Ignore propaganda, back marijuana legalization
To the editor:
Former Pittsfield City Councilor William Barry's July 14 letter ("Legalizing pot will increase drug problems") is typical of the scare tactics we've come to expect from anti-pot politicians.
Fortunately, many people have stopped paying attention to the propaganda which is based solely upon the authors' "firm beliefs" and not verifiable data. We're supposed to accept that we need protecting from ourselves. In reality, there is zero evidence from the 25 states (and D.C.) that have legalized marijuana in some form of any increase in crime or of other drug use.
In light of more pressing issues it seems foolhardy to continue spending enormous sums of money and allocating law-enforcement resources fighting an impossible battle, one that the average citizen never asked for. Not only does legalization effectively plug the draining of resources, the state will make money taxing and regulating sales. Figures for 2015 from Colorado alone are stunning, with sales reaching almost a billion dollars and the state earning over $135 million in taxes and fees — $35 million of this new income is earmarked for school construction, something that will positively affect an entire generation. All this money was still being spent in the past, it just went to the black market.
It's time to stop putting Americans in prison for indulging in an act that is less harmful than the laws designed to discourage its use. Make your voice heard this November and vote to stop the insanity of cannabis prohibition.
Michael Mazzeo, Pittsfield