In a recent editorial opinion, the Herald & Review writer said, "this is the time to ponder legalizing pot; it's time to examine draconian cannabis laws." The writer went on to say, "in our view, the legislation is reasonable because it allows a small amount of the drug and prohibits marijuana use in public spaces and moving vehicles."

The fact is you are not supposed to drink and drive, but we know that has not worked well. It is naive to believe people would not smoke pot and drive simply because it would be illegal. A study by the National Traffic Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 18 percent of drivers in fatal accidents tested positive for non-alcoholic mind-altering, mainly marijuana.

In Washington State, in 2013, the percentage of vehicle accidents in which the driver tested positive for marijuana, rose 40 percent. The two years before legalization, there was only 0.7 percent increase. So it's evident that legalization of pot just makes our highways more dangerous.

\Not only will legalizing pot make it more dangerous on our roads, but it will also lead to more addiction and health problems.

A 2013 study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that "regular marijuana use during adolescence, but not adulthood, may permanently impair cognition and increase the risk for psychiatric diseases, such as schizophrenia." The follow-up 2014 study found that using marijuana as a teen reduces gray matter in the parts of the brain associated with motivational, emotional and affective processing. According to the National Institute of Health, one in six 16-year-olds who try marijuana will become addicted to it. 

Finally, a report by the Obama administration states that additional revenue would be far outweighed by the increased health care cost. Legalizing marijuana is a bad idea.

Gerald Thompson, Decatur


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