Manatee County, Bradenton law enforcement leaders wrong on marijuana impacts

October 8, 2013 

It was encouraging to read about the drop in deaths from drug abuse in Florida in the Herald a week or so ago. What was irritating was to read the opinions of two leaders of local law enforcement who were commenting on a subject (marijuana legalization) which was neither pertinent to the article nor in the least bit factual or grounded in reality.

Marijuana is a far safer drug than the majority of "legal" drugs: one only has to examine the list of deaths that were caused by drugs to see that marijuana caused not one single death in Florida last year, as it is a physical impossibility to die from an overdose of marijuana.

It was highly irresponsible for the two leaders of local law enforcement to make opinion-based comments that are in fact dead wrong.

Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski made the vague assertion that is often employed by opponents of marijuana legalization -- that legalization would somehow mysteriously bring "drugs and other crime" -- when common sense would tell you that crime would be reduced, as what was a "criminal" act before (possessing or consuming marijuana) would now be legal, just as a far more deadly drug, alcohol, is at present.

Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube makes the blatantly false claim that smoking marijuana leads to birth defects. That statement is patently false; there is not one shred of scientific evidence, not one study that has been done that backs up this fallacious claim, and Mr. Steube is either ignorant or being purposefully disingenuous.

These two officials would most likely do better to concentrate their efforts on law enforcement as opposed to spreading falsehoods regarding issues they are obviously uninformed about.

Joseph Phelps



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