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We need the whole truth on State Question 788

Before voters cast ballots on State Question 788 on the greater availability of smokable marijuana, more health-related information is needed to make an intelligent decision. 

Oklahomans are constantly beat over the head for being an unhealthy populace because of smoking, drinking and other lifestyle issues. What would passage of the state question mean? 

Some say early onset schizophrenia among long-time users is a real possibility. How much can we expect marijuana smoking to grow among today’s non-users. Just how bad or good is marijuana compared to tobacco use and alcohol consumption?

Many people drink socially, but are not alcoholics. Can marijuana smokers not become addicted? We all have heard of fetal alcohol syndrome and birth defects. Are there similar danger for babies whose parents smoked marijuana? Are children born who are addicted to marijuana as they are to street drugs? Are taxpayers responsible to treat the addiction?

The interest in part relates to a recent story about infant mortality in our state. A Sunday Oklahoman article — written to encourage healthy habits prior to pregnancy — reported that the national infant mortality rate average is 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, while the Oklahoma average is 7.7 per 1,000. Habits such as smoking, drinking, obesity, prescription drug misuse and lack of insurance were among the reasons for being above the national average.

For instance, Oklahoma was 29th at 12.2 percent in tobacco use during pregnancy, while the national statistic was 7.8 percent. That amount could be curtailed when the new $1.50 per pack cigarette tax goes into effect July 1.

Because there are no rules, regulations and guidelines for medical marijuana use, it is unknown how it will be sold and for what price and where. Of course, with the right credentials, people can grow their own. Opponents call authorization a “permission” slip.

So what are the overall health effects on marijuana use? Is there any information out of Colorado or other state that might be helpful? 

Voters really need to know the whole truth about S.Q. 788. Will passage and implementation make us a more healthy populace?

— The Lawton Constitution

The Lawton Constitution

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