Chicago Tribune 9 December 2018
When I hear people say marijuana is a harmless drug, from the days of hippies and Woodstock and a time gone by — a time remembered as carefree — I want to tell them my story about today’s marijuana. It’s a story of grief, loss and what could have been. It’s a story about a life snuffed out by a stranger who was too high to operate a car properly.
In 2012, my daughter, Jennifer Hrobuchak, in the prime of her life, was hit by a man racing through a red light at more than 80 mph. His car slammed into the side of my daughter’s car. She had no time to react, to think, to even say goodbye. She died at the scene. She was only 22 years old.
This is how I see marijuana.
This driver, who bought his pot in Michigan, crossed the state border into Ohio unnoticed and then committed a crime I hope no one else ever has to experience. Don’t tell me marijuana is victimless. Don’t tell me marijuana can be legalized in one state and stay put. Don’t tell me this drug is a benefit to society when the facts state otherwise.
In Colorado, the first state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, a study found that of the 4,000 drivers tested for marijuana in 2016, 73 percent were found to have the drug in their system. What may be more shocking is that police were only able to test a small number of drivers pulled over that year because they deemed it too expensive to check every person for marijuana.
The pot of today is by no means the pot of the 1960s or even the 1990s. Fifty years ago a typical joint contained 5 percent THC (the compound that gives a user a high). Today’s high-potency pot is up to 99 percent THC. This is the marijuana that is being pushed as risk-free, and there are plenty of unsuspecting victims.
Some pot shop workers, most with no medical experience and despite warnings from doctors, are telling pregnant women to use the drug to ease morning sickness. Studies also have found traces of THC in breast milk almost a week after a mother’s last use.
Children, another favorite target of the marijuana industry, are being enticed by bright and colorful pot-infused candies, gummies and sodas. They are pleasing and attractive to the young eye, and when confused for the real deal can result in an emergency room visit.
This industry wants to plant itself in our cities, towns and neighborhoods and spread its deadly disease. As a mother who lost her daughter to a drugged driver, I can tell you that allowing marijuana anywhere will only bring with it hopelessness, addiction and regret.