South Dakota voters will cast ballots Tuesday whether to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. We urge a No vote.
People's perception of recreational marijuana vary widely. Some people think it means marijuana for medical use (Initiated Measure 26 deals with that). Or they think it's just an occasional joint in the privacy of one's home, where no harm is done. Movies sometimes portray funny antics around smoking pot. Remember Cheech and Chong?
Those perceptions aren't accurate. Here's some realities that should convince us to reject the Constitutional Amendment:
Marijuana is dangerous to health - The South Dakota Medical Association Association points out its effects: impaired memory, alteration in muscle control, judgment and reaction time. It damages lung function and can cause brain atrophy.
More car accidents - Surveys show that regular marijuana users believe that pot doesn't effect their driving, and will drive high.
Harm to companies - The National Institute on Drug Abuse states with legalized marijuana have much higher rates of industrial accidents and higher absenteeism.
Causes of other crime - Those who have attended court hearings at the Lake County Courthouse have seen that many other crimes -- including domestic abuse -- are usually associated with drug use.
Marijuana is not a harmless drug. It hurts the user, and perhaps worse, hurts innocent people around users. For those who have yet to vote, we ask they vote No on Amendment A.
-- Jon M. Hunter