Let’s change the name of our state to Las Vegas Rhode Island.
We have two casinos, and now sports betting at the casinos as well as online. This will increase gambling addiction and family problems, in my opinion. Young adults from 18 to early 20s who do not want to be seen in casinos because of personal reasons can now have the ability to gamble online, which could cause addiction and serious monetary problems – and that could lead to stealing to pay off what they have lost. It could also lead to serious depression and family issues.
Look at Columbia University Medical Center’s research on gambling, which indicates that teenagers make up half of the nation’s 16 million people with a gambling addiction.
Legalizing recreational marijuana is another serious mistake. Being in law enforcement for 28 years, I know that marijuana is a gateway drug for many. Some drug addicts told me over the years that their addiction started with marijuana before they moved on to other addictive drugs. We know that the big problem today is fentanyl, which is an opioid that kills several people when mixed with heroin or just taken orally.
Also, the proposal to purchase marijuana is that a person must be 21 years of age. How do we stop that individual with sharing marijuana with his friends that are 20, 19, 18, 17 or even younger?
The other issue is drug dealers will sell the marijuana for less that the stores will sell it for. In November 2017, the Colorado Springs Gazette’s editorial board wrote that on the five-year anniversary of its state legalizing recreational marijuana, the move had become an “embarrassing cautionary tale.” The board points to a high rate of homelessness, more roadway fatalities involving the drug and more marijuana making its way into schools.
So why would Rhode Island legalize recreational marijuana? I’ll tell you why. It is all about money.
There are some legislators I believe will benefit from legal marijuana. Let’s look at one of the legislators, Sen. Josh Miller from Cranston, a businessman who introduced the bill to legalize recreational marijuana. He owns the Trinity Brewhouse Restaurant in Providence. Will he be selling marijuana there? How many friends of some politicians are looking for the big payday by either selling marijuana in a retail establishment or as a distributor of pot?
What is wrong with the legislators that are supporting legalized marijuana? Doesn’t the experience of Colorado say enough to make the pitfalls clear? Or are they more interested in money than the damage the proposal would cause to families, and especially children?
Please vote this legislation down.
The author is a resident of Cranston and a retired chief of the Cranston Police Department.