LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Marijuana opinion rebutted
May 22, 2012 · Updated 2:12 PM
To the editor:
I am responding to the “Island doesn’t need legal pot” letter submitted by Judith Lamontagne in the Saturday, May 5 letters.
After reading the letter several times, it was hard to know where to start with a rebuttal.
The writer says, “All drugs have side effects but marijuana has more serious side effects that other pain killers do not have … I understand that a driver can be impaired, if not more so, under marijuana’s effects as with alcohol.”
Judith, in 2009, according to the National Highway Safety Administration and the Center for Disease Control, Washington state had 492 traffic fatalities due to alcohol use. There were zero fatalities due to marijuana.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in Washington state, there were 988 deaths due to prescription drug overdoses. I won’t go into how many prescription drug overdoses were treated in hospitals with the people surviving. There were no marijuana overdoses for the same period.
As for your question, “Do we need even a possible drug problem on this island?” Judith, I think the statistics speak for themselves. There is already a big drug problem in America and the ones that are the best at killing people are the legal ones.
Your concern that “if a person truly needs marijuana, he or she could also obtain that prescription on the other side. Does it really have to be available here?” doesn’t take into consideration the fact that someone dealing with chemotherapy or some other illness that medical cannabis can help with really shouldn’t be forced to go to “the other side.” This is not what I would call “good will toward those on this island.” Would this attitude also be realistic about the legal drugs like painkillers or alcohol? Statistically, these are much more deadly than cannabis. Shall we ban those on this island and make people in pain go to the other side?
May I suggest that you take your own advice when you closed with, “Let’s give this idea a lot more thought,” and give the idea some real, critical thought.