OPINION: Legalizing marijuana is all about money and greed

OPINION: Legalizing marijuana is all about money and greed

The RJ article (2/19/2018) regarding marijuana shows me that teenagers have a greater understanding — armed with facts on the use of recreational marijuana – than the pro-marijuana politicians. Thank you, Representative Vincent Candelora, for your stand. It is clear this is all about money and greed, with no concern for human health risks. This is Wall Street investors and the new Big Marijuana companies. Politicians in Colorado, Washington and California are now investors in marijuana sales. Some politicians outright own marijuana supply companies or have full or part ownership in marijuana stores. Former California attorney general Bill Lockyer formed a company that sells marijuana and edibles to stores in Los Angeles.

We are in an opiate crisis in Connecticut and across America, and apparently some politicians could not care less. Since marijuana was approved for recreational use in Colorado and Washington State, studies and data have shown that marijuana use does lead to opiate usage. Common sense to me: Marijuana is a drug that gets you high. Marijuana edibles have a THC content exceeding 90 percent and marijuana now averages greater than 28 percent. If recreational marijuana use is approved, most marijuana sales will still be illegal. Street sales will still be widespread across the state to avoid paying sales tax or any other taxes imposed. Illegal cultivation will increase in Connecticut, causing environmental damage like what has occurred in California, Colorado, and Washington State. Since 2014, California alone has seized 2.7 million poisoned marijuana plants; removed 399 tons of grow-site waste, trash and pollutants; confiscated 50 tons of fertilizers; seized 465 gallons of legal and illegal toxic chemicals; and eliminated 709 water diversions/dams from drought-stricken areas (In fact, drug trafficking organizations stole 1.3 billion gallons of water in 2014 and 2015.).

In November 2017, on legalized marijuana’s five-year anniversary, the Colorado Springs Gazette published an editorial, titled “The sad anniversary of Big Commercial Pot in Colorado”. Here are just a few highlights:

Residential neighborhoods throughout Colorado Springs reek of marijuana (producers are filling rental homes with plants). Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of one of the highest homelessness growth rates in the country. Research by the (pro-legalization) Denver Post revealed a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana. There is more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared. A report on escalating pot use in schools, aired in late 2016 by Rocky Mountain PBS, revealed a 45-percent increase in drug violations in K-12 schools; an increase of 71 percent in high school drug violations; and 45-percent increase in suspensions for drugs. Colorado leads the nation in marijuana use among teens, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (The full Gazette editorial can be found at: https://gazette.com/editorial-the-sad-anniversary-of-big-commercial-pot-in-colorado/article/1614900.)

The number-one reason cited for legalizing recreational pot in Connecticut is money. But our Connecticut politicians know quite well it is not about tax revenue. For every dollar Colorado collects, ten dollars is spent on problems in the education system, medical consequences, and psychological treatments, along with the increase in motor vehicle deaths since legalization. Colorado’s annual tax revenue from the sale of recreational and medical marijuana was 0.8 percent of Colorado’s total statewide budget (FY 2016). Legalization would add to our fiscal woes, not solve them — not to mention the detrimental effects on public health, education, and traffic safety.

There is so much more, and all one needs to do is spend a little time with Google. Yet with all this available information on Colorado’s experience with legalized marijuana, Connecticut politicians keep beating the drum that our state should follow suit. Ask yourself: Why is that? And whose interests are they really serving?


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