To the Editor:
I have worked with young people in Connecticut my entire adult life as a high school history teacher, director of Marine Biology, Archaeology/Native Culture and Bird Identification Camps at the Milford Marine Institute, Inc., and most importantly, as a parent and grandparent. I care about the teens and preteens of Connecticut. Today, I am very distressed as I see my own party, the Democratic Party, pushing the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. My common sense tells me that this is terribly wrong for many reasons. Our current Democratic governor and a few mostly young Democratic politicians from the New Haven and Hamden area are pushing this issue at a time when Connecticut is currently facing an opioid, heroin,alcohol, and vaping crisis.
Now why are they doing this? Though they claim it is for past inequities, Connecticut taxpayers know it is being promoted for one reason and one reason only and that is money. The politicians claim that it will bring in even more revenue than a group such as S.A.M (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) estimates at $113 million. Others have calculated that the costs in increased auto accidents, workplace production declines, absentee employees, school suspensions, and increased number of addicted individuals at some $216 million (Smart Approaches to Marijuana or S.A.M)
In September of this year, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Bob Troyer, wrote in the Denver Post that “Colorado’s youth use marijuana at a rate 85% higher than the national average. Marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151%, according to Troyer and he states “Colorado’s black market has actually exploded after commercialization.”
We know that these few Connecticut politicians have proposed excise taxes on marijuana anywhere from 10% to as much as 23%, which with our normal tax rate of 6.35% will bring the rate to 16.35% or 29.35%. It is common sense to imagine that a black market will evolve as it has in Colorado because of the high cost of the product. Troyer has stated that “Mexican cartel growers have polluted Colorado’s water and soil with nerve -agent pesticides.” (Denver Post. Sept. 28, 2018)
It has been widely reported in the major media that Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations, overdoses and even suicides have risen in Colorado since legalization. (Center for Arizona Policy Dec. 13, 2017)
Why would Connecticut legalize marijuana for recreational use when the Association of Connecticut Police Chiefs has opposed legalization and the American Auto Association representative Amy Permenter has testified repeatedly that there is no way to determine recent marijuana use from actual impairment? Police officers around the state agree and have testified so.
Physicians have spoken repeatedly about the harm to developing brains from marijuana use. Others have testified to harmful impacts on other organs and respiratory, endocrine, and reproductive systems. The Book, The Real Marijuana Danger by Malcolm E. Smith documents hundreds of impacts, both physically and mentally from marijuana use. One example: Dr. Robert C. Peterson of the National Institute on Drug Abuse quoted a study which found that smoking four joints per week decreased vital capacity (amount of air the lungs can exhale following a deep breath) as much as smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day.” (Dr. Peterson of the National Institute on Drug Abuse quoted on page 89 of the Real Marijuana Danger by Malcolm E. Smith)
Chapter 2 of this book, The Real Marijuana Danger is titled “More Harmful Than Alcohol and More Damaging Than Tobacco.” Dr. Nicholas A. Pace states on page 22 that it takes 20 years of heavy tobacco smoking to produce the same type of severe sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, emphysema that less than one year of daily marijuana smoking produces proving that marijuana smoke is far more irritating to the respiratory tract than tobacco.” Though this book came out several years ago, it is heavily sourced with many experts testifying before congressional committees.
Think about the insidious nature of putting marijuana in cookies, candies, and all kinds of other products such has been done in Colorado. Do we really think that the Connecticut politicians can keep lobbyists (some national) from promoting these products and being able to keep laced treats out of the hands of our Connecticut kids? Why would we gamble with the lives of kids not even born yet? Guilford teens spoke on Jan. 23 of this year and were very clear. Legalization they said would sanction drug use for those kids who reason that if adults legalize marijuana, then how bad could it be?. They will experiment where today they do not. A percentage will become addicted, according to experts.
A few politicians have added “equity provisions” in the proposed bill. These unconstitutional provisions would give preferences to some individuals over others depending on one’s ethnic or racial composition. Preferences in licensing, manufacturing, sale, and even lower fees would be granted to some over others. It is outrageous that a few politicians have hoodwinked others to think that this sort of unequal treatment is somehow just. Connecticut would be challenged in the courts should these unequal preferences be codified.
My wife tells me that the fix is in and nothing that I or the many mayors such as Wallingford’s or North Haven’s, state representatives, coalitions, such as the Coalition for A Better Wallingford can do about it. If this is true, that is enough of a reason to oppose this experiment. Why would anyone gamble with the health of our citizens? To do so is immoral. Shame on the few politicians, mostly Democratic, pushing this new scourge on the good people of Connecticut. Connecticut, the Provision and Constitution State, has the opportunity to become the Health State and become the firewall to those determined to copy the ways of Pleasure states such as Colorado. Colorado has shown us exactly what not to do to our young people. Democracy as we all know requires a vigilant populace — not a pleasure seeking one.
Timothy P. Chaucer