, Gloucester, MA

November 4, 2012

Letter: Time to shed false views on marijuana

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

With the Gloucester Daily Times’ stated opposition of Question 3, I would expect it will push hard for laws to criminalize tobacco and alcohol and give a rousing endorsement of Jack Fellure, the Prohibition Party’s candidate for president.

Despite the false statements and baseless rhetoric of District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and others in the establishment, the detrimental effects of marijuana are almost negligible, and far less harmful or addictive than either nicotine or alcohol.

Any prohibition against marijuana that is based on the grounds of the minimal harm it does must logically be extended to cigarettes and alcohol for the comparatively massive harm they do. Of course, the harm to society is not the motive for the drug’s legal status by of those with a real interest in the criminalization of marijuana.

The so-called “War on Drugs” has failed to make significant progress in stemming drug use. Indeed, the price of cocaine has actually decreased by 75 percent since the 1970s and drug money continues to fund dangerous paramilitary cartels such as Los Zetas.

As a means of oppression and profit however, the drug war has been a brilliant success. The excessive jailing of minorities and expansion of the private prison system, suppression of the hemp industry, and increased “justifiable” intervention in foreign countries are the convenient — and for those in the right industries, profitable — results of this “War on Drugs.”

With the poor reasoning for the criminalization of marijuana, there is little argument against its legalization for medical uses, which are backed by evidence and supported by prominent medical professionals.

The Times’ attempt to demonize the medical marijuana initiative as “groundwork” of full legalization falls flat in the face of how baseless the drug’s criminalization is. Assuredly, increased social acceptance of the medicinal uses of marijuana will allow for broader support for full legalization in the future, a measure which I also support. Actions or things should be illegal because they are bad or harmful; actions or things are not bad or harmful just because they are illegal.

Eighteen states have thus far legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Society has yet to collapse.

It is time to shed our puritanical past and legalize the use of medical marijuana. As a father, a former prohibitionist, and someone who has never even used the drug, I fully support Question 3 and any future motions for full legalization.