Reader: Legalizing recreational marijuana is a very bad idea

TO THE EDITOR:

Proposition 18-1, commonly known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, is on the ballot across Michigan on Nov. 6. If it is passed, I predict that Michiganders will regret it. There are many good reasons to oppose this very bad idea. Here are a few.

• Today’s marijuana is much stronger that it was in the 1960s. It’s been cultivated to yield THC levels in the leaves at least 10 times as potent. Edibles and oils laced with THC are even more potent — as much as 90 percent THC.

• Traffic accidents involving marijuana users and innocent victims will increase. In the four years (2013-16) after recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado, traffic deaths related to marijuana increased 66 percent compared to the four-year average prior (2009-12). Statistics would be similar here in Michigan.

• Our already highest-in-the-nation car insurance rates will skyrocket. Due to the increased traffic accidents and subsequent injuries, insurance companies will be forced to raise their rates.

• Marijuana-related emergency room visits will increase, spreading scarce medical resources even thinner. Due to the much higher THC levels in today’s marijuana and edibles, more users will need emergency care. In addition, THC can pass through the placenta to the unborn, and into breast milk fed to infants. THC has been shown to cause effects similar to fetal alcohol syndrome and impaired brain function that is permanent.

• Regular marijuana use in teens causes irreversible mental/emotional damage. A study by the Michigan Association for Local Public Health shows that weekly use of marijuana by teens is associated with impaired learning, memory, math and reading, and contributes to a lower rate of high school completion. Heavy users in their teens permanently lost IQ points. Several studies have linked marijuana use to increased risk for mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety.

• Recreational marijuana will increase crime in Michigan. Think that legalizing the use of marijuana would eliminate the crooks and cartels? Not so. In Colorado, drug cartels have moved into neighborhoods, so they can “cash in” on the sale of marijuana, setting their prices lower than the legal outlets.

• Recreational marijuana will create a larger pool of unemployables. People who use marijuana regularly can’t pass employer-mandated drug tests. Users won’t be able to get or keep jobs as forklift drivers, truckers, bus drivers and many other jobs that require employees to have quick reflexes and make split-second decisions. Who will pay the cost to feed and clothe these unemployable people? I think you know the answer.

The negative effects of legalizing recreational use of marijuana listed above just scratch the surface. You can find more information at healthyandproductivemi.org or learnaboutsam.org/.

Don’t believe the pro-legalization folks who promise Michigan will net big tax dollars from this. The lasting damage of marijuana use far outweighs any money that might come from taxing drug use. Please vote NO on Prop 18-1 on Nov. 6.

Colleen Tucker

Manistee

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