Many missing the point on marijuana issue

Having read Jacquelin Duffy’s recent letter to the editor concerning marijuana use, several inaccuracies present themselves. She begins by comparing cannabis legalization to pedophilia and the rape of children. This is off-base, and such sensationalism is characteristic of the scare tactics of prohibitionists.

In fact the two are incomparable. Cannabis consumption is a victimless crime which has less harmful health effects than tobacco or alcohol which, though socially acceptable, are each the most lethal drugs in the United States every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cannabis on the other hand has never been confirmed to have killed anyone in all of human history.

The moral issues are different also. Cannabis does not victimize, although many sick people are in need of it. Smoking pot is no more immoral than enjoying a beer or brewing a fine coffee.

Ms. Duffy goes on to ask if the Founding Fathers had this in mind when our country’s founding documents were drafted.

In actual fact, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and most of the politicians of the time grew large quantities of cannabis, marijuana, hemp. So, yes, they had this in mind — cannabis was legal and widely cultivated.

The plant is actually named cannabis sativa. Marijuana is a name that was adopted to make the plant seem more menacing than friendly old hemp. At that time, hemp was important to the nation as the source of rope, paper and many other products.

Raymond Kostanty’s previous point in his recent letter to the editor about the pursuit of happiness was well qualified because the effects of cannabis consumption are negligible. If your neighbor was a pot smoker, you might never know because cannabis consumers are perfectly normal members of society.

Ms. Duffy closes her letter to the editor by saying that marijuana leads to the use of more potent drugs. This is a falsehood which is often echoed by those taken in by drug propaganda.

There has never been any scientific evidence suggesting a gateway effect. In fact, most cannabis users do not go on to use other drugs, according to many studies, including “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base” by Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson Jr., and John A. Benson Jr. IOM 1999.

It is careless for Ms. Duffy to parrot such misinformation and it is revealing that she provided no evidence to support that argument.

Furthermore, the very first presidential investigation of the issue, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, concluded that marijuana is harmless and that generally users experience laughter, hunger and sleepiness. It also recommended that marijuana not be criminalized.

What Ms. Duffy misses in her opinion is that prohibition gives organized crime a source of money and power. This prohibition, which Ms. Duffy implicitly approves of, causes the death of many people as a result of gang and organized crime activity.

In American history, criminal gangs have monopolized prohibited contrabands to great effect, such as the Mafia gangs of the alcohol prohibition era. I urge Ms. Duffy and any parent, or anyone who is against marijuana legalization, to educate themselves on the topic and reconsider the issue. Daniel Swiatek Millstone Township

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