Decriminalize, but don’t legalize, marijuana

I wanted to echo much of the same points made by Linda White in her column on Sunday, and remind readers that marijuana advocates used to justify legalization because of the medicinal benefits.

With the apparent benefit and greater effectiveness of CBD oil usage and the legal availability of THC-free oil via the five commonwealth-approved dispensaries that serve the state, why do we even need to legalize recreational use at this point?

As Ms. White mentioned in her piece, the answer is money. Attorney General Mark Herring and other politicians in Richmond see all the tax dollars that can be had by regulating the recreational marijuana market. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of public safety, as the statistics from Colorado and Washington State reveal.

I think it’s safe to say that there is a general desire to decriminalize marijuana possession, but what is being pursued by marijuana advocates is legalization, which is a completely different level of advocacy that should not be supported.

The lack of technology to prevent marijuana use while driving should concern everyone. As of now, there are no equivalent devices such as the ignition interlock and breathalyzers that are available to confirm use and/or abuse of alcohol.

Virginians need to become more familiar with the statistics that this early study warns about, and stop being indifferent about the topic. General apathy likely reflects the fact that most people do not smoke marijuana, but need to realize that it will not take long to experience the negative impact. The study only captured the first few years after legalization in Colorado and Washington State, and it’s already awful.

Kevin Ortegel


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