What about the children?

As legal cannabis has rolled out, we hear the battle cry again and again....

By Peter C Bernard

What about the children!?

What about the children, indeed? The Commonwealth’s prohibitionists have made cannabis out to be the bane of our youth’s existence. Concerns over child safety have resulted in doses so low that most casual users would need ten to fifteen servings to catch a buzz. Concerns over children’s safety have resulted in child proof packaging that also happens to be fairly adult proof, too. Have you tried opening some of these things? They should come with instructions written in cursive so that kids won’t be able to read them. 

With all this in mind, it got me to thinking. What ABOUT the children? It’s about their safety, after all, isn’t it? None of us want our youth exposed to poisons that could cause death or ruin their lives.  We don’t want to see images in the news of a carload of teens wrapped around a phone pole. No town needs kids hanging out in front of a store asking adults to buy for them. 

The alcohol industry has been preying on our youth for decades. Skittles Smirnoff. Sour Apple Pucker. Fireball shots. Vanilla vodka. Chocolate liquor. Cotton candy flavored vodka. Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Hard cider. Apple whiskey. The list goes on and on when you Google “candy flavored alcohol”. These flavors are surely intended to appeal to our youth. These products are in brightly labeled packaging. They are flavors enticing to children. No candy-flavored alcohol of any kind should be allowed. 

Alcohol is as readily available as a bag of potato chips. Any child can pick up a six pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, or any other of a number of alcohol products in the aisle, in either Walmart within a 20 minute drive of my home. Kids can walk into Walmart and pick a six pack up right off the shelf. How do we know they won’t be able to sneak a bottle or two, or even a whole case, right out the door? Alcohol should be sold retail in a high security building with cameras everywhere and a guard at the door and redundant ID checks at the door and at the counter. 

We also must consider the potency of some alcohol products. Vodka is 80 to 100 proof. Bacardi makes a rum that is 151 proof and can be set on fire! There is a high risk of alcohol poisoning from liquor this strong. No alcohol product should be allowed to have a potency beyond 40 proof. Beer and wine are fermented spirits. They too should be limited in potency. No beer should be allowed to contain more than 3.2% alcohol by volume, and wine limited to 8%. If it doesn’t get you drunk, just drink more of it. Eventually you’ll get there. We must think about our children’s safety!

Retailers should not be allowed to be within 2,000 feet of a playground, daycare, school, place of worship, or statue of any historical figure. A retailer needs to be in a zone specified for alcohol business. A Host Community Agreement needs to be implemented where that retailer pays up a percentage of its earnings every year to the town, for the town to do whatever they want with. Retailers should also be required to pass the same kind of background check the military does when it issues a top-secret clearance. Only then can we trust them not to divert alcohol to minors or the illicit market. 

 I won’t even get into the addiction aspect of it. Over ten percent of those who consume alcohol are hopelessly addicted physically to this substance. Withdrawals from alcohol can eve kill you (Google it, it’s a fact) and not even fentanyl withdrawal can’t do that. That’s right. If you’ve been drinking hard enough, going cold turkey can actually kill you. 

At the end of the day, you can see that alcohol is terribly under-regulated. Something needs to be done. The madness needs to cease. 

Peter C. Bernard is a medical cannabis patient, the president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, and a contributor to midnightmass.substack.com andThe Young Jurks. You can listen toThe Young Jurks on itunes or wherever else podcasts are streamed. This article was produced with support from Midnight Mass and The Young Jurks, where your contributions are greatly appreciated and help us deliver more local coverage.

CDA & State police art: Graham Svorten.

Listen to our latest episode of The Young Jurks podcast, featuring many voices, Massachusetts patients speaking out against a new cannabis prohibition.