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Put pot behind store counters & it’ll be harder to get for teens

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

What? decriminalization or legalization of marijuana? What has become of our pristine society? Have I been living in a rabbit hole, because to think that our government, which has never steered us wrong, which is full of non-hypocritical, humble, truth speaking people of the highest values whom always look out for what's best for us, is now considering legalizing an incredibly toxic, lethal drug that has paralyzed our society? We must side with the champions of life such as state Sens. Jeanie Forrester or Andrew Hosmer who are speaking up against such blasphemy as legalizing a drug that has been so detrimental to our way of life.

Okay, back to reality, the people mentioned above are beating the war drums and revving up the fear mongering rhetoric of the 1920s. I've thought about the issue for years and of course being a father has weighed heavy on my conclusions, and have it broken down on three fronts.

First, will it turn our children into brainless hooligans? Lisa Morris, director of Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health, gives out some statistics on polls on current students who use (24 percent), but it begs the question that she never touches. Being as it's illegal now, how did these kids get marijuana? The answer is from dealers. If you put that marijuana in stores, kids now will have much less access to it. You say 44 percent of high school kids say it is easy to get? If legalized, it's now the same as kids asking adults to buy alcohol, which I'm sure happens, but not in the numbers that kids are going to strange adults houses now to get weed. I wonder what percent of kids think alcohol is easy to get? Putting the drug behind counters and enforcing the laws for minors the same as alcohol would make many young twenty-somethings have to actually get a job.

Secondly, stop acting like we're talking about heroin here, which is a real, actual problem. Although its primary active ingredients (THC and other cannabinoids) produce psychoactive effects at doses of a couple of milligrams, they do not have lethal effects. Unlike other psychoactive drugs, including alcohol, aspirin, opiates, nicotine and caffeine, cannabis is not known to cause fatal overdoses.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's own administrative judge Francis Young, in his 1988 decision recommending legalization of medical marijuana, wrote, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to mankind." From animal experiments, it has been estimated that a lethal does of cannabis would be 20,000 to 40,000 times a normal dose: approximately 40 to 80 pounds of marijuana. No deaths from cannabis overdose have ever been recorded. Saying that Colorado has shown significant increases in marijuana involved traffic fatalities and emergency room visits is irresponsible and fear-mongering. How many accidents happen in New Hampshire or around the world that one or both of the drivers may have had a bit of marijuana in their systems? What? You don't know? Show me statistics and references.

Maine has decriminalized marijuana since 1976, and apparently it never became an issue with raising traffic or ER fatalities. I will not fear for my life on the roads or on the streets if it is legalized. That's just silly. But I am concerned if my wife and child are out driving on a Friday or Saturday night when a higher number of drunk or buzzed drivers are out and about.

Lastly, politicians always wax philosophical about new ideas and the future, but mostly it's all just hollow promises. These bills to decriminalize or legalize marijuana were spawned and backed by the majority of the citizens in these states and it's working well.

You criticize the businesses popping up in Colorado, at the same time piling on taxes and permits necessary to run small businesses here in New Hampshire, ranked 50th in the country for starting a small business. It's the dawn of new entrepreneurships, and you sit here trying to keep us in the medieval times, raising our gas, property, cigarette and luxury taxes at your leisure. Here's an epiphany, Colorado made $2 million in marijuana tax revenue in January alone. With medical marijuana they are set to make $40 million in 2014. To me, that is stimulation of an economy. And you're not really changing anything.

Without this legalization, it would still be going on. Oh, by the way. you're saving millions of police manpower too (over $3 billion federally) which you could re-invest into heroin drug task forces, clinics for synthetic addictive drugs, or even do something like fix up our roads or build new bridges. Imagine that, you could really turn it into a positive. But no. You will instead drag your heels, beat your drums and do something totally shocking, like raise our gas tax again. Good job. Way to think out of the box.

Thomas Lemay