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 10 to 15 servings to catch a buzz. Concerns over the safety of children have resulted in childproof packaging that also happens to be fairly adultproof, 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. And the waste!
With all this in mind, it got me thinking: What about the children, really? 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—just 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 something sweet, or of any number of products in the aisle, at Walmart or a package store. At some places, a kids can walk right up and pick a six-pack 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, a guard at the door, and redundant ID checks at the door and 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. 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 10% of those who consume alcohol are hopelessly addicted physically to this substance. Withdrawals from alcohol can even kill you (Google it, it’s a fact). That’s right. If you’ve been drinking hard enough, going cold turkey can actually kill you.
Clearly, you can see that alcohol is terribly underregulated. 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 and The Young Jurks. You can listen to The 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.