Newsday’s July 30 editorial, “Move cautiously on the path to legal marijuana,” makes some very good points about the dangers associated with commercial pot, but is wrong to toe the industry line that legalization should be considered “inevitable.”
Make no mistake, more drugs in our community would not be a good thing for young people, public health and safety and minority, low-income neighborhoods.
The editorial board is right to point out the higher arrest rates for blacks and Latinos. But more drugs won’t solve that problem. In states where marijuana is legal, black people are still being arrested for offenses such as public consumption or underage possession in far higher proportions than whites, according to a 2018 study by the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group.
The editorial board is right that police need the ability to test erratic drivers for driving while impaired, and that such a process or device is not available for marijuana users. It is right to say significant resources would need to be allocated for drug treatment. Law enforcement costs, social services and mental health costs would likely rise with legalization.
With dangers and costs like those, why would we ever submit to the idea that commercial pot shops on our streets are inevitable? We shouldn’t.
Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of Long Beach Aware, a state-funded substance abuse prevention agency.
Praise for regional chief of state parks
Thank you for the article about George “Chip” Gorman, the regional director of New York State Parks. It’s nice to read an article about a government employee who has worked his way up, does a great job and takes pride in his work.
Although now retired, I had the pleasure of working with Chip many times throughout my career as a recreation and parks employee from a local municipality. He is the epitome of professionalism and a gentleman. He understands and loves recreation and parks, and it shows in everything he touches.
Kudos to Newsday for showing the public the effort behind maintaining all of our wonderful facilities and events in our state parks.
A fan of history cherishes Plum Island
It is great news that the federal government will make a serious effort to preserve the iconic Plum Island Lighthouse [“Feds to give $1.5M to restore lighthouse,” News, Aug. 6].
Plum Island holds a number of incredible historical sites, including Spanish-American War-era Fort Terry.
In the words of Rep. Lee Zeldin, “Plum Island is not just a natural resource, but a cultural and historic monument with a rich history.”
As a supporter of the effort to preserve Plum Island, I hope that the U.S. Senate finally passes legislation this year to stop the sale of this public treasure. I look forward to visiting with my granddaughter and climbing the stairs in the lighthouse. We will learn more about American history, bird-watching and surf-casting.
Editor’s note: The writer is an environmental attorney, a member of the Long Island State Parks Commission and vice chair of Parks & Trails New York, an advocacy organization.
Differing opinions on Newsday’s cartoonist
Matt Davies’ cartoon of Aug. 4 about socialism and lower drug prices in Canada depicted a fat, flaccid man with an animal mouth and snakelike arms wearing a Make America Great Again hat. It was an insult to many of your readers. I believe the American flag on the mailbox implied that those who display patriotic symbols are dolts. The cartoon was mean-spirited and added nothing to our civil discourse.
I read Matt Davies’ cartoons every day. The way he makes connections between ideas and events is amazing. I think he is brilliant.
Cops need discussion of life’s hard realities
There has just been another suicide this year in the NYPD [“Officer dies by suicide, NYPD says; 7th in ’19,” News, July 28].
Police officers can be exposed in a compelling way to the apparent brute unfairness of life itself, the unfathomable and inhuman behavior of some individuals and the sometimes horrific scenes and situations resulting from tragedies and crimes. These things can and do disturb a person’s world view or spiritual/psychological foundation.
The best hope of counteracting the impact of such exposures is to confront them with mandatory group sessions throughout an officer’s career in which they are reviewed and discussed in detail.
Thomas V. Lysaght,
Editor’s note: The writer is a retired clinical psychologist.