Letter to the Editor: The time has come for recreational cannabis

I attended the Smyrna Town Hall meeting on Jan. 30 and asked our governor about the potential for legalization/regulation of cannabis in the First State. What I heard in response, though, left me with cold.

He seemed to ignore any financial benefits of a well-designed program that could bring much-needed funds into Delaware, despite the fact that finances, both the lack and the use thereof, seemed to be the spearhead of the governor’s opening remarks and played a great part in answering many of the other questions he was asked.

According to the Delaware Office of the Controller General, expected tax revenue could be up to $50,000,000 annually if the current administration were to regulate and tax cannabis.

Gov. Carney said that he wanted to “take it slow.” In the meantime, however, states all around ours are moving forward and reaping the financial rewards.

I was also dismayed that the governor seemed to believe that there is some connection between cannabis and the hard drug epidemic hurting communities everywhere, despite the fact that no statistics support that position. The “gateway drug” theory has been debunked long ago. In fact, research is now showing that cannabis has the potential to act as an ameliorating agent for those trying to stay off heroin and other narcotics.

One quotation from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept 2018 , is: “There is also nascent evidence that suggests that cannabis may be an efficacious tool during the acute opioid withdrawal period. Numerous pre-clinical studies have shown that cannabis and cannabinoids decrease opioid withdrawal symptoms.”

The third issue I heard to which I object is that of a comparison to tobacco. The governor seemed to imply that since we allow one bad substance to be sold, we should not allow another. I’d counter that argument with because we allow tobacco, we should no longer prohibit a substance that has certainly been shown throughout history to be no worse. Additionally, tobacco and its main ingredient, the poison nicotine, are only inhaled, but cannabis can be vaporized or taken orally as well.

I hope, based on factual information and the experiences of states throughout the country, as well as the opinion of the majority of Delawareans, that this administration would be in the second wave of states to see the right way forward in terms of cannabis legislation.

Paul Moliken

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