Legalization real 'madness'
The editorial “Reefer madness: End prohibition” (July 12 and TribLIVE.com) advocating “flat-out federal legalization, taxation and regulation” of marijuana needed to take into account more facts before jumping to this conclusion.
Statistics prove the rate of past-30-days use of marijuana by Americans age 12 or older in 1979 was 13.2 percent. In 2008, that figure stood at 6.1 percent. This 54-percent reduction in marijuana use over that 29-year period is not a failure. Activists fail to recognize that the greatest costs of marijuana are not related to its prohibition, but result from marijuana use itself.
Alcohol-related costs total over $185 billion, while only $14.5 billion is generated in tax revenue; similarly, tobacco use costs over $200 billion, but only $25 billion is collected in taxes. Why have we not already learned our lesson from these other two substances?
People argue whether marijuana is a “gateway” drug. Investigating hundreds of drug overdose deaths in my career, the majority of those individuals began their drug use by way of marijuana before moving on to other illicit drugs. We saw a record 78 drug overdose deaths in Westmoreland County in 2012. Legalizing another psychoactive substance is not the right idea for public health or to prevent more drug-related deaths in our community.
Joshua C. Zappone
The writer is a Westmoreland County deputy coroner.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.