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Letters: Think before legalizing marijuana

Why isn't it a big deal that New

Why isn't it a big deal that New York City mayoral candidate John Liu called for legalizing marijuana? Because, says Lane Filler, "he's calling for the launch of a ship that's already sailed." Credit: AP Photo

All I can say to columnist Lane Filler after reading "America should end its war on pot" [Opinion, Aug. 21] is the 1960s are calling you, Man, and they want you back.

As someone who came of age in the '60s, I know how pervasive marijuana was back in the day. However, I also know that those same people who are still partaking of the herb today really are stuck trying to find the deeper meaning of "Tosh 2.0." People don't smoke marijuana for the same reason they have a drink at a party. They smoke to get high, and the amount it takes to get them there is very small.

Then they get into a car. Do we really need another danger on our roads? Aren't drinking, texting and cellphones enough of an adventure for you on the road?

There is no way that marijuana can be regulated unless it is in pill form and strictly administered for medical reasons through a pharmacist. And we all can see how well that is working out with painkillers.

Linda Baumann, Holbrook

Before any discussion of the legalization of marijuana, our representatives on the local, state and federal levels should strengthen the laws involving driving under the influence.

The issue of recreational pot use has many facets and its comparison to alcohol is well founded. But too often we read in the paper or see on TV a story of a horrible car accident involving alcohol, pot or other drugs, such as opiates, causing severe injuries or loss of life.

The day Newsday ran this column, the front page banner was about a teen driver, admittedly driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, who was given a slap on the wrist for killing two friends in a car accident.

Before you end the "war on weed," declare war on DUI. Make the penalties fit the crime. Enact laws, enable the court system to punish appropriately and establish methods to which the guilty can never drive again.

You want to legalize marijuana? First, protect the public.

Gary Corn, Levittown

This column addresses society's attitudinal shift on legalizing marijuana, but it does not discuss the major motive behind the tide of support from government officials: revenue!

While it's true, as Lane Filler proffered, that mores have changed for many Americans, the fact remains that pragmatism rules in political circles. As with gambling and alcohol, politicians only embrace legalizing anything when they can control it and perceive that they can generate huge revenue from it.

Otherwise, they would be calling for a simpler and more ethically appropriate solution: decriminalization.

America needs to reduce governmental intrusiveness in our lives, not increase it.

Stuart M. Klein, Island Park

This column made some fine points but missed a few more. Many in the medical profession and the older generation are in favor of legalization.

But the point about doctors overprescribing medication is outrageous. Does Lane Filler, or anyone else, think that someone would rob a pharmacy at gunpoint to acquire marijuana?

Loose medical reasoning is already a problem -- and a large one! The world will never be perfect, but perhaps having someone give up Vicodin for smoking pot wouldn't be so bad.

Don Parsley, Hauppauge