Letters

Don’t legalize marijuana 

Dear Editor,

I am an American on vacation here. My wife and I love The Bahamas and hope to retire here. I was troubled to read in The Guardian that The Bahamas is considering legalizing marijuana.

We live in the state of Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2014. The results have been horrendous. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), marijuana use nearly doubled in Oregon and other states following legalization.

Contrary to popular myths and misinformation, marijuana is not a harmless drug. The signs of social decay following legalization are manifest in the streets of Portland and other Oregon cities.

A serious homeless crisis has developed along with massive drug addiction, crime, and mental illness. Crime has gotten so out of control in Portland that police no longer respond to 911 emergency calls.

Housing prices are declining, even as they have gone up in the rest of the country, as people and businesses exit the city. Thousands of businesses in Portland, once named America’s most livable city, have been closed and boarded up.

Studies have found that regular marijuana use among young adults decreases intelligence by an average of eight IQ points long term, even if usage is stopped. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2015/02/10/new-study-shows-smoking-pot-permanently-lowers-iq/?sh=20716acd2f5b)

Regular marijuana use is also correlated with mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, and loss of motivation and concentration.

Please, Bahamians, I hope you reconsider this policy. Legalizing marijuana may sound like a smart economic policy, but it would have a radical negative impact on Bahamian society and on the economy as well.

— Jim Greenfield

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