On March 9, 2016

Legalizing pot to finance the battle against opiates?

Dear Editor,

The article “Senate OK’s marijuana legalization bill” by Elizabeth Hewitt and Mark Johnson in the March 2-8 edition of The Mountain Times certainly grabbed my attention!

With full disclosure, I admit (and apologize) today for having been a part of that late ‘60s college “culture” that probably began this snow-balling predicament. The slogan “Tune-in, Turn-on and Drop-out” had a catchy ring to it (then).

Today, I hear only the potentially addictive ring and worry. A 35-year career working as a licensed psychologist with emotionally and behaviorally challenged children creates a much more “sober” perspective. The idea that legalizing marijuana could somehow help finance the battle against opiates is like giving Ouroboros (Greek for ‘tail devourer,’ an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail) another length of his own tail to consume.

Let’s not kid ourselves: this is just a rationalization. Such a maneuver is at best a slippery slope. The downside risk is simply not worth it and it does communicate a double-standard, which will lead to even more rationalizing among users.

If we know that we have an opiate crisis, then call it for what it is and fund it accordingly.

Rather than “taking the easy way out” the “best cures” will always involve some degree of work. When I speak to kids and adults these days, I stress heart-healthy activities, telling them: “If you get yourself hooked on endorphins, you won’t need to spend money talking to a guy like me!”

Today, the ‘60s culture is a distant memory. Instead, you are more likely to find me running up the Killington Access Road early in the morning, all year round in all kinds of weather.

If you happen to be up at K-1 around 7:30 a.m. say “hi” to the old man. In the meantime, please urge folks NOT to take this step.

Stephen O. Jambor, Ph.D., Brandon

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