Innovation in Illinois

640px-Marijuana-Cannabis-Weed-Bud-GramThere are moments when I’m proud to be from Illinois.

The Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks have sometimes made me proud (although not lately).

The Nobel-prize winners from our universities have made me proud.

Being the “Land of Lincoln” makes me proud. Lincoln was among the greatest of Americans.

In recent months our state officials have spent considerable time and energy (and lots of money) to prepare for what they say is a badly needed product in the state.  The governor and his minions claim there is a huge demand for this innovative product.

The people who buy it will be happy. And taxes on the product with fill the state’s coffers with vast fortunes to build roads, repair bridges, educate our youth, and provide all sorts of free stuff to the poor.

Not only that, this product is versatile and can be sold in many different forms in various quantities. Darn near anyone can afford it and it provides happiness and a vast sense of well-being.

On the downside, its use likely leads to more vehicle accidents, various health problems, addiction, and lost productivity among workers.

You see, we’re talking about marijuana.

At a time when government health officials are ranting about the dangers of cigarettes and passing restrictions on “vaping”, the folks running Illinois are making it easy and relatively cheap to buy and smoke pot – or consume its mind-altering component in various other forms.

Used to be at the annual Christmas gathering you could smell the fruitcake to determine whether it contained brandy and should be off-limits for the kids.  Now you can only hope the cake contains only child-friendly ingredients.

The legal sale of pot started January 1 and watching the local news in recent days I got the impression this was one of the state’s greatest moments.  People old enough to know better were extolling the benefits of the drug.

State officials promised licenses to sell marijuana will be fairly doled out and people from all creeds, colors, and economic backgrounds will benefit. You would think someone just invented a pill to cure cancer.

I’m willing to predict that the ill effects of legal pot will greatly outweigh the benefits. That is an easy prediction to make; the benefits are terribly shallow.

Being a resident of the state determined to be the nation’s leader in the sale of recreational marijuana leaves me ashamed.