Opinion Columns & Blogs

In the rush to legalize marijuana, we are harming our citizens and our nation

Daniel W. Gatlyn
Daniel W. Gatlyn

A cross section of professionals in the medical, judicial and psychiatric fields are having second thoughts on the abstract rationale of marijuana legalization. There existed humanists with a caring and compassionate consideration for many individuals who suffered from various maladies, conditions which could find some relief through the effects of marijuana. The push came, with the eventual approval of “medical marijuana use” — followed by the almost instant approval of the same for “recreational use.” There is no debate! Marijuana is a mind altering substance. These same professionals have now been faced with a sharp increase in violent crimes in the first four states to legalize pot. The sale of marijuana and extended ingredients has now become a multibillion dollar business, with the result being ghastly injurious to millions.

What has invaded our populace with crime, afflictions and addictions has been well known to those who are motivated toward a sensible and moral existence of the human race — people who are not surprised at the current dilemma with which we are faced. Having worked with multiple groups and organizations for years that battled drug abuse and addiction, I am extremely aware of the dangers imposed. From alcohol to heroin, the deficit in conduct is apparent and horrendous. It is even worse when financial profit enters the equation. And it all becomes very complicated when the use of pharmaceuticals are combined. The listless child on Ritalin is heartbreaking!

Having served as a local pastor adjacent to Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, (when several thousand patients were housed in past years), I was more than disconcerted by scenes of innumerable persons of “zombie appearance.” Conditions were ripe for indiscreet utilization of a wide variety of a (supposedly) controlled substance. It is no secret that the physical and mental state of an individual can be greatly changed with uppers, downers and the like. And when such is administered (legally or illegally); pain (and symptoms) will disappear. Hence the accepted use for medical purposes. The simple drugs can lead to the more powerful ones.

To those saddled with medical problems, or that of establishing a flow of revenue, the idea of legal marijuana, especially as it pertains to recreational use, sounds extremely productive. Take it to the bank: The reversals we are reaping in crime, twisted mind and lifeless bodies are the cost we are now facing. I have performed last rites for many who thought it fun or cute, or were caught up in addictions they could not shake. What do you really say, as the last notes are sounded?

Daniel W. Gatlyn is a retired U.S. Navy veteran who lives in Macon.