Dear Editor: As noted in Bishop DiMarzio’s Put Out in the Deep column (June 16), NYS legislators are making efforts to reduce arrests related to the possession of marijuana. If they succeed marijuana, a psychoactive and addictive drug, will become affordable and easily available. Like you Bishop DiMarzio, I strongly oppose the efforts at the decriminalization of marijuana.
In the criminal justice system, I have seen a significant number of defendants, up to 80 percent of 16-24 year olds, engaged in the use of marijuana. Interviews conducted immediately after defendants have appeared before a Criminal Court Judge reveal defendants having used several blunts prior to their appearance. When subjected to toxicology screens, one discovers that the marijuana is laced with many other deadly chemicals and drugs.
I firmly believe that today’s marijuana user cannot make informed and rational decisions because their use eliminates their ability to think logically. Yet they take pleas that have a severe impact on their future.
Community partners and law enforcement work with groups of young people who appear to be emotionally crippled. They are constantly seeking ways to self-medicate, most often by the use of marijuana. When speaking to them one notes that their attention span, memory, and learning skills appear to be significantly impaired. Many of them are unable to keep appointments, to go to school or hold a job.
Decriminalization may prevent a young person from having a criminal record for life. However, the use of marijuana can also have serious adverse impact on their behavior.
Also we can expect earlier usage as well as increase usage in the adolescent population. Consequentially we can expect earlier onset of mental health issues in susceptible individuals as well social consequences such as decreased motivation and an increase in school truancy.
Marijuana use threatens the health, welfare, and safety of everyone. All we need to do is look at the dysfunction and destruction in our society caused by alcohol. We see the current impact of the misuse of prescription drugs and the increasing use of K2. The decriminalization of marijuana as it goes with addiction and behavioral health will have definite consequences.
Since the state of California legalized marijuana there has been an increase in Driving Under the Influence, as well as an increase in death due to motor vehicular accidents. When something is legal there is a general acceptance of its use, usually paired with an increase in non-medicinal, recreational use.
Are we becoming a culture that promotes drug use or encouraging our young people to continue to get “high”?
Dear Editor: Thank you for publishing Bishop DiMarzio’s article (June 16) on the dangers of marijuana use. Working with and among the many street artists in Bushwick, I see this problem face to face on a daily basis. I have absolutely no doubt that chronic marijuana usage is a “gateway” that more often than not leads to abuse and addiction with other drugs.
The only thing I don’t quite comprehend is why there aren’t any educational programs as such in our Catholic schools (albeit elementary, high, college etc.) that deal with this harsh reality in our culture. I’m not even certain such programs (or courses) are found in the curriculum of the public school system!
Educating our young people in our variant schools with the stark facts of drug abuse and addiction is blatantly absent.
FATHER FRANK MANN
Dear Editor: To Mr. Manago, who dedicated one sentence of his letter (June 9) to medical marijuana: You state that there are other drugs available for therapeutic use. You’re right. There are. They’re called opioids. (Medical cannabis (MC) can be used for more than just pain, just for the record.)
Opioid overdose is a very serious problem in this country. There were over 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. last year and it’s expected to continue to rise. MC has the potential to get patients off of opioids. MC is a far less dangerous drug. I can’t understand why it is so stigmatized.
There are many ways of administering it, not just by smoking it. It can be taken by mouth, through the skin, or by the inhalation of a mist. All medications come with risks and have side effects. The doctor and patient have to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of every drug being prescribed and then make an educated decision about it.
MC should be one of the options for the simple fact that it is very effective in treating multiple medical problems and it is far less dangerous than codeine, Vicodin, Oxycontin, and other opioids.