To the Editor:
As the Illinois Legislature readies to approve recreational marijuana use, Madison County must be ready. There are at least two major misconceptions. First, legalization will generate positive cash flow. Second, legalization neutralizes youth’s health risks.
Anticipated marijuana taxes won’t pay governments’ costs. Andrew Freeman, former head, of the Colorado marijuana program stated; ”You do not legalize for taxation. It is a myth. You do not pave streets or pay teachers.” The Colorado Centennial Report stated that legalization of recreational marijuana costs $4.50 for every $1 it received in revenue. A tax bonanza?
Marijuana use damages youth health. Alex Berensen, author of Tell Your Children, writes; ”marijuana’s risks are different than opioids but no less real.” Marijuana is addictive. (NIDA). Approximately 9 percent of users become addicted. About 17 percent started in adolescence, one in six who use regularly will become addicted. Seventy percent of 12 to 17 year olds who enter drug treatment programs enter because of marijuana. (American College of Pediatricians).
The Center for Disease Control states that marijuana’s side effects include difficulty with memory and problem solving, impaired coordination, depression, anxiety, and judgment issues like risky sexual activity and driving while impaired.
Adolescent use is linked to the school drop-out rate and lower educational achievement. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states, “Approximately 10% of users develop marijuana use disorder impacting school and family.”
Ready Madison County?
Philip W. Chapman, Madison County Board member and member of Health and Judiciary Committees