My Turn: Randal Edgar: Consider children before legalizing pot
There are reports out of Massachusetts that the onset of legalized marijuana is pitting neighbor against neighbor, as smoke from those who partake in their apartments and condominiums makes its way to those who don’t.
Here we have one of those pesky dilemmas that sometimes come with trying something new, and it seems in this case that something might have to be done.
But I wonder if the real battle in the pot sweepstakes is not neighbor against neighbor but something more like adults versus children, or indulgence versus the interests of the young.
I know that the evidence around legalization and its effect on adolescents is mixed. In some cases, it suggests that legalization has had no impact, or has even been accompanied by less use. In others, it suggests greater use by the young.
What this means is that we really don’t know, and this is just one of many questions swirling around the debate about legalizing pot for recreational purposes. In Massachusetts, of course, it is legal. In Rhode Island, supporters have again introduced legislation to legalize it, though a vote does not appear likely this year.
Advocates claim many positives with legalization, saying it ends senseless arrests, undercuts the black market, allows for regulation and encourages new pot-related businesses, providing a new source of tax revenue. Opponents argue that it has little impact on the black market, does lead to increased use, leads more people to drive under the influence, and hurts young people, who are bound to get their hands on it if it’s more widely available.
There’s also the second-hand-smoke issue, as people enjoy, or indulge in, an activity that is now legal in some places. Again, the research is inconclusive, but the early betting is that second-hand pot smoke carries the same sorts of dangers