Marijuana May Make for Great Comic Fare, but Marketing it to Children is Wrong

Date: Monday, May 16, 2005

By: David Person,

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – A recurring bit in comedian Rayzor’s stand-up routine at the Improv Saturday night was that he had smoked some weed before he hit the stage to open for Bill Bellamy. So whenever he said something that was really crazy or even seemed to be losing his place, he blamed it on being high.

As a comedy routine, it worked. We all laughed.

But in real life, marijuana is not so funny -– especially not when children are being exposed to it.

Recent news reports indicate that marijuana lollipops are being marketed to children on the Internet and have been spotted in convenience stores in New York City, Alabama and North Carolina. Because they don’t contain THC, the ingredient in the marijuana plant that gives its smokers the buzz, the lollipops can be sold legally.

One of the brands is called Chronic Candy. Chronic, you may recall, is one of marijuana’s street names and became a popular slang term for it after Dr. Dre’s compact disc “The Chronic” was released in 1992. Chronic Candy’s slogan is: "Every lick is like taking a hit."

In fact, it’s reportedly because of rappers and celebrities that Chronic Candy and other brands of marijuana lollipops are becoming more popular. For some folks this is no big deal.

For me, it’s a very big – and disturbing – deal.

Once a person is legal and responsible for their own actions, it’s perfectly fine for them take whatever chances they want. But children are vulnerable and impressionable. I don’t know how anyone can rationalize making marijuana – even in a non-addictive form – accessible to children.

If grown folks want to light up – or in the case of these lollipops, lick up – I have no beef with them. I never have, but I’ve certainly been around those that were. And given the choice between being hanging out with a crowd that’s liquored up or people who have gotten mellow and are floating on a bud cloud, I’ll take the latter.

Folks who smoke weed don’t tend to be violent, loud or rowdy. Drunks, on the other hand, tend to take crazy, high-risk chances when they’re not being mean, overbearing or acting depressed.

Of course they are still taking a chance if they are taking a hit off of someone else’s joint, not knowing whether or not it’s been laced with some additive designed to intensify the high. Some – back in my day it was embalming fluid as I recall – can make what should be a mellow buzz something much more dangerous to themselves and others.

Still, I recognize that marijuana is an illegal drug and that alcohol isn’t, despite all the problems it causes and lives it takes. So while I certainly don’t advocate that anyone use marijuana, I’m simply saying that between it and alcohol, I believe it’s liquor that does the most damage.

Regardless, I say let grown folks do their thing and bare responsibility for their actions. If they want to have a drink, it’s legal. Plenty were doing just that while Rayzor and Bill Bellamy were doing their show.

If they want to smoke weed to get high, that’s their choice and their risk. But marketing marijuana to children is unconscionable.

Those who make these marijuana lollipops deny that their products are enticing children. Maybe they’ve been taking a few too many hits themselves.

Putting marijuana in lollipop form absolutely makes illegal drugs and the underground drug culture more appealing to children. And the owners of the convenience stores that are selling these lollipops are fooling themselves if they think they are not culpable.

They may not be actual drug dealers, but they are darn sure a step too close.

It’s one thing to sit in a smoke-free nightclub in this upscale Florida enclave and laugh at a comedian who pretends (at least I think he was) that he got buzzed before he began his act. It’s another to learn that children are being exposed to the world of illegal drugs by candy, something that should be completely harmless and non-controversial.

To me, that’s no laughing matter.

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