In letters in Newsday and posts on social media, writers sound like Chicken Little because something people have been doing for 50-plus years is on the verge of becoming legal [“Not so fast with recreational pot,” Letters, Jan. 17]. Marijuana use has been pretty widespread for at least 50 years. People get their hands on it even though possession has been illegal.
I worked in law enforcement, and I don’t recall a single time anyone came to my attention for smoking marijuana unless they were doing it in the street. The same cannot be said for alcohol and its horrendous effects on society, including domestic violence and drunken driving.
Opponents of legalization need to realize three things:
- Deaths from opioids are reduced where marijuana has become legal. For example, fatal opioid overdoses fell in the two years after Colorado legalized marijuana, according to the American Journal of Public Health.
- We continue to turn hundreds of otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals every week for marijuana offenses.
- One need only look at the parking lots near strip-mall liquor stores to see that many people are addicted to cheap alcohol in plastic bottles. Maybe smoking marijuana at home can help alleviate some of this alcoholism, and contribute to people being happier and in better health.
Charles Blatt, Levittown
Editor’s note: The writer retired as a sergeant after 20 years in the NYPD.