Should Las Vegas Be the Next ‘Pot Sanctuary’ City?

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A large green flowering bud on a marijuana plant.

Berkeley, California, recently declared themselves a “pot sanctuary city,” a riff off the fact that neighboring San Francisco has self-declared as a sanctuary city for immigrants. That is, the Berkeley City Council passed a measure stating that they will not assist in the prosecution of those who use marijuana legally and in so doing sent a message to the Trump administration and the rest of the country as well.

Mayor Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley said: “We should ensure that our police will not be involved in the enforcement of federal drug laws and implementing a failed ‘War on Drugs.'”

As a result, some in Southern Nevada are urging public officials to follow suit and make similar declarations. They say that though Berkeley’s stand is largely symbolic, it has power in that it conveys to lawmakers how constituents feel on the subject. Their hope is that Nevada cities will follow suit and pave the way forward for local marijuana businesses.

On the other side of the fence are those who feel that this unnecessarily calls negative attention to these towns. Though cities in a number of states are now in support of marijuana legalization, the concern is that to explicitly put a resolution into place that does nothing but defy the federal government is ubiquitous, and there are more important legislative measures to focus on.

What Direction Is Nevada Headed?

The legalization of recreational marijuana was not the end of the road but rather the start of a very long journey that will likely take decades to unfold in Nevada. There are so many issues that were known and not yet resolved prior to the enactment of the legislation and many more that presented themselves once the products hit the shelves. Rather than focusing on building up the people who stand to make money off the legalization of marijuana, we should instead turn our attention to protecting the families who are negatively impacted by addiction, drugged driving, and other potentially fatal risks.

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When a Loved One Is in Crisis

If someone in your family is living with an active addiction and you are concerned that legalized marijuana is going to complicate their hopes of recovery, there are things you can do to help them, yourself, and other members of your family. For example, you can:

  1. Build your own support network. Yours is not the only family facing addiction. No matter where your loved one is on the path to recovery, there are other families that have gone through and are going through what you are living today. Connecting with them will help you to gain perspective, learn what works and what doesn’t, and feel more grounded as you work to avoid isolation and start your own healing process.
  2. Do not buffer your loved one from the consequences of their substance abuse. It is natural to want to protect our family members from all harm and difficulty, but the longer they can continue to drink or get high without experiencing any of the consequences, the longer they will avoid treatment.
  3. Keep and maintain boundaries. It is not always easy to identify when boundaries are being crossed, what healthy boundaries look like, or how to maintain them when the family is entrenched in addiction patterns. Often, the help and support of a family therapist who specializes in substance abuse treatment is needed, especially in the beginning.
  4. Talk to your loved one about their drug or alcohol use. If there are obvious consequences of ongoing drug and alcohol use that are inconveniencing your family member, they may be more inclined to acknowledge that their use of drugs or alcohol is problematic and that treatment is the logical next step.
  5. Stage an intervention. Join together with a few other people who also love your family member in crisis and want them to get better. Plan a formal meeting where you all explain how their substance abuse has been harmful and express the desire to see them get the medical treatment they need for the potentially deadly medical disorder of addiction.

Is it time for your family to begin the process of moving forward in recovery?