Pubdate: Sun, 02 Nov 2014
Source: Bradenton Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2014 Bradenton Herald
Author: Andrew Johnson


In response to Betty Dodt's letter concerning Amendment 2 (medical
marijuana), I believe her condemnation of marijuana to be extreme and
unreasoned. We've seen a change in attitude towards pot in the past 10
years, as reflected in the culture; America's more progressive states
have decided on legalization, both medicinally and

Visit The Netherlands and one will see a culture that doesn't have a
drug problem even though soft drugs are legal there.

It would seem to me that pot is as popular as ever due to these
changing attitudes and information. Gone are the days of "Reefer
Madness" hysteria and the misguided "Say No to Drugs" era.

However, there is still a segment of America (generally elderly) who
believe marijuana to be a dangerous, evil drug, to be lumped in with
other truly destructive drugs.

One of the leading arguments against legalization is that pot is a
"gateway drug" that will lead an otherwise good person down the dark
road to ruin. This is a flawed view.

Can alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs found in parents'
medicine cabinets not just as easily be labeled as such? I believe
that more often than not, the true gateway factor lies in a persons
own mental health issues, and not seeking help for them. We don't want
to look at why a person is looking to self medicate pre-existing
problems, such as depression and anxiety to begin with.

Legalizing medical marijuana has its benefits. It can be used as a
medicine; just ask anyone who has used it to relieve pain and nausea
associated with cancer, AIDS, Crohn's, arthritis and a legion other
diseases. Of course, marijuana can be abused, just like alcohol, guns,
food, sex, smart phones or anything else.

In closing, it should be pointed out that anyone that "might" use
marijuana is already using it. Trust me, if one wants to smoke,
vaporize or eat it, marijuana can be obtained very easily.

Remember, alcohol was illegal not too long ago in this country. Why
not have this "drug" be regulated by the state to protect the quality
and keep our courts focused on real crime?

Andrew Johnson

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