DAs have it wrong on Question 2

Posted

Thursday, October 30
I was quite interested to read the article, "Weed sparking lively debate," in the Oct. 24 Eagle. I find the arguments put forth by District Attorney David Capeless and the state's other DAs to maintain such severe punishment for kids possessing an ounce of pot to be not only fallacious but disheartening.

There is a concept that marijuana is a "gateway drug often linked to serious crime." This is about as incorrect as incorrect can be. DA Capeless predicts that more young people would try marijuana if Question 2 is approved. Most kids already smoke or have smoked marijuana. His statement suggests that he knows very little about serious drug use.

Heroin, cocaine and speed are serious hard drugs. But the addicts using these hard drugs do not get addicted from pot use. Some get hooked because of poor socioeconomic factors leading to hanging out with other drug addicts, but by far the largest number of opiate addicts are hooked on OxyContin. They get addicted to OxyContin because of Percocet prescriptions from well-meaning but addiction-ignorant physicians (OxyContin and Percocet have the same addictive drug, oxycodone) who prescribe Percocet far too readily.

A kid with one ounce of marijuana, albeit far from being a criminal, is easy to apprehend by police. The real criminal drug dealers, who sell marijuana by the pound, are more difficult and more dangerous to apprehend. It is hard not to conclude that DA Capeless and other DAs would rather avoid this more difficult work but pretend that they are cracking down on drug addiction by arresting kids possessing a small amount of marijuana.

I surely hope Question 2 passes.

EDWARD L. PARSONS, M.D.
Pittsfield

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