Letter to the editor: Legalization of marijuana leading to serious societal consequencesPosted by On

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. The government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is perceived to have no medical value and a high potential of abuse. It shares the category with heroin.

A recent headline in The Canton Repository that “more than 40 U.S. states could allow some form of marijuana by the end of 2020” took me by surprise. Long ago (Oct. 24, 2015) in this column, I expressed my grave concern at the proposed constitutional amendment to grant production and sale of marijuana in Ohio for recreational and medical purposes. I exhorted the leadership to the dangers, describing the woeful consequences I had witnessed in my neighborhood because of marijuana.

At that time, a majority “no” vote defeated the proposal. Subsequently, it was legalized for medicinal use. What happened next? Streaming news of “pill mills,” a massacre in a country house, an opioid epidemic and overdose deaths started to flow freely.

Kent State University at Stark wrote that “32% of college students had either depression, anxiety, serious thoughts of suicide … (and) substance abuse can be quite common in the college population…”

Suicide is a leading cause of death. In 2017, more than 47,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide. The governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, views opioid abuse as a problem of big concern. A report of police, doctors and educators fighting legalization of recreational marijuana in New York reads as awful. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is firmly against legalization of marijuana.

The Mississippi Department of Health expressed strong opposition to medical marijuana in a resolution adopted Jan. 8, 2020. A recent article in Bloomberg News titled “Fatal overdoses fall in USA for first time in 3 decades” proved fallacious when Robert Anderson, chief of the CDC’s mortality statistics branch, contradicted the content of the article, saying, “I’d like to say that we have, but I can’t really say that based on what we are seeing.”

S.A. SAMAD, CANTON

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