Originally Published: April 8, 2014 6 a.m.
I see that we are addressing the critical issue of legalizing the cultivation, processing, marketing, possession and use of cannabis.
As a part of this discussion, we must not ignore the fact that cannabis will kill, alcohol will kill, tobacco will kill. But, only marijuana and alcohol (the "recreational" drugs) have the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier and directly affect the brain, resulting in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition and behavior of their victims.
Alcohol is regulated to some extent. Tobacco has been demonized because it not only affects the person who is smoking but those who must breath the residual smoke. Fortunately, the restrictions that have been placed on tobacco users and the plethora of information on the health effects of smoking have resulted in a marked decrease in the use of tobacco.
"Freedom of choice" is a favorite mantra of those who want to be permitted to do whatever they choose to whomever they choose. Perhaps, in the case of those who choose to make life-threatening choices, there should be some regulation to protect them and society. In a letter dated March 13, W. Muse said children have died from eating peanut butter, but it is not outlawed nor regulated. I am sure Mr. Muse knows this is not really a good example to use in his comments because this has to do with severe allergic reactions to food, and most are aware of the danger and avoid the food.
The conclusions to be drawn here is that there is some regulatory efforts to control the use of alcohol but some will consume it in excess anyway. So, I doubt that the result of semi-regulatory efforts in the case of cannabis would be different. My point is that alcohol and marijuana are psychoactive drugs and are highly addictive.
I just received mail from AAA in which there was a pamphlet, which stated: "Each year, more than 32,000 lives are lost and 2,200,000 injuries are sustained, all at an economic cost of more than $300 billion." Obviously, getting on the road can kill you, also.
Charlie Ruth Bond