Letter: ‘No’ to legalization of marijuana

This is in response to the question “Legalize marijuana?” that was the title of your April 12 editorial. Contrary to the implication of the editorial, opposition to legalization of marijuana is bipartisan. Neither Republican nor Democratic administrations have supported its legalization due to numerous scientific-based studies having shown that marijuana is a harmful drug in many ways, including being addictive.

Marijuana has been cultivated to be much stronger than what was used in earlier decades, and it is being used by younger children. This drug is especially harmful to youth during their vital years of social and academic development. Marijuana legalization would surely increase its use by youths as well as by adults.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy recently made a new resource available on its website with updated information on marijuana. Additional information can be found on the website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at DrugAbuse.gov. Another great resource is PreventTeenDrugUse.org, a website of the Institute for Behavior and Health Inc., whose founder/president is Robert L. DuPont, the first director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse.

My background in the drug issue has been as a volunteer in school-age drug use awareness and prevention, having become involved as a parent in the early 1980s. I am a native of Rappahannock County and a graduate of Sperryville High School, class of 1949. And I have been a subscriber of the Rappahannock News nearly all of the time since high school graduation.

Nancy Yowell Starr
Erie, Pa.

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1 Comment

  1. Marijuana….

    “Marijuana has been cultivated to be much stronger than what was used in earlier decades…”

    Read what you will, believe what you will; but the truth for me is that cannabis indica and sativa and ruderalis have always been available as premium, not-so premium, and even less-than-that premium; not to mention common “ditch weed”…. That is, of course, in reference to the relative quantity and varying proportions of the many Cannabinols, diols, and other similar alkaloids that the versatile and adaptive plant produces, depending, of course, on the climate it finds itself in and other environmental factors. Any herbalist/horticulturist can take any of those indicas and sativas and even the much maligned ruderalis and by controlling just plant spacing and degree of hyrdo-stress alter the quality/quantity of those components. When one takes the time to optimize a lot of those variables, just like any other natural plant, one is able to grow “better” plants — better as determined by the factors you are aiming to optimize.

    I’ve been around for quite a few of those “earlier decades”, which are referred to in the quote, and have also benefited by some study of the times before that. “Good Stuff” ain’t new! Neither is hysteria and false claims about the “evils” of indulgence or the “potential damage” that will befall our society if we allow it to remain present anywhere in the environment.

    The partaking of aspects of the cornucopia offered by nature is natural. Partaking of deadly poisonous ones has its own rewards. Partaking of those which are not deadly poisonous is a natural right and a matter of personal freedom.

    The fact that some plant and animal substances have consciousness altering aspects when co-mingled with humans is NOT a matter of those substances being “poisonous”.. Every person is unique. As many are prone to point out, one size does NOT fit all! What works for one unique individual, what resonates, what compliments and enhances the experience of life and all it has to offer; that is an individual matter and as long as we aren’t talking about public commerce the community at large should have absolutely no valid input in the matter beyond that of proffering advice…. which is generally worth exactly what you pay for it… except when it comes from “the government”; and then it is worth considerably less and invariably reflects special interests rather than the interests of the population as a whole. That is especially so regarding any issue which usurps individual choice and places it in the hands of a “power over” organization.

    The fact that some humans might experience unsettling and unpleasant feelings is a very poor justification for the collective community to think it should be empowered to prohibit everyone from having access to the very presence of those plants and animals. It might be good for the sale of parquat and the health of our chemical corporation empires; but it is not good for the planet, or for the overall health of people.

    It seems to me that the argument that is being presented by Nancy Yowell Starr is that when a plant (or animal substance – skin exudates of some reptiles for example) MIGHT have a perceived “bad” (subjective at best) impact on some people, particularly young people, that we collectively need to criminalize the possession or use of those plants (or animals) for all of us, and that it is our duty to do this.

    She also says marijuana “….(is) harmful… including being addictive.”

    I strongly disagree and suggest that the premiss is false and that the damage done to our society as a whole (and other societies around the world as we coerce them into doing things the way we want them done) through wholesale prohibition and the concomitant attempts to eradicate from the face of the earth the plants so designated as “evil”, “verboten” and “deleterious” is far greater than what might be experienced as negative by a portion of our society who don’t resonate with their personal use. That is without even considering the unnecessary harm that is done through the entire criminalization and stigmatization to those who, quite rightly in my opinion, continue to decide for themselves what is compatible and what is not for themselves.

    The references provided by Nancy Yowell Starr as links for further “information” are the sites of our government agencies and are anything but non-biased. The positions presented and statements that are made are far from strictly factual. Just keep in mind that these are agencies which are from the same organization that says agribusiness doesn’t need to let you know that you are being blindly fed GMO food substances or that those GMOs are the major component of what is fed to the animals that are slaughtered for your consumption. The agencies spring from the same structures that sanctify and legalize the patenting of genes. Look deeper if you want real in formation.

    Responsible decision making doesn’t come from blindly following the dictates originating from “power over” structures; especially when it comes to personal decisions about what one chooses and does not choose to experience personally.

    The laws we have currently against marijuana are draconian and without redeeming social value; in fact, they are inflicting far more harm to our society than any possible benefit. The very idea that someone who personally grows a few plants for their personal use is “manufacturing” drugs is an insult to simple intelligence; but then that quality isn’t commonly exhibited by those who support criminalization of nature and her bounty. It is way past time that the laws prohibiting the use and cultivation of marijuana are rescinded!

    t pagano
    Rappahannock County, VA

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