Letters to the Editor: Legalizing marijuana would have no positive benefits to the community

I recently read in an issue of the Addison Independent, Vol. 29, No. 19, an article describing a survey by you researching people’s opinion regarding the legalization of marijuana in Vermont. I filled out the survey, but was not confident that the survey went through. So I am writing this letter to you expressing my opinion.
My opinion is that I oppose the legalization of marijuana for public and recreational use. Marijuana is a controlled substance as defined by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. It is a controlled substance for a reason. And that reason is that its abuse is detrimental to individual people and the public.
Use of marijuana as an individual not only dulls various types of pain it also dulls the senses and slows down the rational functions of the brain so decision-making becomes highly irrational. If a person has a certain discomfort that needs to be relieved, there are numerous medications that can be prescribed through doctors that can be taken. Medications that most likely are also on the government’s controlled list for the similar reasons as marijuana. Excessive use and abuse of marijuana can lead to addiction and the ruin of a person’s life, whether with their family or their job or any other relationship they may have with other people and the public.
One specific potential public issue regarding the usage of marijuana is the operation of motor vehicles. Currently, with alcohol use and abuse, the local law enforcement has a method of determining whether individuals have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol by performing breath analyzer test at the scene of an accident to determine if accident participants are over the limit of consumption and in control of their actions. This method can be performed on the spot of the accident or incident.
If a person is under the influence of marijuana, to my knowledge, there is no method to determine if an individual has had too much marijuana and has reduced their ability to make rational decision on vehicle operation, and thus could very well be the cause of an accident. Thus an accident could occur caused by an individual on marijuana and no fault could be placed and thus no consequences or guilt established. Not what one would like to encounter if a loved one is injured or killed. This specific issue could also pertain to the operation of any type of machinery.
Recent statistics from some of the western states have indicated that the accident rates are up in those areas where recreational marijuana has been approved for public use. Although there has been no specified cause for the increased accident rates, the increase has been since the approval of recreational marijuana. It seems to me that for Vermont, we would rather find ways to reduce the current statistics regarding accidents rather than increase the numbers. We don’t need another accident casualty factor, we have enough as it is.
California has recently found that National Forests within the state have become growing grounds for marijuana. In the growing process numerous chemicals are being used for weed control, insect control, and fertilizers to improve the plant growth of the marijuana plant. As a result, the chemicals used have destroyed the existing forest ecosystems and in some areas have actually promoted the growth of undesirable plant species. This destruction of natural plant systems not only ruins the natural existing ecology of the forests but also affects the wildlife by reducing the normal food substances normally available for consumption.
If marijuana was approved in Vermont we would be putting the Green Mountain forests of Vermont at risk because some people would begin using them to grow the plant. I don’t think that we would want to promote that in Vermont. We would want to keep Vermont green.
A few years ago, the president of Mexico indicated that there would not be a drug problem at the U.S.-Mexican border if the U.S.A. did not have such a demand for drugs. If we promote the free issue of marijuana then we would be promoting the crime of drugs coming from Mexico, and other places. I can only assume that the same issue would occur at the U.S.-Canada border.
By allowing the use, and abuse of marijuana, we would be promoting the criminal opportunities of drug trafficking across U.S. borders, whether with Mexico or Canada. I’m sure that our border patrol has enough issues to deal with without impressing them with trafficking in marijuana more than it already is.
Therefore I oppose the public and recreational use of marijuana. I see no positive benefit for the approval. But I do see numerous issues that would be detrimental to its approval for recreation and usage by the general public. Our society has enough issues to deal with that are not conducive to improvement of quality of life. Let’s keep Vermont the quality place to live and promote improvements for its future. Approving the recreational use of marijuana would certainly not be beneficial to the future of the great state of Vermont. Let’s oppose its use.
John Mitchell
Fort Myers, Fla.

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