Letters to the Editor

Angst over marijuana on Vashon is hypocritical

I find the hand-wringing over growing marijuana on Vashon pathetically hypocritical or, at best, terribly misinformed. We welcome wineries, beer breweries and a distillery with front-page celebrations, despite the fact that alcohol causes carnage on our highways, lingering deaths due to liver failure and untold numbers of domestic violence incidents. Have you ever heard of someone getting high and beating up their spouse? Ever heard of a high schooler dying of a pot overdose at a party?

Consider these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. Annual deaths due to tobacco consumption: 443,000. Annual deaths attributed to alcohol consumption: 80,000. Annual deaths attributed to overdose of legal pharmaceutical products: 22,000. Annual deaths due to marijuana consumption: Zero. Yes, that’s right. Zero. In 2010, there were 10,228 highway deaths attributed to alcohol, one-third of the total. Marijuana? Zero.

As for the fears of violent crime associated with legal marijuana growing? Or the fears of increasing marijuana consumption among teens? I found no solid evidence to support either fear, and the supposed impact of the unsupported allegations fail to even remotely approach the real-world carnage inflicted by alcohol. If you have research-based evidence to refute what I’ve shown here, show us. I’ve been looking for five years; maybe I missed something. To me, the conclusion is devastatingly simple: We should welcome pot growers to our island with the same level of interest, curiosity and concern as we would welcome anyone from any industry. (Full disclosure: I’ve tried pot. I don’t like it.)

— Mark Nassutti


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