Opinion

Don’t legalize it!

I am surprised that state Rep. Sherry Appleton would be ready to legalize marijuana when all she has are “ifs.” “If it is commonly used, if billions of dollars are changing hands, if it isn’t as harmful as the public’s been led to believe, and a handful of otherwise law-abiding people are being prosecuted compared to the many who get away with it, marijuana should be legalized.” First of all, since when are the first two “ifs” an appropriate rational for legalizing a drug? Maybe we should make Oxycontin an over-the-counter drug?

The third “if” implies that the public has somehow been lied to. By who? Substance abuse researchers, counselors, scientists, the government? Why would they lie? “A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be a factor, where early use is a marker of vulnerability to later problems,” according to www.drugabuse.gov. Let’s not send the message to young people that self medication is an acceptable way to get through the day.

According to the article, a third of all college students and high school students reported using marijuana. According to the U.S. Department of Health, the percentage of high school students who used marijuana declined from 8 percent in 2002 to 7 percent in 2005. The high school dropout rate is 30 percent. Has anyone studied the rate of marijuana use among dropouts? Marijuana is a gateway drug! Could this be the gateway to legalizing other drugs?

Our legislators need to read and think about the research before making laws.

Loretta Payne

Bremerton

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