Letter to the Editor - 2-15-24

Cannabis sales are not worth the risk

The Amenia Town Board is considering the authorization of a recreational cannabis dispensary in the Town.

While cannabis may be considered useful for some medical purposes, the recreational use of cannabis has not been demonstrated to be safe, and while the recreational use of cannabis by persons 21 years and older has been deemed lawful by the NYS government, that does not make it a right or good thing for small towns like Amenia to be aiding in its distribution.

Inevitably, cannabis may become accessible to persons younger than 21, whose brains are still developing and for whom it potentially has severe and harmful effects. In short, Science is not on the side of cannabis.

There is substantial and growing evidence from governmental and private studies that the use of cannabis can cause a variety of long-term and possibly permanent adverse effects on the brain, including problems with learning, memory and judgment, cognitive impairment generally, emotional control and psychosis involving violent psychotic behavior.

To repeat, for those who care about such things, Science is not on the side of cannabis, despite what Albany may think. Will everyone who uses cannabis suffer these damaging consequences? Probably not, but some people, particularly younger persons, will.

To make a decision about a cannabis dispensary based solely on the possibility that it may bring some revenue into the town is irresponsible and morally bankrupt. Is having a cannabis dispensary in the Town of Amenia worth the risk that the brains of some of our youth may be damaged as a result?

I think not, clearly not.

Margaret O’Brien

Amenia Union

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