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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Marijuana sales will benefit Delta's economy

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Dear Editor:

While I don't live in the City of Delta, I am a resident of Delta County with a deep ongoing interest in our local economy.

According to state law, marijuana is already legal to use within our communities. Anyone who wants marijuana within Delta County is already able to legally obtain or grow it. And many of your friends, neighbors and constituents are already using it for a variety of reasons. If given a choice, many of the residents of Delta County would certainly rather spend their money locally to purchase marijuana from a legal and regulated dispensary, than make a round trip of approximately two hours to spend the money elsewhere. Imagine what this money might do if it were kept in our local economy.

To say that legalizing marijuana in Delta will somehow increase its use, or its abuse by minors, has no reference to fact. Statistically, marijuana use has declined among teenagers since it was legalized in Colorado (thedenverchannel.com, www.samhsa.gov). And in my opinion, anyone who is providing marijuana to minors should be prosecuted, just as is done with alcohol.

A scare tactic often forwarded by opponents is that marijuana is some sort of gateway to stronger drugs. Although that's been a popular talking point, it is also largely unsubstantiated. In fact, America is beginning to realize that one of the most significant gateways to illegal drugs is by doctors over prescribing, and by promotion of pain killers from pharmaceutical companies (cnn.com). There are even recent statistics that suggest marijuana has led to lower dependence on opioids where it's been legalized. And that marijuana might lead to a large overall savings in Medicaid prescriptions of much stronger pain killers. I think it's possible that with the legalization of marijuana our local emergency services could even see a reduction in addiction and crime related incidents (forbes.com).

It was mentioned at a City of Delta work session a few weeks ago that, judging by the tax revenue, the several liquor stores in town seem to be doing very well. Yet alcohol can be linked to far higher incidents of violent crime than you'd ever be able to pin to marijuana use. By some estimates, alcohol is a factor in 40 percent of all violent crime in the U.S. (washingtonpost.com). Yet regardless of those alcohol related crime statistics, published in the police blotters every month as DWIs or domestic violence, alcohol remains legal with little objection.

Given all of the reasons from opposition for cannabis to remain illegal in the City of Delta, I can only answer with one response. If this fails, absolutely nothing changes. The cannabis will still be here, but the communitywide benefits will go to other communities who were smart enough to take advantage of the economic opportunity.

Please vote YES on 2E, 2F, 2G and 2H.

Scott Thomassen
Orchard City

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