Pubdate: Thu, 09 Oct 2014
Source: News Herald (Panama City, FL)
Copyright: 2014 The News Herald
Author: James Myrick


In the last several weeks, I have read many letters concerning the
marijuana referendum. The reason I am writing is to address some of
the misconceptions regarding its usage.

Contrary to popular belief, the average recreational user of marijuana
is not a freeloader or a crackhead. It would surprise many people to
know the actual number of those from all walks of life that use. The
real fact of the matter is that, legal or not, people will continue to
use marijuana. I am of the opinion that it would be far simpler to
legalize it and allow the state to reap the benefits.

I encourage readers to take a few minutes and confirm the statistics
that I am about to list but the information is staggering. According
to the Department of Public Safety in Colorado, violent crime was
reported to have fallen 400 percent for the first quarter following
the legalization of marijuana. The Colorado state Joint Budget
Committee reported that marijuana legalization produced some $98
million in excise taxes for the year of 2013 and the state expects to
take in about $189 million in tax revenue for the first 18 months.

In comparison, I would like to discuss the loss of life due to tobacco
use, a perfectly legal product. According to the National Cancer
Institute there are over 443,000 deaths that occur each year from lung
cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths.

While I'm on the subject, has anyone ever heard of a doctor
prescribing tobacco to a patient? Strange however, that marijuana is
used to treat cancer patients, and many other medical issues such as
glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.

I do not presume to deny that there are dangers with usage. There are
always those people that make the choice to abuse these things but you
will always have those that make that decision. Whether it is medical
marijuana, prescription drugs or alcohol, the possibility of abuse
will always exist.

In the case of alcohol we teach "responsible use," and that is all we
can really ask. The responsibility lies with each person to properly
manage their usage in everything, including the food that they consume.

You must be your own keeper.

In closing, I hope that every voter does his or her own research on
the marijuana referendum as well as all issues that concern them as
citizens and as voters. Get to the polls, vote, and make your voice

James Myrick

Gulf County
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