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Friday, August 27, 2010

Going to pot, Decriminalizing marijuana wrong move

Pubdate: Fri, 27 Aug 2010
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2010 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Contact: letters@telegram.com
Website: http://www.telegram.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/509
Note: Rarely prints LTEs from outside circulation area - requires
'Letter to the Editor' in subject

Going to pot
Decriminalizing marijuana wrong move



Two years ago, we warned that approval of a ballot question decriminalizing the possession of “small” amounts of marijuana would be likely to erode respect for the law, hamper efforts to intervene in the lives of young people for whom marijuana is a gateway drug, and would not realize any savings.

Shortly after the ballot question was approved, many communities addressed loopholes in the law by making it a civil infraction to smoke marijuana in public. We advised them not to bother. The main fight had already been lost, and the costs of enforcement would exceed revenue that might be collected.

Now, nearly two years on, many Massachusetts communities have basically given up the fight to curb recreational marijuana use. The new rules aren’t helping police or anyone else curb incipient drug habits that can lead, in some cases, to much more serious drug abuse and addiction. And instead of the state and municipalities saving money by hauling fewer recreational users into court, there is evidence that many municipalities are wasting time and money in a futile effort to enforce toothless new rules for civil infractions that are easily evaded.

The decriminalization measure of 2008 offered no coherent or compelling logic for allowing individuals to possess an ounce of marijuana or less for personal consumption. We believe it passed in large measure because of ignorance regarding how much marijuana was covered, and the effects of the drug. “Small” amounts of under an ounce can easily translate to two dozen or more joints for “personal” consumption.

What has certainly not changed is marijuana’s negative impact on human cognition and health. In spite of the protestations of those who claim to use the drug without adverse effects, and the foolish cant from libertarians who erroneously believe drug use is somehow a “victimless” crime, marijuana has been clearly and consistently linked to impairment of judgment, coordination, balance and cognitive functions, and increased risk of bronchitis, emphysema and some forms of cancer. Its impacts on individuals and society are real, measurable and, with the exception of prescribed medicinal use, universally negative.

Decriminalization in 2008 was a mistake. Voters would be smart to begin a campaign to reverse their poor judgment, and limit the harm that marijuana continues to inflict.

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Check out the comments, zero support on this for the jokers at the Worcester Telegram.

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