Marijuana Should Not Be Legalized

This is a follow up to three articles in The Post-Journal (July 13, July 22, and Aug. 6, 2018), by our state officials regarding the legalization of marijuana. All of the articles had the same message. “Legalize marijuana because the pros out weigh the cons, and we could raise about $700 million in tax revenue with little or no deleterious effects to the citizens of New York state.”

On Aug. 23, 2018, the following article was in The Post-Journal. The governor signed legislation (S.7522) which prohibits smoking at all times in areas of private homes used to provide child care services in the hopes of preventing second- and third-hand smoke from harming children. “Second- and third-hand smoke is extremely dangerous to the development of our kids.” Apparently second- and third-hand smoke is so dangerous that no smoking will be permitted in any of the rooms under any circumstances that are used for day care under the new law. However, the state wants to unleash marijuana on our kids (which has the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke according to a recent article in The Post-Journal) by legalizing it but recognizes the dangers of second and third-hand smoke from tobacco. What the hell is wrong with this picture.

When and if this law is passed many kids will be smelling like they had been at Woodstock for a week. It has a distinct odor and many people, including law enforcement, are very familiar with the smell. The possible $700 million dollars in tax revenue has created such a freeze that someone has lost sight of reality and the harm they can cause. Where is the concern for our kids now. We already have medical marijuana to help those get off medical opioid pain medicines such as Oxycontin and Vicodin.

Nearly 80 percent of Americans using heroin (including those in treatment) reported misusing prescription opioids first. Why do we want to legalize the drug (marijuana) that has contributed to drug dependency in the first place. So we go from alcohol to marijuana to medical marijuana to medical opioid pain medicines to heroin and back to medical marijuana (and maybe crack and meth in between) and finally legalization of marijuana. Talk about a trip (no pun intended). Makes no sense. Marijuana is already decriminalized so I fail to see the need to legalize it.

According to the National Institute For Drug Abuse there were 72,306 deaths (more than twice the size of Jamestown) by all drugs from drug abuses in 2017. From 2002 to 2017 there was a 3.1-fold increase in the total number of death. I guess the pros out-weigh the cons. Or put another “the benefits out-weigh the risks.” I am opposed to legalizing marijuana and other drugs. It is a persons choice to use them. But remember, once a person begins using, the addiction takes on a life of its own. Then it becomes a social problem.

I sent an email to all of our City Council members asking their opinion on legalizing marijuana. Two got back to me and they were in disagreement with legalization. The third person gave me a lesson on how to take it up with my other (state) elected officials and had no opinion, kind of talked down to me, not at me. I believe I had more opinion and more conversation when discussing the cat problem in Jamestown. Nobody else was willing to state their opinion on the matter. I don’t know why. I thought representatives were elected to guide us through good and bad times with their opinions in a bipartisan manner. As a community we are supposed to be a group of people living in the same place sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

Bruce Piatz is a Jamestown resident.

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