Letters To The Editor

                                  Speak out in opposition to the legalization of marihuana

June 14, 2018
    Madam Editor:
    As a retired Illinois Bureau of Investigation undercover narcotic special agent and a retired Illinois State Police Captain, I believe legalization of marihuana will be a most destructive action and the immediate and long-term results will negatively affect most citizens of our state, with the greatest effect being on our young and impressive children.  Based on my observations while working undercover I know marihuana is a gateway to other illegal and deadly drugs.  It was always present or available at all locations where I purchased drugs and I am aware that the talk of the past few years have made it a readily available drug in all communities, schools, etc.  If legalization happens “pot” parties will occur and I know other drugs will be available at this time, as all are getting “high.”  We all know of the vast list of drugs currently available in our communities and with the acceptance/legalization of marihuana these drugs will be even more acceptable, as they will always be the next step for our children, who unfortunately may make a bad decision with lifetime repercussions.        
    Legalization of marihuana will primarily provide a new source of tax revenue, mainly for our “so called” powerful political leaders, so they will have more money to spend, as we so often see in Illinois.  Additionally, after legalization how will it play if the state decides to legalize other individual drugs and/or ALL drugs, as the Libertarian Party has stated is its desire.   
    Marihuana has recently been refined and is now extremely potent compared to what it was a few years ago.  In the past it was used in a traditional manner, but it is now baked into cookies, cakes, brownies, jellies and many other products, including three (3) beers currently being infused with it.  I believe Mothers Against Drunk Driving and several other like organizations will strongly oppose the legalization as it will lead to needless deaths due to intoxicated driving, which can be difficult to detect.  Additionally, I don’t believe any state currently tests the drug being sold as a recreational drug and all fail to set standards for quality and potency of the drug being purchased.  Additionally, influential subjects with money pushing legalization will be the only ones to significantly benefit financially if the drug is legalized; not the citizens of Illinois, regardless of what is promised by the politicians.  REMEMBER THE LICENSING OF GAMBLING DEBACLE?? 
    The effects of marihuana are well known and while some may use it for an infrequent high, many will become addicted to it and will be attempting to work, if they are so inclined while "high."  This will likely lead to a lower level of productivity and an increase in work related injuries.  Many users will drop out, as we have all seen true "pot heads/stoners" who are "mellowed out" and prefer to sleep, hang out, and show no signs or motivation or even wanting to improve their life position or style.  The greatest tragedy of all if marihuana is legalized will be the physical and psychological effects, which will mirror the devastating effects of alcohol on grade school, high school, and college students in educational achievements, driving incidents, personal relationships, employment matters, etc.  Of course, just like alcohol, marihuana will be purchased and provided to underage children in the above groups by parents or peers.  Additionally, an underground of black market sellers will be present, like in Colorado, where the users can purchase marihuana in an illegal manner from subjects selling Mexican marihuana received from the Mexican drug cartels on the streets, but at greatly reduced cost.  Therefore, the states will still be required to have some type of law enforcement seeking these sellers, as the state will not want to miss out on their all-important tax revenues! 
    Do we really need another substance, with a very similar effect to alcohol, but which can be laced with other products, including deadly and extremely addicting products, prepared and packaged in many ways for sale?  This will undoubtedly lead many to greater drug addictions and the destruction of family units. 
    If marihuana is legalized we all know it will be permanent and never terminated.  I believe the impact of this drug being legalized without greater research could set back our society on a permanent basis. 
    Additionally, medical marihuana should never have been authorized by the state.  While I strongly support research into the development of medical products from marihuana and making it available in any form necessary to help the incapacitated, it should be produced and prepared only by the pharmaceutical manufacturers in our country.  Actually, cannabis (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is currently available with a doctor’s prescription and is currently purchased in a pharmacy in a controlled and documented manner.  This method allows for the current dispensing of the available drug and would in the future provide for any form of the drug, which would be produced in varying potencies and detailed documentation would be completed by the pharmacy.  The state will still be able to tax the drug prescription in any manner they want to support their collection of tax revenues.  This will take care of all medical needs by individuals and will provide control and revenue for the state, while protecting the children of the state. 
    I urge all parents, school administrators, law enforcement commanders and all others opposed to the legalization of marihuana to speak out in opposition to this happening. 
    Sincerely,
    William R. Barrett
    Breese


                                                     Predators must be exposed

    In the wake of the shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report which revealed that 301 priests sexually abused more than a thousand children, Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that her office would investigate Catholic dioceses in Illinois in pursuit of "a complete and accurate accounting of all sexually inappropriate behavior involving priests in Illinois."
    We applaud this decision and her desire for truth, transparency, and accountability. Justice must be pursued.
    We also want to encourage the attorney general not to stop there. Prior to the Pennsylvania revelation, the Chicago Tribune published a deeply disturbing report exposing similar abuses of our children in Chicago public schools. This report revealed that more than 520 cases of juvenile sexual assault took place in Chicago's public schools over the past 10 years. That is an average of one per week. 
    How many cases were prosecuted? Which cases were covered up and by whom? How many predators are still working in our schools and have access to our students? How many cases were not reported?
    If the Pennsylvania scandal is the catalyst for an investigation in Illinois—and we agree that it should be—shouldn’t the Chicago Tribune exposé be the impetus for an investigation of all school districts in Illinois going back further than a decade?
    Years of concealing crimes, ignoring victims and protecting abusers isn't unique to one institution. All crimes against children demand a full accounting. Predators must be exposed, prosecuted and removed from positions of power that provide access to minors.
    David E. Smith
    Executive Director
    llinois Family Institute

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