Pubdate: Thu, 15 Apr 2010
Source: Oklahoma Daily, The (U of Oklahoma, OK Edu)
Copyright: 2010 The Oklahoma Daily
Author: Justin Nitzschke


In Wednesday the 14th's letters to the editor, a retired detective
argued that the government had a duty to protect the people from
putting harmful substances into our bodies. He was speaking about
smoking marijuana. He then went on to say that if you step outside of
cigarettes, alcohol, Prozac, or Valium you will be punished in order
to protect you from whatever harmful substance you used, implying that
these substances are harmless.

I would like to point out that CDC
statistics state that alcohol directly cause over 22,000 deaths in the
US in 2006, and indirect deaths are estimated at over 100,000. This
number has increased every year since. The CDC also estimates that
around 443,000 die as a result of exposure to tobacco or tobacco
smoke. Not to mention the costly addiction that makes it difficult to
stop. Prozac and Valium have the potential to kill upon overdose, and
can cause dependence after prolonged use. The current direct death
toll from Marijuana is 0. No one has ever died from smoking pot.

Possible indirect deaths due to intoxication in public can be argued
for, but given that alcohol causes nearly 40% of all accidents in the
US, I doubt that public intoxication from marijuana is a larger
threat. Given that all these legal substances are a greater threat to
the user's and other's health, why would something that has never
caused a single death in the history of its use be illegal to protect
us from harm?

The laws need to show consistency. Either the government
needs to make any substance that could potentially be harmful illegal,
or substances that are less harmful than alcohol and tobacco need to
be legalized.

Justin Nitzschke

Music Education Sophomore