Letter: Legalizing pot will lead to another crisis

To the editor:

In a public statement on Feb. 15, state Rep. Edith Ajello and Sen. Joshua Miller announced their plan to submit legislation to legalize marijuana. They correctly cite the current failure of marijuana policy and the increase statewide in marijuana use among our youth, and it’s ready availability.

They fail, however, to point to the state cuts in drug prevention funding and the passage of the Medical Marijuana Bill, increasing use due to the ease in getting doctor signed permission slips from the state Department of Health. Our state is inundated with marijuana, legal and illegal. Legalization will not prevent illegal drug sales. Users will seek out the least-expensive source.

Proponents claim the time has come for legalization because attitudes have changed. Uninformed attitudes should not be a basis for legalization. Marijuana contains more carcinogens than ordinary tobacco. Marijuana is deadly for young people, impacting brain development. It saps initiative and motivation and is as much an impediment to safe driving as alcohol.

Legalizing marijuana is just the latest revenue-producing bill, full of justification and promises, but really the bottom line is refilling the general fund in an election year, and we’ll deal with the consequences later. Voting legislators need hard data on the impact legalization has had on crime and the social climate of Colorado before voting to bring this to a small state like Rhode Island. Sadly, because of the time invested in this issue, legislators will once again bypass any serious consideration to bills that would help our state become economically stable.

Legalizing marijuana is just another crisis waiting to happen. As members of our respective communities we have an obligation to be concerned for the future of our young people, as citizens of the U.S. we have an obligation to be aware that none of our nations enemies are looking for ways to anesthetize their citizens.

Kathy Melvin

Portsmouth

2 Comments

  1. Kyle Christopher said:

    What is this crisis you speak of? Please explain what type of crisis this will cause, because you did not include that in your letter. And don’t you want it regulated so it requires an ID to purchase? And the people that are getting these medical Mary J cards you mention are all adults. Why are you against adults being prescribed medicinal marijuana? ones prescribed medications are between the individual and the doctor. Also, you mention loss of youth prevention funding, however, half the taxes from the legalized marijuana sold in Colorado and Washington goes directly to youth prevention. Again, I would like to know more of this crisis that will result with legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and over

  2. Garrett Gough said:

    Marijuana does not have more carcinogens than tobacco. The Berkeley marijuana carcinogenic studies of the late 1970s concluded that “marijuana is one-and-a-half times more carcinogenic than tobacco.”
    This is only true if you compare the smoke from the broad leaf of the tobacco to the broad leaf of the marijuana plant, which is how the government does it. The marijuana flowers have one third or less carcinogenic tars as tobacco leaf, and virtually all the carcinogens can be removed by using a water pipe system. What people smoke is actually the cannabis flower. Our government omitted this information and its significance to the results of such studies when speaking to the press. It’s also been found to be less addictive than caffeine.

    As far as the dangers of driving while high, there are numerous studies (4 alone by the National Institutes of Health) that say marijuana does not inhibit a person’s ability to safely drive a car the way alcohol does. It actually tends to make people more cautious. I still don’t recommend it, but there’s no need for sensationalism.

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