By Tammy Wood
The influx of synthetic Cannabinoids into our community over the past few months has upset many of the community members. I, for instance, am livid. The thought of what has been going on right under our nose is astonishing. Never would I imagine such travesties would occur so close to home. Why there is not an angry mob of protesters chanting and waving picket signs still baffles me.
For those of you whom are unaware what the synthetic Cannabinoids, commonly referred to as K2, are; here is a brief history:
In 1996 Dr. John W. Huffman needed a way to get around the restrictions of studying cannabis, (a.k.a Marijuana) so he synthesized Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol. (THC) This is the principal active component of cannabis. DR. Huffman’s intention from this science experiment was to explore, among a myriad of other medical advances, the cancer killing properties of cannabis without breaking the law.
By 2002, the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of the American youth sprang forth. A few college kids had quickly realized they could replicate the compound, bond it to plant material, put it in their pipe, and smoke it. While it is often called incense, to think of it as aromatherapy is a misconception. What it really consists of is plant matter, (often damiana, marshmallow leaf, or lotus flower just to name a few) that has been bonded with Synthetic Cannabinoids. Over the next nine years this science experiment grew into a billion dollar industry.
In August of 2010 Wood Pipes Smoke Shoppe was opened by Tammy & Brian Wood in Kendall WI. The first two weeks of sales were primarily centered on smoking accessories, however customers quickly alerted the new retailers of the synthetics. Sales of the drug in our community promptly soared.
In November of 2010 the 14 year old son of a Kendall resident Silvia Maurer was rushed to an emergency room with an overdose from what we all can assume (although only he and God knows for sure) was some variation of the synthetic pot. Unlike the harmless effects of cannabis the synthetics are sometimes bonded with solvents such as acetone (fingernail polish remover) which can of its self cause adverse effects on the human body.
On Monday February 7th 2011 the Kendall Village Board members are planning to vote in favor of enacting an ordinance that mirrors the newly enacted prohibition in Hillsboro. Essentially the vote will make Silvia’s son a criminal. Mrs. Maurer herself would become a criminal as the minor was engaging in the criminal activity in her home under her supervision. This vote would also make criminals out of the youth’s uncle and aunt as they were also present at the time the overdose occurred.
Just like so many other small communities all over Wisconsin, board members consisting of a handful of people are quietly revoking the rights of American citizens and turning them into common criminals. Often, as in Hillsboro, they are leaving the public ten days or less to oppose the Prohibition. The January notice for the Kendall village board meeting was just as deceitful; they listed Line Item 10 as “Controlled Substances”. This is intentionally misleading as the synthetics are not a controlled substance. The Notice was posted on December 31st just one business day prior to the meeting. Their intention was to vote the Prohibition into effect, however the village lawyer had not spent enough of our tax dollars and need more time to go over the ordinance they wish to copy from Hillsboro.
You may be wondering why they would be spending upwards of $100.00 an hour to utilize the village lawyer? One speculation is they do not want to be legally responsible for closing the doors of Yet Another business in Kendall. This past year alone Kendall has watched the lights go out at, the meat market, Cindy’s bar as well as a beloved fixture of the town’s history, Kendall motors. This only adds to the the vancant grocery and pharmacy whose doors had closed years back. Also no longer available are the gas pumps at the co-op.
During Januarys meeting the Kendall Village board was posed a number of fair questions. The answers provided only exemplified their lack of knowledge, which quite frankly bordered on sheer ignorance.
In reply to why they want to enact a ban in the first place Board member Jim Lunde quickly placed his hands behind his head and proudly proclaimed “We are the board, We can ban anything We wanna ban” As another member, Deb Larsen, chimed in “everybody else is doing it, Hillsboro did it”.
When asked if they had preformed a cost analysis of the prohibition board member Bob Mahr boldly insisted it “wouldn’t cost the village a penny”. However one must consider the officer’s time, the prosecutor’s time, the judge’s time, as well as the cost to seat a jury of twelve. In addition to the cost, one must also weigh the burden it adds to the court and how that may affect the cases of burglary, (which should be the primary concern in light of the amount of theft and Armed Burglary that has occurred in the past few years) as well as cases of violent crimes.
To answer the question of what, if any, health hazard it may pose the board members fell into a collective buzz circling the Maurer boy. When the point was made that having never denied side effects, synthetics still pose Less Risk than alcohol Bob Mahr was again quick to reply “I tell ya Budweiser would never do that”. When it was brought to their attention that the consumption of alcohol Alone causes roughly 1000 deaths a year in Wisconsin, (just from drinking it, this does not count traffic fatalities or alcohol fueled domestic violence) where as there have been No Confirmed deaths from the synthetic since its discovery fifteen years ago, the only discernable reaction received from the board was the shrinking of their necks.
Other than the incident involving the Maurer boy, the Kendall village board had no research to provide examples of the dangers they would be rescuing consenting adults from. When asked if they had considered a prohibition geared toward minors under 18 or perhaps 21, Dick Martin had stated they had never even discussed leaving the rights of adults intact. Not infringing on the Rights and Freedoms of grown adults never even crossed their mind.
As the board adjourned to closed session, Deb Larson said in what resembled a sing song voice “Buh Bye, see ya, go on now Buh Bye” As I left with this still ringing in my ear, I examined what I learned from the January meeting of the Kendall Village Board: “They are the board they can Ban anything, whether they have sound reason or not. This sounds a lot like school yard bulling and intimidation. Fitting with the bulling and sing song taunting the Kendall Village board also plays copy cat, just because Hillsboro jumped off the bridge they have a good excuse to jump as well? Is this really the message we want to send to our children? The village board wants to save our children by eliminating adult choice. As I Stated to the board, “how do The Parents teach THEIR children how to make good decisions if the Parents Right to make decisions is robbed from them?”
“Just because Hillsboro did it.” I want to teach my children to go to the source. (Even if that means listening to some one “preach” their point of view) So I called the City of Hillsboro and Spoke with Adam Sonntag the Administrative Intern, as well as the City Administrator Brett Klenn. I asked them the same questions posed to the Kendall board. Hillsboro also did not perform a cost analysis, nor did they assess the risk to the public. They also had never considered leaving the rights of adults intact by imposing restrictions on minors. The citizens of Hillsboro had not flooded the board with calls of concern; in fact not one call had been placed. They enacted their ban because other municipalities were doing it.
I spoke with Chief Richardson as well as the principal of Hillsboro High. They had not had one case of students bringing the drug to school. They had not seen a decline in student behavior or any signs of drug abuse by the students of Hillsboro High. As a matter of fact in recent years the Hillsboro high had only a single incident of a student selling Ritalin to classmates.
It is also important to note, Chief of Kendall Police Richard Laxton’s stated his concerns with banning the synthetic were solely centered on prosecuting drugged drivers. However, since Wisconsin has Operating While under the Influence (OWI) laws in place, he can rest assured he can ticket any one driving under the influence of any drug that impairs their driving. In addition Chief Laxton has a Facebook page; many citizens have posted support for their Right to choose as well as links to more information regarding synthetics. However Chief Laxton quickly censors the information and statements from those he serves by deleting the posts.
Wood Pipes Smoke Shoppe is a family owned store. Before exposing my family or my customers to this drug I did my research. What I found is it is a lot like marijuana, only legal. Besides the buzz it produces, it has been proven to kill cancer cells as well as ease the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. It is proven to be safer than alcohol (as well as tobacco) and when used by responsible adults it seems like the smarter way to unwind.
Compared to alcohol which depresses and dulls the senses, lasting for multiple hours (longer if you count the hangover) Synthetics enhances and heightens the senses lasting less than an hour. There is no hang over and it has not been shown to be addictive, unlike alcohol. This is not to say synthetics pose no side effects. We provide our customers with a detailed list of side effects that may occur as well as a comparison to the effects of alcohol, allowing them an informed choice.
What we have in Kendall as well as all the other copy cat towns and villages is a lot of rhetoric and pretence. Board members consisting of a few people whom have not even done any research are turning their citizens into criminals for choosing an alternate way to unwind. Do we really need to invent more ways to turn otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals?
This is more than the negative effects of a pretend pot. This is the slow degradation of our rights as American citizens. Who are they protecting us from? Are we really so weak we cannot make our own decisions? Do we really want our personal choices to be made by those not concerned enough to even search a website much less perform a safety or cost analysis?
“Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.” ~Abraham Lincoln
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion. ~Thomas Jefferson