Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jan 2014
Source: Sentinel, The (Carlisle, PA)
Copyright: 2014 Dashell Fittry
Author: Dashell Fittry


Dear Editor:

This is my response to the comments made by President Obama regarding
the legalization of marijuana.

I agree with President Obama when he says that marijuana is not more
dangerous than alcohol. In fact, I would argue that it is less
dangerous considering one can overdose on alcohol.

The one danger with both is when someone chooses to operate a motor
vehicle under the influence. This is not a wise choice, and should not
be tolerated.

There is much to be said about marijuana beyond safety

First, it is the opinion of many individuals that the war on drugs has
not only failed but has been disastrous for our country. The fact that
we are locking up teenagers for possessing miniscule amounts of drugs,
and irrevocably harming their future employment chances, is a dark
mark upon the criminal justice system of this country.

In accordance with Obama's comment, this very justice system is deeply
crooked, imprisoning far more black and Latinos than whites, even
though there is no great difference between these groups in the
percentage of those who partake.

Second, we are spending millions of dollars to arrest, prosecute and
house individuals who have been arrested for carrying a joint. This is
not logical, and in Pennsylvania alone, it is a waste of nearly $350
million per year. Third, think of the violence caused by this illicit
trade. We have gangs across the United States, gangs right here in
central Pennsylvania, which thrive because of the drug trade.

To our south, we have one of the most dangerous national borders in
the world, where daily, individuals are beaten, beheaded and
slaughtered trying to illegally transport marijuana into the United

If it is legalized, this trade will be regulated, leaving gangs
without a purpose. Granted, they will surely persist, but their
relevance will take a severe hit.

Lastly, I think that marijuana should be legalized, but it should be
done through the states. As much as I would like to have the federal
government legalize marijuana, I think that it is far more appropriate
to leave marijuana policy to the states to legalize, regulate and tax
on their own than leave it to the ever increasing national government.

Dashell Fittry

West Pennsboro Township 
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