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Letter to the Editor Regarding Question 3

Medfield resident Carol Read talks about "marijuana as medicine," question 3 on Tuesday's ballot.

To the Editor: 

On November 6th, Medfield and all towns in Massachusetts will vote for or against the legalization of marijuana as “medicine” – Ballot Question 3.  This proposed law was not written to provide compassion to our friends and loved ones who are chronically ill, suffering from debilitating pain, or dying. This legislation, if passed, will pose a vital Public Health risk to our youth through increased access to marijuana, decreased perception of risk, and an increase in drugged driving incidents -- all clearly documented in data from states that have approved this legislation. 

The proposed law is written with minimal regulations and is to be overseen by our already overburdened Department of Public Health. The 35 marijuana stores, slated to open in the first year  with more to follow, and the ability of card holders and their designated caregivers  to grow marijuana in  their homes  is of grave concern to me as a parent and prevention specialist.  The loophole of NO expiration for card holders  to buy  marijuana,  NO minimum age limit for a doctor recommendation  and the freedom  of card holders  to carry a 60 day supply (at least 200 marijuana joints)  present  unprecedented access to marijuana. Please consider the research below and the realities of the loopholes in the proposed law. I urge you to read the details of the law and to Vote NO on Question 3 in order to protect Medfield youth.

It is well known that marijuana is the most widely abused illegal drug among teens, and that more teens now smoke marijuana than tobacco.  Marijuana has many more adverse health and safety risks than typically recognized. Here are the facts:

* Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug.

* Marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims.  Just like drinking and driving, drugged driving is a very serious issue that can have tragic outcomes.

* Marijuana smoke contains 50-70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke, contributing to the risk of cancer of the lungs, mouth and tongue.

* In the past 15 years, the potency of marijuana (THC content) has more than tripled from 3 percent to more than 11 percent.

*Approximately 9 percent (1 in 11) marijuana users become dependent. The earlier young people start using marijuana the more likely they are to be dependent later in life.

*Nationwide, 6.6 percent of high school seniors smoke marijuana every day, rendering them unemployable in companies that use routine employee drug screening.

*Rates of teen marijuana use in Massachusetts are 30 percent higher than the average for the nation.

* Teens that smoke marijuana regularly demonstrate up to an 8-point IQ drop in early adulthood, compared to teens that do not smoke.

In Massachusetts more kids are admitted to treatment for marijuana use than all other illegal drugs combined – a startling fact! A study published this August by the University of Colorado, a state with legalized medical marijuana, demonstrates that nearly three-quarters of teens in the treatment programs studied said they have used medical marijuana bought or grown for someone else, meaning “medical” marijuana is indeed being diverted to youth. 

As a parent and citizen of Medfield, I have always been inspired by the commitment our community makes to our youth.  We are a community that strives for the best opportunities for our youth and for their healthy growth and development. Voting NO on Question 3 will uphold our commitment to the young people in our community. As parents, we are the strongest protective factor in reducing youth substance use. To learn more, go to www.mavotenoonquestion3.com

Carol Read, M.Ed., CAGS 

Carol Read, Medfield resident and former addictions counselor, works as a prevention specialist and serves as the Vice President of the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, a statewide, volunteer organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for sound public health and safety policies for youth. Click here for more information. 

John Casy November 04, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Rosemary don't believe a word Carol says. Shes just program by the goverment to be against pot. As we all know by now Washington has LOST the fight against pot. They will NEVER stop marijuana. Vote for marijuana on question 3
GM November 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
John, your reply to Rosemary hardly bolsters the argument to vote in favor of the amendment. In fact, your comment adds weight to the argument to oppose it. It sounds like the state's last vote to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana is where the picture you paint of the future should have been stopped.
Carol A Read November 04, 2012 at 06:34 PM
PLEASE take 3 minutes to learn the facts on Question 3 ~ Copy the link below and paste it into your browser to watch a 3 minute video ~Thank you very much! Carol http://mavotenoonquestion3.com/question-3-in-3-minutes/
Enrique Hernandez November 07, 2012 at 05:35 PM
The voters have spoken reflecting an awakening among a new generation able to see through the distorted government propaganda that's been in place since the Reagan days. Why aren't you so concerned about all the opiate pills prescribed daily, flooding our streets and schools?
Will Thompson November 18, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Every argument against marijuana legalization essentially is based on people driving high or kids using pot. None of these make it rational to continue arresting hard-working, tax paying citizens who are responsible users. Just like responsible drinkers, they are out there.

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