Pubdate: Fri, 15 Oct 2010
Source: Anniston Star (AL)
Copyright: 2010 Consolidated Publishing
Author: Larry Amerson
Note: Larry Amerson is sheriff of Calhoun County
Bookmark: (Opinion)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United States)


Some people are trying to convince our residents that legalizing 
marijuana is a good
thing. They have an ongoing campaign to convince you that making it
legal makes all of our drug problems go away.

They claim our jail and prison populations will go down. They say
marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and our government will make
lots of money by taxing it. They claim it is good for medicinal
purposes and we are harming people by not making it available. They
point out that some states have already taken steps to legalize it.

When you operate a jail, you see the people who used drugs and you see
that marijuana is not the benign, harmless, happy smoke that pro-drug
people claim. Throughout Calhoun County, I see the terrible impact
marijuana use has on people, especially young people. We go into homes
and see the true results of drug use. It is a threshold drug that
leads young people to experiment with even more dangerous drugs. It is
not beneficial to users except to make them more divorced from normal

Those who are committed users just want more, and they want it so much
they are willing to go to jail for it -- period. The Calhoun County
Jail average population has increased from 180 to 480 since 1995. Why?
Almost universally, the answer is the decision someone made to start
using drugs. It is ridiculous to believe that making marijuana more
available will make fewer people want to use it. Don't forget that the
people promoting this idea want pot stores on the corner like the
liquor stores dotted around. Come in, pick your flavor and go get high.

Those states where it is approved for medical use are seeing a surge
of people seeking doctors who will issue them a prescription for their
sudden illnesses. Unlike a regular prescription drug, you get to pick
what particular strain or blend of pot you want. Watch the show
Marihuana, Incorporated to get better insight about how it works.

I do agree that they have the right to their opinion and to petition
the government. But it is my duty to tell you the facts I know. I have
seen no studies or received any reports from other law enforcement
officers in the states where it is legal that say drug problems have
been reduced or other addictions have gone down. Tax revenues aren't
soaring and solving their money problems. Jail populations aren't decreasing.

Sheriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County has recently weighed in, and he
is fighting legalization there. His detractors say he just wants to
keep his jails full and keep his job security. That is not true of any
law enforcement officer I have ever known, and I know him personally.
The reality is that marijuana being legally available like alcohol
improves nothing.

There will be some people who can use and go on about their business
with apparent little harm. Others, especially younger people, crave
more. The stories we all know about alcohol abuse, driving under the
influence, the resulting destruction of families, lost jobs and lost
business revenues are indisputable. Those who want marijuana legalized
will increase these kinds of events with their drug of choice. I know
because it is already happening. I and other law enforcement officers
see it every day.

Make no mistake, the people promoting this are willfully violating the
law today and they want more people to join in. Various drugs and
substances have been made illegal because they are harmful to people
and our society as a whole. The places in America and other countries
that made marijuana available are not seeing improvements. The
pro-drug culture with claims of a cure to our problems will simply add
new ways to push society down. The solution isn't making all drugs
legal. It is working to change the lifestyles of people.

We are brainwashing so many young people with our media worship of
people like Paris Hilton, who contribute nothing to society but are
presented as role models. It is ignored that despite their money and
do-whatever-they-want lifestyles, they are sad, empty creatures who
seek drugs trying to find something to fill a void in their soul.

You elected me to do everything I can to protect you and your family.
I work with you and for you on criminal justice matters. We work every
day to arrest those who break our laws and harm others. I work with
agencies and organizations to attempt to favorably impact the lives of
young people to keep them from choosing drugs or violence. We work
with those in jail to change their lives through our jail ministry and
drug rehabilitation programs.

There are no quick and easy cures to society's ills. But we must work
to strengthen the family and give authority and support to schools to
enhance their impact on students. In my opinion, our worst enemy is
what is shown on our movie screens and television sets. More pot, more
pills or more alcohol will not make anything better. Please don't fall
for that lie.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake