Speak Up Against Marijuana Legalization

The Post Journal, July 13, 2018, paraphrase — Proposals to legalize marijuana in New York took a big step forward. A state 74-page report concluded the benefits outweigh the risks. Marijuana use would not significantly raise rates of use. The state could raise $700 million in tax revenue. The governor has softened his stance amid pressure from Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City star) opponent. You must be 21 or over to smoke pot. New York would be the largest regulated marijuana markets in the U.S. Most Democrats support the bill. No risks were mentioned by the article.

The Post-Journal, July 22, 2018, paraphrase — County Board of Health reports New York State Health Department backs legalization of marijuana. Pros outweigh the cons. State Department backs legalization of weed. The department of health concluded positive effects outweigh the negative impacts. Sounds like the county is on board.

The Post-Journal, Aug. 6, 2018, paraphrase — A study commissioned by the governor recommended the state legalize marijuana. The pros outweighed the cons. The state could generate $250 million to $678 million dollars in tax revenue. There you have it. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not.

So out of the three sugar-coated articles, we have drug legalization that “might not significantly raise the rates of use” and an opportunity to make anywhere from $250 million to $700 million dollars in tax revenue and no facts about what it might do to our citizens of this state. There are about 20 million people in New York state. What does “not significantly raise the rates of use” mean? A 5 percent increase would mean 1 million more people will be using the drug. A 10 percent increase means 2 million more people will be using the drug, and so it goes.

I guess we are being told that marijuana is not dangerous. We have to consider who is telling us that and why. The use of pot is not only harmful to the pot smoker. He can also become a risk to society. In Australia a study found that pot smoking was responsible for 4.3 percent of driver fatalities. Pot can harm a persons memory. A study of 129 college students found that heavy pot smoking diminished critical skills related to attention, memory and learning. A study of postal workers who tested positive for weed had 55 percent more accidents, 85 percent more injuries and a 75 percent increase in being absent from work. Students who use pot have lower grades and are less likely to get into college than nonsmokers.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse pot over activates parts of the brain and can impair brain development. It alters senses, alters sense of time, changes moods, impairs body movement, makes thinking and problem solving difficult, impairs memory, causes hallucinations, delusions and psychosis (what is real and what is not) and raises heart rate for up to 3 hours. A study from New Zealand conducted in part by researchers at Duke University showed that people who started smoking pot in their teens and even through about age 38 had lost on the average of 8 IQ points. This concerns medical experts because marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight and increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain.

Some say that marijuana is not a gateway drug. All the data is not in yet. Robert L. DuPont, who was the president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported “Marijuana use is positively correlated with alcohol use and cigarette use, as well as illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of heroin users have used marijuana (and many other drugs) not only long before they used heroin but while they are using heroin. Like nearly all people with substance abuse problems, most heroin users initiated their drug use early in their teens, usually beginning with alcohol and marijuana. There is ample evidence that early initiation of drug use primes the brain for enhanced later responses to other drugs. These facts underscore the need for effective prevention to reduce adolescent use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana in order to turn back the heroin and opioid epidemic and to reduce addiction in this country. People who use marijuana also consume more, not less, legal and illegal drugs than do people who do not use marijuana. People who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.

The legalization of marijuana increases availability of the drug and acceptability of its use. This is bad for public health and safety not only because marijuana use increases the risk of heroin use. A better drug policy is one that actively discourages marijuana use as well as other recreational drug use, especially for youth. The aggressive commercialization of marijuana that is now rampant and still growing is particularly damaging to the public health because it markets marijuana and an array of increasingly potent products in ever more attractive ways that encourage marijuana use and frequent high-dose THC use. We are at a crossroads. Legalizing marijuana will have lasting negative effects on future generations. The currently legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, are two of the leading causes of preventable illness and death in the country. Establishing marijuana as a third legal drug will increase the national drug abuse problem, including expanding the opioid epidemic.”

Many marijuana users are not just on pot. Other drugs are used in conjunction with the weed. Alcohol is used extensively with pot. Tolerances are increased over time and a more potent pot or other drugs are needed to achieve desired effects. Now we have individuals who are not only high on pot but alcohol as well and possibly hard drugs such as cocaine, meth and other substances. I wonder if that’s three DWIs rolled up into one.

The age limit for purchasing pot is set at 21. That doesn’t mean your are responsible because you have reached that age. If you really believe that the pot will not leak down to kids then you are a fool. People already smoke pot in front of their children. That’s not just a statement, that’s a fact. We shouldn’t pursue legalization of marijuana because it’s trendy or some Hollywood nut case (Cynthia Nixon) thinks it’s cool. New York, as big as it is, should be setting the trend, not following the trend.

Any drug addict, if he or she has the guts to tell you the truth, will say pot is a gateway drug. Do not believe everything you are told. Many politicians have not been truthful with us in the past. Other programs have been perpetrated that have not been in our best interest. It seems it’s all about the money to help the almost depleted coffers.

One might argue — look at Croatia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico or Cambodia (to mention a few) where drugs are legal for the most part. If drug legalization is so great, why do so many people from those countries want to come to the United States?

If you are reading this article, it is because you are either concerned or you think it is a bunch of bull. Projects, laws and policies that make no sense have been perpetrated on us before. I just hope we are not being hoodwinked about this pot project.

I am not anti-government. I do believe, and have witnessed, that prevarication, and outright lies have been used by some under the guise of politicking and I am sure you have too. However there have been many programs and laws initiated that just defy the sense of logic. If you agree with the legalization of weed, pot, cannabis, marijuana, whatever you want to call it, do nothing. If you do not agree with legalization then let your representatives know right away. For some this is personal because they have been to the shores of hell and back with this drug scourge.

The $700 million tax revenue is pie in the sky. All three articles made it sound like a panacea. There’s free cheese in a mouse trap, go ahead and get it. To Senator Young and Senator Goodell I say “Hell no, count me out” and you should do the same.

I called our mental health clinic on Water Street to get their opinion or position on the subject. I never received the courtesy of a call back. Thanks for nothing.

Bruce Piatz is a Jamestown resident.