Letter: Balentine's argument goes up in smoke

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John Balentine’s recent column in opposition to marijuana legalization is so ridiculous that it’s hard to believe he wasn’t high himself when he wrote it.

Balentine presents no scientific evidence that suggests marijuana legalization has a negative impact on society. Yet, despite this lack, he supports the strengthening of federal authority to enforce archaic drug laws, likening the legalization of marijuana in places like Maine to slavery (?!) and Jim Crow in the ante and post-bellum South. Even momentarily putting aside the absurdity of the comparison, Balentine would do well to acquaint himself with the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which clearly stipulates that “all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This means, yes, those same people who, by a clear majority, recently voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana use.

But the crown jewel of Balentine’s article must be the anecdote that follows, a story about how his friend got bit by a rattlesnake while hiking. The only man around to drive them to a hospital was drunk, so we are left with some vague message about the importance of “sobriety.” The anecdote has absolutely nothing to do with marijuana; it sounds more like a cautionary tale about not going hiking in rattlesnake infested areas. And it also leaves us wondering, why didn’t Balentine himself just drive the truck?

Skye Priestley
Portland 

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