Marijuana Smoking Stems

Smoking Stems9 JULY 2014 Big Marijuana Smoke

Re “Repeal Prohibition, Again” (editorial, July 27): Consumers have made marijuana a multibillion-dollar enterprise, as creative entrepreneurs will always provide for citizens’ desires, regardless of government approval. We should legalize marijuana, and add a sales tax. Revenues will cover the social costs of any abuse.

Citizens have more to fear from murder, arson, rape, muggings, robberies, auto and identity theft, and home break-ins. Free law enforcement to pursue those who commit real crimes against citizens and property.

What consenting adults consume or inhale in the privacy of their own home or social club isn’t the concern of government. Let us hope that we have finally learned from the obvious failures of Prohibition.

Great Neck, N.Y., July 27, 2014

Smoking  Stems

Your opinion, in “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” that marijuana should be legalized is based in part on an assumption that during Prohibition “people kept drinking.” Prohibition reduced the public’s alcohol intake considerably. The rate of alcohol-associated illness dropped in similar fashion. Prohibition was perhaps a political failure, but an impressive success from a public health standpoint.

Both alcohol and marijuana can lead to the chronic disease of addiction, directly affect the brain and negatively affect function. As more than 10 percent of our population has addictive disease, your statement that marijuana is “far less dangerous than alcohol” doesn’t reflect decades of research demonstrating risks associated with both of these drugs.

Why would we possibly wish to add to the alcohol- and tobacco-driven personal and public health catastrophe with yet another substance to which some people will become addicted?

Some people use marijuana currently. Legalize it, and more people will use more marijuana, leading to more addiction, lower productivity and higher societal costs.

President, American Society
of Addiction Medicine
New York, July 27, 2014

Smoking Stems

While I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial board that we need to end the federal prohibition on marijuana, Congress is not as paralyzed on this issue as many may think.

A growing, bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the House has approved five measures in a row that represent incremental steps to rationalize our failed marijuana policy. There are more than a dozen bills pending, most with bipartisan sponsorship, that would create a framework for legalization.

The House has voted to increase access to banking services for marijuana businesses in states where they are legal, and prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. This majority in the House seems to realize what many Americans already knew: Prohibition has failed.

As my home state of Oregon prepares to vote on legalization of adult recreational marijuana this fall, we must redouble our efforts in Congress to finish this important work of reform.

Washington, July 28, 2014

The writer, a Democrat, represents the Third Congressional District of Oregon.

Smoking Stems

Thank you for your editorial calling for a repeal of marijuana prohibition. The marijuana plant is incapable of causing an overdose death. Not even aspirin can make the same claim, much less alcohol or prescription narcotics. Marijuana prohibition, on the other hand, has caused untold deaths in the form of violent drug cartel turf battles and botched “no knock” police raids on residential homes.

Marijuana can be harmful if abused. Marijuana prohibition does not make the plant any safer. In fact, it compounds the dangers of marijuana by granting a monopoly on marijuana distribution to drug cartels that sell meth, cocaine and heroin. Marijuana prohibition is a gateway drug policy. It’s time for Congress to stop confusing the drug war’s tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant.

Policy Analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Washington, July 28, 2014

Smoking  Stems

I am disappointed by your decision to endorse the legalization of recreational marijuana. Legalization would affect our youth and communities for generations, just as tobacco has done.

The marijuana industry, like Big Tobacco, has shown that it has no compunction about marketing its products to our young people. And in Colorado, we’ve seen the negative public health effects of legalization: increased admissions to emergency rooms, increases in marijuana-positive fatal car crashes, increased reports of kids as young as middle-school age bringing marijuana to school.

Marijuana is not a safe drug. It harms youths. It harms economies, with extra social costs. How can this be the way forward for America? Don’t our communities deserve better?

Gray, Me., July 28, 2014