Letter: Legal recreational marijuana – at what cost?
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
To the editor:
A West Central Tribune article by Mark Zdechlik on Dec. 14 states that Minnesota will receive $180 million for the state in “new income” from the sale of legal marijuana. At what cost?
The article and its supporters say cannabis will pay for itself, the added needs for mental health, chemical dependency treatment, law enforcement. Why would we want to enhance the problem? At what cost?
I’ve worked with chemical dependency for over 50 years on a weekly basis. I’ve seen firsthand the problems with drugs and alcohol. In my opinion, the state will need to add two treatment centers (with staff) to handle the increase in problems of dependency for adults. At what cost?
We’ll also need a minimum of two treatment centers for our youth. That doesn’t account for the added burden on our schools and prisons. At what cost?
Supporters say legal marijuana is for adults over 21 years of age. How many of those supporters had a beer before they were 21? We already have problems with underage drinking and drugs. We already know that this is a first step drug that is the gateway to stronger drugs and addictions. At what cost?
We’d need more medical personnel to handle the increase in mental health problems for both youth and adults. At what cost?
How many government employees will we need to run the program and collect the fees? Will we need another state government building? As time goes on, we’ll either maintain a patchwork system or go back to having state facilities. At what cost?
All the excitement for legalization comes from what segment of our society? Who benefits? I’d say that the $180 million for our state coffers comes at too high a price.