Pubdate: Tue, 12 Nov 2002
Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
Copyright: 2002 The Traverse City Record-Eagle
Author: John H. Vanderlind


On the front page of the Nov. 8 paper two articles appeared about law
enforcement officers using drugs.

Thomas Gilbert was seen among friends at a concert taking a drag on a
marijuana joint; the chief of police of neighboring Mancelona was accused of
pushing a fellow officer around after drinking alcohol. On the face of these
two reports, which is more harmful. I submit the legal use of alcohol leads
to more problems than does recreational use of marijuana. A drunk driver
killed my son Edward, along with two of his classmates.

I supported Judge Gilbert in his election to the bench and if he runs again,
I will vote for him. Our laws about marijuana and alcohol are hypocritical.
I submit there are more dangers associated with alcohol than with marijuana.
I submit that innocent bystanders are injured far more as a result of
others' consumption of alcohol than is true with marijuana. The argument
that legalizing marijuana will lead people to addiction is always proven by
reverse logic, to wit: current addicts all started by using marijuana. By
this logic people may conclude that all smokers of marijuana go on the other
drugs. That is clearly not the case.

I do not smoke marijuana but over the course of my 50-year career in mental
health work I have known many people who have used marijuana recreationally
and the effect has been minimal. Not one went on to harder drugs.

John H. Vanderlind

Traverse City
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