By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Randall Police Chief and Little Falls Police Officer Charles Strack spoke to the Randall City Council Wednesday night. He asked the members to pass a resolution asking state officials to keep marijuana illegal in Minnesota.
“I want to keep our community and the state marijuana-free,” said Strack.
Why doesn’t Strack want medical marijuana to be legalized? He said if it became legal, it would be just like big tobacco was 30 – 40 years ago, and still is today.
“Big tobacco lied to people for more than a century about the dangers of smoking. They deliberately targeted kids and doctors promoted their use as medicine. Today, we are paying the price,” he said.
Strack said that if marijuana is legalized, it will be commercialized, too. Big tobacco companies may even take over the marijuana industry once it gets going.
As far as health risks, Strack said marijuana use directly affects the brain, and in particular, the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning attention and reaction time. He said the effects may last up to 28 days after it was used.
“The developing brains in adolescents are especially susceptible,” he said.
Strack cited other health issues which included an increase chance of a heart attack within the first hour of use, onset of bronchitis due to the carcinogens present in marijuana.
“While marijuana smoke contains 50 – 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke, according to the American lung Association,” Strack said, “scientists have not found a link between lung cancer and marijuana use.”
Strack also said that marijuana is linked with schizophrenia and psychosis, depression and anxiety.
“Marijuana today is four to five times stronger than the marijuana of the 1960s and 1970s,” said Strack. “It is addictive.”
Law enforcement agrees that marijuana has a medicinal value and it’s hoping more research is done to deliver that value in a non-smoked form.
Marijuana is known to treat pain associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis, can alleviate nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy and AIDS patients and lower eye pressure when treating glaucoma. It also, in preliminary findings, has been useful in treating adrenal disease, inflamed bowels, migraines and fibromyalgia.
Strack said other plant-based medications are not smoked to get their benefits. Marijuana-based medications could be delivered in the form of pills, sprays, injection and patches to receive its benefits.
For more information, visit http://learnaboutsam.com.
Randall City Council briefs
Other business conducted by the Randall City Council Wednesday night included:
• Hearing Jessica Nutz’ concerns about the lack of sidewalk from Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary School to Sixth Street. She said it is dangerous to walk on the narrow road when cars are present. Councilman and school bus driver Jerry Carter agreed, saying that he hopes he doesn’t meet a car when driving his bus in the area. Mayor Bob Riitters said the city should look into getting a “Safe Routes to School” grant. Other options discussed were adding a sidewalk along the school’s fence, joining the sidewalk on Sixth Street, or adding a gate to the fence on Sixth Street so people could walk on school property, thus avoiding the narrow road. The Council will look into the problem and discuss it at a future meeting; and
• Passing a resolution to support tax-exempt bonds which are an advantage to both cities and to those who purchase them. City Manager Jerry Peterschick said the federal government is talking about eliminating tax-exempt bonds to create more revenue, but Peterschick said people will be less likely to purchase them if they have to pay taxes on the interest.
The old bonds would be grandfathered in, and if the tax-exempt bonds are eliminated, the newly-offered bonds would have a higher interest rate than the tax-exempt ones.
The next City Council meeting will be held at the Randall Fire Hall Wednesday, March 20, at 7 p.m.