by Lisa Tome
If you want to see the impact of legalizing marijuana, just look at Colorado.
That's what Police Chief Chip Peterson and Steps Recovery Resources founder April Foster told members of the Rising Sun Lions Club last week. The chief and foster were invited to the Lions Club to discuss this issue and teach the members what they can do.
The chief explained that the legalization of recreational marijuana is still under consideration in Maryland. As a comparison, he showed a 1994 tobacco hearing where representatives from the seven largest tobacco companies stated that nicotine isn't addictive.
He also outlined the steps the state has taken towards legalizing it. "In 2014 Maryland decriminalized marijuana (meaning that people can legally possess less than 10 grams.) In 2015, they made it so people can possess marijuana and a smoking device," said Chief Peterson.
He then explained how marijuana has changed over the years. In 1984, the THC level (active ingredients) was 4.1 percent. Now, it's 36 percent," said Peterson. He explained how dangerous that is.
He then showed the impact in Colorado. Due to lack of regulation of the number of dispensaries, in Colorado, there are more now than there are McDonald's and Starbucks combined. There's one place to buy pot per 47 people. "There is no oversight of where their marijuana comes from. It contains fungi and chemicals," explained Peterson.
Foster talked about addiction and marijuana's role as a gateway drug. "Sometimes I'm the only person who has hope for them," said Foster. Locally, by the time they reach their last year of high school, more than 40 percent of teens have tried marijuana. The chief encouraged people to oppose the legalization of marijuana in Maryland. He and Foster also discussed the nine overdose deaths in Cecil County in January.
"Drugs are the root of crime," said Peterson, in response to a question from a Lions member.
"Our criminal justice system needs work," said Peterson. "We are in a unique position right now. We don't have a state's attorney. Make phone calls and tell them you want strong legal representation."
He and Foster also urged residents to contact their legislators and tell them not to legalize marijuana.