Proponents don’t mention that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 30 percent of users will develop some sort of dependence on the drug and nine percent will be become addicted. Two recent reports, one from the World Health Organization and the other from the National Academy of Sciences, depict marijuana as harmful and potentially addictive for up to 50 percent of users.

When it comes to adolescents, studies show 17 percent of users turn into addicts, and three-fourths of admissions to publicly-funded addiction treatment centers are related to marijuana.  In Colorado, between 2004 and 2014, marijuana-related emergency room admissions for young people, ages 13-21, quadrupled.

The growing acceptance of marijuana use, fueled by money and profit, is like a tsunami, making its way across the country, encouraging people to seek peace and relief from stress from a substance that is becoming mainstream and can now be found in a wide array of products. It makes me sad, when all the while God is quietly calling us to a peace that endures.

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