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TV already glorifies alcohol, tobacco; don’t celebrate pot too

Frequent alcohol use in “Mad Men” has evolved to include marijuana.

Associated Press/AMC

Frequent alcohol use in “Mad Men” has evolved to include marijuana.

The Globe’s article about marijuana and the media falls short on the truth about marijuana in America (“Puffs just part of the performance; Casual marijuana use becomes common on TV,” Page A1, June 18). We have a tough enough time dealing with media messages glorifying alcohol and tobacco. These two drugs already cost American taxpayers 10 times more in social costs than they return in tax revenues. Do we want to add marijuana as another public health headache that’ll afflict our young and impoverished most acutely?

The truth is that marijuana is addictive, has mental and physical health consequences, and puts more kids in treatment than any other drug. Legalizing marijuana would create another public health crisis. While the predatory pot industry’s profits will skyrocket (as big tobacco takes over the production and distribution), the American public will become quickly burdened with the enormous economic fallout.

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For sound public health and for the health of our economy, keeping marijuana relatively rare is the best policy. Currently, although far fewer people smoke marijuana than cigarettes or drink alcohol, marijuana is an increasingly expensive problem. In Massachusetts alone, there are four recovery high schools filled with kids recovering from pot addiction, and two more are slated to open soon. Normalizing marijuana in the media is the last thing our Commonwealth needs.

Heidi Heilman

Jody Hensley

Coordinators, Smart Approaches to Marijuana Massachusetts

Westborough

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