Day's marijuana legalization editorial was correct
As a brain physician (psychiatrist) for over 42 years, the only difference of opinion I had with The Day’s April 15 editorial − “A prudent step toward marijuana legalization” − was its sentence about a “strong argument can be made that alcohol is far more dangerous.” I might have said ”an overwhelmingly powerful argument.”
That is a trivial difference and the rest of the editorial is on target. Alcohol contributes to the deaths of 80,000 to 100,000 Americans via car accidents, murder, suicide, and many diseases, especially of the liver, but also pancreas, kidneys, and the brain. Alcohol worsens depression, increases resistance to depression’s treatment, and shrinks the testicles. I’ve never heard of a murder occurring or a fight breaking out among marijuana users. They usually get more quiet and passive. That’s obviously vastly different with alcohol.
As recent history and the experiment with Prohibition show, marijuana use will continue. As an intern in 1972, I asked a former San Quentin inmate what drugs he could get there. His answer: “any ones you wanted.” If drug use couldn’t be controlled there, it will not be eliminated in open society.
A key point in the editorial that was ignored in the opposing op-ed − “Retract editorial that backed pot legalization” − was that legalization would decrease the chance of adulterated drugs. (It has always seemed a curious business model for drug pushers to overdose customers with fentanyl, but they do.)
The end of the editorial noted the “nonsensical policy” of placing marijuana in the same category (schedule 1) as heroin. That was done by President Richard Nixon, who ignored the recommendations of his own drug commission that he had stacked with antidrug personnel because he was opposed to racial minorities, hippies, and those who were opposing him on the Vietnam War.
Turning to the opposing