Pubdate: Fri, 01 Nov 2013
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Copyright: 2013 MaineToday Media, Inc.
Author: Lisa Beecher
Page: A8


Soon residents in Portland will vote on whether to decriminalize
possession of marijuana for recreational use. Some people I've talked
with believe that if they choose not to use marijuana, they won't be
affected in a negative way if this passes.

Proponents say marijuana is less addictive than alcohol and causes
less damage to the brain than alcohol and that related health care
costs are less. That tells me it causes some brain damage and
addiction, and creates some health-related costs.

We're talking degrees of harm. How much damage to the brain is
acceptable to you, and who ends up paying for that? Do you want to pay
for more addiction services and health-related costs? The routes of
all scenarios lead directly or indirectly to your wallets.

Responsible use, you say? I envision more people more often not in
full control of their faculties, and more drivers under the influence
hoping they don't get caught.

How about an increase in air pollution? How will users keep their
smoke from wafting into the personal space of others? I'm not
convinced that inhaling smoke into the mouth, throat and lungs doesn't
negatively impact the cells of our bodies.

Do we really need to make yet another mood-altering drug more
accessible to more people? Decriminalization is trending across the

When some time has passed and information is gathered about the
negative consequences of decriminalizing pot for recreational use, I'm
wondering what the personal cost will be for each of us, whether in
terms of our wallets or the health and well-being of ourselves and our
loved ones.

Please don't tell me it's all going to be good news. We will all pay
the price for providing another legal way for people to get wasted.

Lisa Beecher Portland
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