Rutland Herald (first week of February)
Thanks to Ms. Slaton’s Letter, we awoke from our slumber, recognizing in her words a call for an about-face from our current focus on marijuana in Vermont. She asks, “What are we teaching [our children] if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn?”
Bingo. She’s right.
If our children learn by paying attention to messages implicit in the law as Ms. Slaton suggests they do, then we are in big trouble, and we have already brought down immense harm on them by introducing them to alcohol. The alleged negative effects of marijuana are in dispute; but there is no dispute about alcohol’s negative effects on learning, health, family stability, and its role in violence and death, which are extremely well documented.
What message does this send our children?
Ms. Slaton is right, Vermonters: We’ve needed to take the protection of our children to the next level for some time now. For the sake of the children, it’s high time we outlawed alcohol. So let’s stop trying to hold back legalization of marijuana, and focus on the real harms. For the sake of the children.
Brendan Lalor resides in Rutland.
Philip Lamy resides in Castleton.
Consider pot law carefully
We have been paying close attention to discussions around the legalization of marijuana in Vermont. We attended the public hearing recently held in Springfield by the Judiciary Committee. We are trying to keep an open mind and educate ourselves as to the facts. Like so many issues, there are many questions and concerns that have yet to be addressed.
The greatest concern is for our children, our future. Children learn from our actions more than from our words. What are we teaching them if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn? As responsible adults do we just look the other way, as we do with so many things? We cannot take that route. We wish to speak up for the children whose voices won’t be part of this conversation.
We have a responsibility to do whatever is possible to see that our children have a safe healthy environment to grow and thrive in. We do not believe that legalizing marijuana will contribute to that goal.
Just this past week an expert panel from the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse traveled around Nova Scotia to dispel the many myths about the use of marijuana and the impact on the developing brain. There is science that supports the negative impact of marijuana usage on the developing brain. We know second-hand tobacco smoke puts children at risk. There is evidence that the same is true with second-hand marijuana smoke.
Is life so difficult that we need to make it easier and easier to escape through mood-altering drugs? Do we not have enough drug-dependent people in our communities? Do we not have enough drug problems in our cities and towns that we need to foster an environment to create more?
Have we resigned ourselves as a society to the idea that living life without drugs as a crutch is just not possible? This is not the message we want to send to the children of our state.
Some other things to think about (there are many more):
- Who are the individuals who stand to benefit most financially from selling this drug?
- How many billions of dollars will they reap in the windfall of profit beyond the tax dollars?
- What are the social and financial costs in treating an entire new wave of addicted people; of managing the wave of additional behavioral problems in our schools; and in overloading the police departments with problems involving drugged drivers?
- In a state that prides itself on being environmentally responsible, what is the impact on our power grid and green house gas emissions?
- Let us also remember that this is not your grandfather’s pot. Currently available marijuana is much more potent and harmful.
Please let us be responsible adults and dothe right thing for our children.
Their lives and well-being matter. Please do not legalize marijuana in Vermont.