Editor:
I have been watching the movement to approve the use of recreational marijuana and am appalled that our legislators are going down this path.
I have spent the last 50-plus years as a teacher, coach, school principal and superintendent. I am currently a regent at Eastern New Mexico University.
As a result of these experiences, I have a point of view that I have not yet heard discussed.
During my career in education, I have worked with more than 100,000 students, helping them through difficult times through counseling and the disciplinary process. I can say through first-hand experience that approving recreational marijuana will bring extreme harm to a tremendous number of our youth.
I understand the bills being introduced authorize use only for those 21 and above, but to think that this will not open the gates for a tremendous increase among those younger than 21 is sheer idiocy. Students as young as 12 years currently are able to access this drug even though it is difficult and illegal.
Once it becomes more readily available, the flood gates will open and the results will be catastrophic for many more youngsters! We all know, if we are honest, that if older brother has legal access, then younger brother also has access.
I have seen too many kids get caught up in drugs, beginning with the casual use of marijuana. Good kids suddenly start changing.
Grades drop, attitudes change, dropouts increase, behavior changes, disciplinary problems and auto accidents increase. Before long, good kids become troublemakers, lost or floundering.
Potentially productive members of our society become druggies, criminals or just dredges of our society. I have seen too many promising lives lost this way.
Not every kid that smokes marijuana goes down this same path, but it happens far too often. Why are we so anxious to bring such potential harm to so many of our youngsters?
Money? Are we really willing to sell the health and well-being of so many of our youngsters for greenbacks?
Throughout this pandemic, I kept hearing that if we can save a single life through a regulation, it would be worth it. Well, authorizing the use of recreational marijuana will, without a doubt, lead to the loss of many lives, particularly among our youth — if not through actual death, then through the loss of productive, contributing assets.
Let’s save our kids; say “no” to recreational marijuana!
Dan Patterson
Sandia Park

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