Letter to the Editor: Legal pot not the proper solution

The issue of “marijuana legalization” as presented is not truly about legalization. Truthfully, the solutions proposed are about new regulations for the financial gain of the state. True legalization would be complete deregulation, which is not the proposed agenda. Lawmakers are in a conflict of interest, which clouds their understanding. Some clarity is in order. I oppose legalizing marijuana in Vermont for the following reasons.
Drug use is unhealthy. Habitual use of marijuana interferes with personal growth and development. Legalization gives a level of approval to recreational drug use that encourages an unhealthy populace.
“Legalization” of some aspects of marijuana use is not the same as deregulation. Legalizing with qualifications such as: possession up to so much per person, up to so many plants per person, above a certain age etc. will be more complicated to enforce than no legalized aspects at all. The culture of marijuana use is a long history of a culture outside the law. There is no reason to believe that all of a sudden marijuana users will respect a new law that places any limits on their activities.
Giving consideration to the two reasons above, I predict the following scenario. Activities outside the law will continue because that is the nature of the problem, and under-age use will continue and even have a stimulus through increased availability of marijuana.
A whole bureaucracy will be created to oversee collecting taxes on marijuana sales and enforcement of the new laws. Black market supply will continue, based on price. Growth of plants for personal use will ignore any restrictions.
The net result will be further entrenching of drugs in American culture at a time when we need alert, involved, educated citizens.
I believe our government should be working to create an environment that lets people flourish. There are many more pressing issues that government could be working on — like how to create an economic environment where people can find meaningful work. I would rather see work put into finding a way to pay agricultural workers the minimum wage than I want to see my state coming to rely on drug sales to meet a failing budget, another slippery slope.
Steve Reynolds

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