Letter: Cannabis fears fuel hypocrisy, dishonesty

Cannabis fears fuel hypocrisy, dishonesty

To the editor:

William D. Barry's July 14 letter regarding his opposition to legalizing cannabis is little more than typical fear-mongering under the guise of "protecting" youth. Blaming cannabis for opiate addiction is like blaming Coke for all the diabetics. Many people drink Coke every day without turning into diabetics. Many people use cannabis every day without turning to opiates and other highly addictive drugs.

According to Steve DeAngelo in his book, "The Cannabis Manifesto," "laws prohibiting cannabis were based on racism and ignorance, and maintained with government-sponsored campaigns of misinformation, propaganda, and intimidation." That started in the early 1900s and continues today. It's about time that everyone cited fact and science and not mythology and lies.

DeAngelo has eight points that sum it up perfectly: cannabis is not harmful, but prohibition is; cannabis should never have been made illegal; cannabis has always been a medicine; choose cannabis for wellness not intoxication; cannabis reform doesn't harm communities, it strengthens them; cannabis should be taxed and regulated as a wellness product; cannabis reform is a social-justice movement; and legalization cannot and will not be stopped.

For example, DeAngelo states that prohibition "...has caused the unjust arrest of millions, prevented the effective treatment of grave illnesses, enriched violent cartels, endangered communities, eroded human rights, and divided families. We want sane and just laws that protect instead of destroy."

Our efforts would be better spent putting a tighter leash around physicians to prevent them from feeding painkillers to patients with such enthusiasm. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been pressuring the CDC to do just that. She is also a leader in advocating more research on how cannabis can play a role in weaning people off addictive opiates.

Parents are hiding cannabis use from their children, while children are hiding it from their parents. Teachers hide it from students, and students hide it from teachers. Professionals hide their cannabis use from the clients they serve, and the clients hide it from the professionals who advise them. Employees hide it from employers, and employers hide it from employees. And everybody hides it from the cops. The system as it is in simply full of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

I would recommend that Mr. Barry and those who share his misguided opinion take some time to research the pros and cons — DeAngelo's book being an excellent place to start — to make a more informed decision either way. Or they can watch the 1936 film "Tell Your Children" (better known as "Reefer Madness") on TCM's Midnight Movie and continue to share ignorance and superstition as science and fact.

Michael Murphy, Pittsfield


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