Pot fear-mongering ignores the facts

To the editor:

Alan Chartock seems worried about what the "social ramifications" will be if Massachusetts voters approve the November ballot question on recreational marijuana ("Pot has ups and downs — and it's not going away, July 9"; "Better way to deal with drugs proves elusive," July 16.) The best cure for anxiety in this case is a healthy dose of the facts.

Take, for example, the argument that legalizing the recreational use of pot will somehow worsen the state's problem with opioid addiction. Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless has consistently claimed that marijuana serves as a gateway drug to heroin. This concern was also recently expressed in William Barry's July 14 letter to the Eagle.

There's little evidence to support their position. Last year, Professor Miriam Boeri of Bentley University presented the findings of around two dozen peer-reviewed studies on the subject. The title of her Newsweek.com article sums it up: "Marijuana is not, repeat not, a gateway drug."

In Colorado, voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing the sale of recreational marijuana beginning in January 2014. What's happened since then? When Boston Globe reporter Joshua Miller traveled to Colorado earlier this year, all the top state officials he talked to agreed that there had been no widely felt negative effects on the state since marijuana became legal.


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Chartock, Capeless and others can be confident that when voters approve the recreational use of marijuana, the sky will not fall.

Seth Kershner, Lee