Open letter to State Reps and Senators:
It is my understanding that the subject of legalizing recreational marijuana will be coming up for consideration in our legislative body. I am asking each of you to vote against such a measure, and I will explain my reasoning.
First, we have Colorado and Oregon to look to for laboratory cases on how well this works. We will be able to see what works and does not work, the pitfalls and things to avoid. And, we can do this at no risk. I ask, “What is the rush? What do we lose by waiting?” We clearly have much at risk if we proceed.
Second, I believe we would be placing the “cart before the horse.” We have vehicular laws in place to handle those apprehended for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI). Can you cite to me the laws we have for suspicion of being under the influence of marijuana? What appropriate tests are available to law enforcement officers at the point of apprehension? Clearly the impairments and danger to oneself and others is similar, even identical to instances of DWI and DUI. My senses tell me we already have a serious enough problem with DWI and DUI in our state with many repeat offenders serving jail time. So, while with legalized recreational marijuana we might not fill our jails with users, won’t some of these users land there under vehicular laws yet to be designed and enacted?
Finally, for those who look at this as a new revenue source ripe for the plucking, I ask this. If recreational marijuana is to be sold in stores and taxed, will this really eliminate its underground sale? I suspect capitalism will win out and the marketplace will decide from whence a user wishes to make a purchase.
And, if it is to be homegrown marijuana, will “trust, but verify” be the rule? Who will verify? Local police, state police or a new group of drug enforcers and at whose cost, the state or local communities? Many town property taxpayers are already hard pressed to cough up ever increasing taxes to cover the town bureaucracy and projects. Please don’t tell me the revenue received from its sale will cover these costs. I am not that naïve.
I hope you will find these compelling enough reasons to vote down any attempt to legalize recreational marijuana. It is a bad move from a number of aspects. From what I read, I do believe it is a gateway drug leading to harder drug use. What kind of a signal to we send to the younger generations if we legalize a drug that has that potential?