Accompanied by HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams issues an advisory emphasizing the importance of protecting youth and pregnant women from the health risks of marijuana use.

Congress has called for a vote on H.R. 3884, which involves the legalization of Marijuana.  I have written to all of Connecticut’s Congressional representatives, strongly urging them to reject this legislation.  I cannot believe that Congress would consider this legislation, especially at a time when our country is burning and there is destruction and violence nationwide.

Consider all the scientific and medical research on the effects associated with marijuana use, such as:

  • 100% increase in motor vehicle deaths
  • 40% to 50% increase in hospital visits
  • 40% to 50% increase in mental health diagnoses (it has its own treatment designation,“Marijuana Psychosis”)
  • Increase in school dropout rates
  • Increase in young adults with serious mental illness
  • Increase in marijuana violence
  • Increase in workplace accidents and usage

The CDC issued a marijuana public health warning in 2018.  VADM Jerome Adams, the Surgeon General, issued a marijuana health risk warning in February 2020. Both the United Nations and the World Health Organization have issued warnings on marijuana. I also recommend reading “Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence” (Alex Berenson); this book will shock you.

Employers –in states that have legalized marijuana and in states that have not legalized marijuana – are having a hard time finding new hires who are able to pass drug tests. The economic damage this legislation will cause this country – added to the damage caused by the COVID pandemic – will be devastating.

H.R. 3884 offers more assistance to the marijuana growing and retail businesses than what was offered to other small businesses that have suffered during the pandemic. I have watched many small businesses in my community close due to the pandemic; whatever assistance Congress offered never got to them. However, businesses in the United States that are owned by China and other countries did get pandemic money. Good job, Congress! If H.R. 3884 passes, businesses that sell marijuana – and destroy our economy and the population’s health in the process – will get federal assistance. That is simply illogical!

Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute examined the effect of legalized marijuana in the state of Colorado. Its report, released in November 2018, shows that, for every dollar in tax revenue received, Coloradans spent approximately $4.50 to mitigate the effects of legalization. In fact, Jeff Hunt, CCU’s vice president of public policy and the Centennial Institute’s director, issued a statement which says that figure is low: “Like tobacco, commercial marijuana is likely to have health consequences that we won’t be able to determine for decades. Those costs are not configured in the report… the economic and social costs in this report are intentionally low and the comprehensive costs are likely much higher.”

In the past three years, 70,000 lives per year have been lost to opiate addiction, and there are medical studies directly linking marijuana to opiate addiction. Is Congress really going to take up this issue, despite all of the medical and anecdotal evidence that marijuana is destructive?

The H.R. 3884 bill also establishes a process to expunge marijuana convictions; this is another slap in the face to the criminal justice system and an attempt to remove/rewrite history. It would also impose a 5% tax on marijuana products; make Small Business Administration loans/services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers; and prohibit the denial of benefits/protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event.

Cities are burning due to antifa and Black Lives Matter-related rioting, the rule of law is being suspended by prosecuting attorneys in various jurisdictions – and Congress is taking up legalizing marijuana!

What a Congressional disconnect with what is happening to our country, and disregard for human life and law and order, this represents. Really, what the heck is going in Congress?

A recent podcast on Politico  suggested that House Democrats have called the vote for political reasons: to get themselves re-elected and to attempt to gain a majority in the Senate, as well.

I have most of the marijuana studies referenced above, along with all impact statements issued by those states that have legalized marijuana – all of which are similarly reporting the problems that I have described.

Interestingly, the recently passed Connecticut Police Accountability Act (Section 3, paragraph 10) mandates that all police officers submit to a urinalysis drug test that screens for controlled substances of drugs…  “the result of which indicated no presence of any controlled substance not prescribed for the officer.”   Yet the governor and legislative Democrats have been, and are, pushing to legalize marijuana in Connecticut.  What hypocrisy!  What about the same standard of drug testing for teachers, physicians, firefighters, truck and bus drivers, college professors, elected politicians? They all affect our lives, and what they do has consequences.

William E. Butka is Editor in chief of “The Coalition” magazine and past president of the Connecticut Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association.

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