Three issues proponents of recreational marijuana may be overlooking

By The Madison County Record | Feb 4, 2019

To the Editor:

As a member of Madison County's Health and Judiciary Committees, consider three issues county government should consider to minimize harm. 

- Marijuana is not safer than alcohol. The percentage of adults age 21 and over who use marijuana in the U.S. is roughly between 10 and 13 percent, versus 65 percent who use alcohol. Around 10-15 percent of drinkers have a substance use disorder, versus 30 percent of marijuana users who have "cannabis use disorder." If people use marijuana to the extent they use alcohol, the damage will surpass the damage caused by alcohol. (Source: The Pinocchio Test: Parents Against Pot) When a Lie Travelsdescribes why marijuana is not safer than alcohol).

- Black markets don’t go away and crime increases. In a state where recreational marijuana is legal, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman stated: “The criminals are still selling on the black market….we have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) illegal activity that has not decreased at all.” Worse — because marijuana can cause paranoia and psychosis, and those conditions are closely linked to violence — it appears to lead to an increase in violent crime. (Source: Berensen, author of Tell Your Children).

- Marijuana legalization is a complex social justice Issue. Youth pot use leads to dropping out of school and lower economic success. Pot businesses tend to locate in low income communities. States with legalized marijuana have the highest rates of homelessness. (Source: Parents Against Pot). 

Local government needs a thoughtful approach to a legalization of recreational marijuana.

Philip W. Chapman


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