Letter to the editor: Legalization provides protections

To the Editor:

Ms. Goldthwait believes that cannabis’ lack of harm justifies her position that the substance should not be legalized (“State of Maine: State should rethink marijuana and vaping,” January 16). But just the opposite is true.

It is precisely because cannabis may pose potential risks to certain consumers, or when it is consumed in specific situations, that society should regulate it accordingly.

Marijuana prohibition drives markets underground and abdicates control of these markets to those who typically operate outside the boundaries of law. By contrast, legalization allows for lawmakers and regulators to establish legal parameters regarding where, when, and how an adult cannabis market may operate. Legalization also provides oversight regarding who may legally operate in said markets and provides guidelines and transparency so that those who do can engage in best practices.

Instead of reflexively opposing Maine’s ongoing cannabis regulation efforts, Ms. Goldthwait should welcome the opportunity to bring necessary and long overdue controls to the cannabis market. The establishment of a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults but restricts and discourages its use among young people — coupled with a legal environment that fosters open, honest dialogue between parents and children about cannabis’ potential harms — best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s use or abuse. By contrast, advocating for a return to marijuana’s criminalization only compounds them.

Paul Armentano

Washington, D.C.

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