Legalize Pot, Why?

By Lloyd Graff

The big push is on all over the country to legalize recreational marijuana. My gut reaction is that I am appalled, but I’ve been reading up on the topic to see if I am just an old fuddy-duddy teetotaler or if there is a good reason to oppose and fear it. It also has real ramifications in the machining industry with hiring decisions. Will drug testing for cannabis become obsolete or forbidden?

Since Canada has legalized the sale of marijuana, as have states like Washington and Colorado, pot has become hot. Canadian pot companies like Tilray have gone public and their value has gone up tenfold in a matter of months. Tobacco companies, beer and wine behemoths, and investors like Peter Thiel, who made billions on Facebook, have bet big on Canadian cannabis. Politicians and lobbyists in every state have joined the frenzy to rack up loot on pot.

If you are an agnostic speculator it may be a dream come true.  If you’ve made your fortune on booze or cigarettes why not get in early on a potential legal addiction play? But if you aren’t in the addiction business why should we make it easy for my 13-year-old granddaughter to vape, or to snack on cannabis brownies after school?

In recent days, writer Malcolm Gladwell and former Wall Street Journal reporter Alex Berenson, now a successful mystery writer, have come out with prominent pieces discussing the dangers of marijuana usage.  Both men sound the alarm about the relationship between pot usage and violent behavior.

The statistics in Washington State, Finland, and Denmark definitely point to an increase in reported murders and other violent crimes after the drug was legalized. Is murder unequivocally associated with legalization? No, but analytics point in that direction. The published literature appears to show a distinct relationship between increased instances of schizophrenic and bipolar people acting out violently after using marijuana. This may account for the significant rise in the criminal violence stats.

Another concerning trend is the widespread breeding of marijuana plants to yield a much higher content of the compound THC, which is much more potent than the garden variety bootlegged for so many years. These designer compounds have been touted for the amelioration of nausea in chemotherapy patients and potentially for therapy for Alzheimer’s, depression, Parkinson’s, and other maladies.

There does appear to be evidence that there is a medical rationale for cannabis use, but Anheuser-Busch and the Marlboro Man are not investing in pot companies to stop patients from shaking.

The intersection of mental illness, marijuana usage, and violent behavior is probably the most troubling aspect of the legalization of cannabis.  But as a business person, I am fearful of the widespread use of pot by potential employees in a legalized world.  I know a lot of people use pot now, knowing that the penalties for usage are a slap on the wrist in most cases.  However, if it is illegal, there are a lot of folks who will not make the extra effort to obtain a verboten substance that may harm them.

To me, the bottom-line question is:  What good does it do to legalize it?  Cash-starved states like Illinois might get substantial revenue from taxing it, but is that a good reason for sanitizing it for 13-year-olds by removing the stigma of illegality? In the political frenzy to legalize it, the talk about pot being a gateway drug to even more-addictive drugs like heroin or opiates has quieted.  It does scare me that giving millions of people access to it in vaping parlors could be a public health disaster in America.

Why should we do this?  Give me a good reason why it would be good for you or your children – or the country – to legalize the stuff.

Question:  Why should we legalize pot in the U.S.?

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27 thoughts on “Legalize Pot, Why?

  1. HH

    Well… Two-thirds of Americans (more than 200 million) live in states with legal recreational or medical usage.

    So I think the answer to your question is, “we already have.”

  2. Chris Lewis

    Its should be legalized because telling people people not to use it makes them want to use it more. Drugs should not be illegal in a free country period. Stoners are the bain of society and aren’t allowed to operate machinery anyway. They can stay out of shops and be poor losers elsewhere.

    1. m

      LMAO what a traditional myopic response. I bet you know people who aren’t open about their cannabis use who are FAR from losers. I’d say the bain of society are the pill popping addicts and meth heads that like to STEAL to maintain their habits.

  3. Steve Adams

    I am not a user, but since witnessing the legalization of it here in Canada, I am wondering what all the fuss was about. The laws that control it are the same as alcohol and cigarettes , min age 19. I believe preventing access to minors is important, but removing the legal stigma for adults is not inviting minors to use it, for them it is still illegal. Anyone that broke the law before will still do so now. My biggest surprise was the number of my peers that use it that are now out in the open. Legalization revealed just how widespread pot use is. And not so much vaping and smoking, edibles is HUGE! Removing the barriers for medical use and the products that are free of THC, (CBD oil for instance) seem to have real benefits. To me it has been much ado about nothing.

  4. Tom McIntosh

    Another side which you somewhat touched on is safety.
    I have cut people out of machines who were sober and still managed to get caught in the machine.
    I know we don’t have a good handle on who is sober enough to be on the job now, think it becomes even more difficult if it is legal.
    So not in favor of legalizing it.

  5. Gordy

    I cant say I am all for the free access that is going to come from legalization.

    However, when it is distributed illegally by gangs, and the make a profit from it, they now have a revenue source to buy guns. In Chicago, they then feel the need to defend their “turf” by shooting each other to maintain market share
    If we take away the market by making it easier to get higher quality through legal means, it could be possible we could reduce the revenue and therefor the turf wars and killings.

    We aren’t going to decrease the demand, it has been there since the 60’s, and seems to be climbing if anything. Taking that revenue stream away from criminals seems like the best part of legalizing it.

  6. ERIC

    Thank you for the article Lloyd. I have a few questions for you.
    How many Budweisers does your granddaughter throw back after school? How many packs of cigarettes does she go through per week? Both of these are legal addictive products that have proven to have very harmful effects both during and after usage. Where does your lack of faith in your granddaughter come from beyond these two substances? How many fatalities are the direct or indirect result of the two aforementioned products per year in North America? How many workplace accidents?

    I invite you to do a bit more research on the topic, maybe from less-biased sources who do not share the same pre-conceived notions at you. Not to change your mind, but so that you may properly educate your granddaughter the same way you have for other things. I say that because without knowing her, I doubt that she is crushing beers or chain smoking cigarettes (although she might be vaping nicotine….topic for another day?). Abstaining is a better decision than using those things, same as marijuana.

    Watching “Reefer Madness” may have worked for you, but if it was truly accurate and not a propaganda film trying to scare people instead of educating them to make better decisions, things would probably be different today.

    I know that the socioeconomic impact is the prevailing factor when it comes to the legalization or banning of substances, but I will leave you with this. I do not know anyone who was directly or indirectly killed by using marijuana or someone who was using it. I also do not know anyone who went on a psychotic tirade as a result of using while on certain medications to treat mental illnesses or depression. I have however, lost five former classmates, and one family member due to either their own alcohol consumption or someone else’s. I would be very interested to know what similar experiences you may unfortunately have, if at all.

  7. Bill Badura

    1) In no state can your 13 year-old granddaughter legally smoke weed.
    If she wanted to smoke or vape, it is available in states with no legalized weed.
    Surely you realize that readily available alcohol probably won’t have your
    13 year-old getting drunk on the way to junior high school. Is this really that different.

    2) You absolutely do not legally have to hire people that smoke weed. (you likely have in the past and didn’t know it)

    3) The drug war has done little to cut demand for weed, and has instead created a lucrative black market. This alone might be a good reason for legalization.
    Putting real criminals out of business is good practice.

  8. GK

    I live in NorCal, the epicenter of weed; bootleg growers will never go away, as the govt has taxed it excessively for legal grows and consumers. Prices have fallen so low, it’s hardly viable for the farms. As mentioned, the big money now is the extraction of the oil for edibles, vape cartridges and other uses; I’m all for medical usage, rec not so much.

    The other side mentioned is driving, working under the influence. To us it is the same as alcohol, use on the job and you’re gone; probably opens up a bunch of lawsuits and we’re all waiting for that to happen; still have pre employment screening and it “weeds” out a lot of ppl. Out of a pool of 10 laborers, 6 won’t pass the test, 1 or 2 decide the work is not for them, so we end up with 1 or 2 to see if they can cut it. Really sad.

    This and the rest of CA woes has us looking to move North, out of the state we’ve been in for 6-7 generations.

  9. Old Dave

    What keeps your and my grandchildren from using Marijuana? The same thing that keeps them from using/abusing Alcohol and Tobacco. Marijuana should be treated the same as Alcohol. Anyone who consumes alcohol on a irregular basis will have a clean “test” not so under current testing methods for marijuana. If employees are not under the influence (Alcohol, Prescription drugs, Illegal drugs) in the workplace then it should not be an issue. Workplace drug testing should remain and testing methods should be improved to better detect recent(work hours) useage.
    How many people overindulge in Alcohol on work nights and then go to work the next day?

  10. TB

    I disagree with the comments that state it will get rid of the black/illegal market. I believe what happened in Colorado when they legalized it was the state put their load of taxes on the sale of pot, so people were still buying on the black market because it was cheaper. (it may reduce black market, but won’t eliminate).
    As far as at work, legal or not makes no difference. You still can’t come to work under the influence of it, no different than you can come to work under the influence of legal alcohol or legal prescription drugs. The employees need to be explained that, legal doesn’t mean a free ride to get high before work.

  11. M

    WOW the ignorance in this article in 2019 on cannabis is astounding!! There is NO connection between violence and cannabis use. The legalization of it in WA state has seen violence not from users, but from medical/rec dispensaries being robbed because the state forces them to collect CASH for payment instead of using a cash and credit system. And no dispensary is going to sell any vape or edibles to your grandkid *eye roll* you are FEAR MONGERING at best and spreading major disinformation AT WORST. I don’t know where the heck you get this connection with jr. high kids using cannabis from all this lol. You are carded in dispensaries before you can even set foot in the main area containing cannabis and no one under 18 can purchase it. The REAL gateway drug is ALCOHOL but I’d imagine you’re ok with fruit and candy flavored drinks and beer commercials touting what fun it is at the beach when you drink. Cannabis is by far the LEAST lethal (literally 0 deaths from cannabis use alone), legalizing cannabis also legalizes hemp, which has no psychoactive effects and can be used for everything from nutritional health to hemp concrete which is fire and mold resistant to other industrial uses that are FAR better for the environment.
    Cannabis has also far lessened the opioid use of many people, which KILLS 78 people in the US EVERYDAY! The only thing someone smoking pot wants to kill is a pizza or a bag of chips. Please for the love of all that is natural in this world and can heal people without getting them hooked on prescription pain meds STOP spreading such gross misinformation! Do more legitimate research on your facts, and look for peer reviewed unbiased studies/research. I can’t believe I have to tell an adult who could be my father to make sure they’re getting correct and updated information that isn’t peddled with an agenda behind it other than straight up facts.

  12. Mike Birdwell

    Yes Lloyd you are an old fuddy-duddy.

    To thwart the selective application of the law on ethnic groups is the number one reason to legalize it.

    #2 is to disrupt the gangs cash flow. Remember the lessons we were supposed to learn from prohibition?

    Violence and marijuana ? really ? Alcohol is massively worse.

    Gateway drug ? Distancing a relatively harmless substance like pot away from killer drugs like amphetamines and opiates is a good thing.

    Also we need the reclassification to allow medical research to proceed unimpeded.

    As employers and business owners we must remain vigilant to protect our assets from harm. This won’t become any more difficult by bringing pot users out of the closet.

  13. Nancy

    I like this column and the responses to it! The answers are well-thought out and clear of baggage in a topic that could be pretty emotional. Thanks!

  14. Lloyd Graff

    The use of my granddaughter in Palo Alto was a useful literary device to humanize a real issue. I absolutely abhor the idea of kids using marijuana and therefore I want it to be very hard to get. Legalization makes it much easier to obtain and destigmatizes it which I find regrettable.
    I do see it as a gateway drug to even more harmful substances. Virtually everybody know somebody who was severely damaged by drug use. Why make marijuana kosher. I don’t get it.

    1. m

      Please consider watching The Culture High (documentary and real accounts from doctors, psychologists – and no they’re not quacks; and patients/everyday people regarding cannabis use). There are many reasons to legalize it, we are all born with endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies. A mother’s breast milk naturally has cannabinoids in it. So I guess the real gateway drug is from birth, breast milk right? Should we make natural breast milk illegall? If that seems asinine to say, so does it to say legalizing it would make easier to obtain for your 13 year old grandkid.
      “[E]ndocannabinoids have been detected in maternal milk and activation of CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) receptors appears to be critical for milk sucking … apparently activating oral-motor musculature,” says the abstract of a 2004 study on the endocannabinoid receptor system that was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology.
      “The medical implications of these novel developments are far reaching and suggest a promising future for cannabinoids in pediatric medicine for conditions including ‘non-organic failure-to-thrive’ and cystic fibrosis.”
      We have all let the govt/pharmaceutical companies poison us enough! The real reason it’s a struggle to legalize it is because cannabis is NOT harmful and can do SO much to help people with pain, shrink cancerous tumors, PTSD, end debilitating seizures in adults and children alike, parkinsons, the list can go on – all without the help or using less man made drugs that often have not so good side effects and compounds ones illness. Diet and natural medicine such as cannabis goes a loooong way in healing the body. I have family members to prove it. One is a child that had such insane seizures and no meds worked, she had to be in a medically induced coma to stop them. Now because of cannabis, she can have a mostly normal life (all the seizures and meds have taken their toll on her brain a little) but she can talk, walk by herself now, go to school, live life essentially!

      50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning (not including deaths of those hit & killed by drunk drivers), 500,000 people die each year from tobacco…62,000 people died in 2016 from opioids – that’s more deaths the entirety of the Vietnam war! Please do more unbiased research on cannabis and health. Cannabis isn’t the enemy of human kind, but many pharma pushed drugs are and they’re ‘legal’.

  15. Lloyd Graff

    M, you are a true believer. I am not.

    I think the research on medical cannabis use shows promise but that is not an argument for legalizing it, generally. Tranquilizers like Valium can be very helpful and cannabis may be too, but Valium is not available over the counter. And I do not think it should be. Nor should marijuana.

    1. M

      You don’t necessarily need to be a ‘true believer’ even though said facts are literally there for your taking/reading. But to keep it from those that need it and would rather have the use of something natural, beneficial to their body and the planet is quite frankly being a dictator over other peoples lives/health. It becomes part of the propaganda that made it illegal in the first place and it comes down to corporate/govt greed.
      Valium is in the benzodiazapene family….after reading this would you want your employee or family on this crap?
      Benzodiazepines can cause confusion, cognitive impairment and falls, resulting in considerable disruption and socioeconomic costs. This is particularly problematic given that use is more common among older age groups.
      Benzodiazepines are also sold as street drugs, can impair driving and are associated with overdose.
      Continued use even at low dose for a few weeks can lead to physiological dependence (tolerance and withdrawal). Tolerance means that, over time, the effect of the drug wears off and a higher dose is needed for the same effect. When the drug is stopped, users can experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, tension, panic attacks, tremor, sweating, poor concentration, nausea, palpitations, headache, muscle aches and sometimes even seizures and psychotic reactions.
      Long-term use is generally not recommended because of the known side effects.
      But withdrawal can be difficult since the initial symptoms for which the drug was prescribed might return, made worse by the symptoms from the withdrawal itself. Some people are therefore reluctant to stop the drug. For these reasons, withdrawal should be gradual and guided by clinicians, who can help patients cope with any symptoms.

      I sure wouldn’t want someone dependent on Valium to calm down, over a plant that literally has 0 of the above mentioned side effects. Valium can be easily readily available, do not fool yourself on that. Valium is MUCH more unsafe with those side effects and cannabis has ZERO of them…I’d much rather have someone utilize cannabis than jump straight to valium! Also there is no need to calm anxiety with psychoactive cannabis, you can utilize CBD which does not get you ‘high’.
      Using valium will also lead to other drugs being prescribed…it’s a horrible system. Get you on one ‘legal’ drug, then you need another prescription from your doctor to fight the side effects of the first, and so on. That is not a healthy way to live. Pills, even Tylenol can disrupt your gut health making your immune system even worse for the wear. Again, you are coming out of the gate with dated and old information and making apples to oranges comparisons here. I cannot say enough that you are promoting pretty bad information here. I can’t fathom that you are for pharmaceuticals which have wreaked unimaginable havoc on society and families such as opioids, benzos, depression meds…over a much more safe and clearly proven and more proven each day with new research, a PLANT that GOD put on this planet, clearly because he what he was doing. I really do encourage you to set aside the time to watch The Culture High documentary, it is beyond informative and even if cannabis isn’t for you, that’s ok…no one wants to make anyone try it against their will…but it’s best to have the FULL spectrum of information from why it was made illegal to the medical benefits.

  16. Bam

    If Mom and Dad, after a long day, have a glass of wine or a cocktail before dinner to relax, isn’t that just like smoking a little weed? I see them as being the same, just as I see both substances being consumed in a wide-ranging level of intoxication, either legally or not. Is there any difference between the effect of impairment of judgment or motor skills? Not in my eyes.

    And does the 13-year-old girl have the required skills to have learned by the example of her parents to chose or not chose? I hope so, but I’m a realist and think she is as likely to have consumed her first beer or first joint at the same age regardless of the legality of marijuana.

    I also see just as many people abusing alcohol as could potentially abuse marijuana; there will always be the potential of someone going to work drunk or stoned. But hopefully, our society has taught us that this is not acceptable behavior and might cost us our job.

    Finally, I think there should be more concern about opioid addiction and their over-prescription – just ask a bartender what happens when he overserves a patron alcohol, but nothing significant happens to doctors when they over-prescribe.

  17. Rod

    On this one you are way of base.
    I would be more concerned about the pain pills you get from your doctor as a gateway to more dangerous drugs.
    Your granddaughter had and (still does have) access to all types of drugs including pot.
    Seems like the Old White Guys Club can not open there eyes to the reality of the times.
    All of the scare tactics they use ( the articles you referenced ), the invading masses at the boarders, apparently with backpacks full of drugs.
    Most people in this country see through it.
    Most people can think for themselves and make the right decision for them and there families.
    Education on these issues would be good for you.
    You are a Smart Man Lloyd, open your eyes.

  18. BB

    Pot shouldn’t be legalized. De-criminalized sure. Medical uses should not be rammed through by lawmakers who are lobbied and funded by Big Tobacco/Big Marijuana corporations. A common tactic is to try to confuse the issue by including decriminalization and potential medical use into the poll questions.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of bullies out there pushing full access with questionable claims and statistics. The ramifications won’t be fully clear for decades, just like tobacco. The full societal and financial costs are not being factored in when it is pushed as a revenue source.

    Why rush the legalization? The lawmakers are painfully slow to react to the industry as we have seen witnessing the marketing of vaping and flavored tobacco to a new generation of youth.

    A couple of good resources to go to are:
    Smart Approaches to Marijuana

    Dr Thurstone’s website, Board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry in Denver. He sees first hand the damages the legalization has had for the youth. It is real.

    For manufacturing it hurts productivity, competitiveness as well as finding qualified machinists.
    For parents of teens – it is always better to delay the use of marijuana, alcohol and tobacco and to make these substances not easy to get their hands on – (which is not the same as prohibition of alcohol)

    You are correct Lloyd and very wise. Thank you.

    1. M

      That link to Dr. Thurstone is interesting to say the least ha. Smh. Again the misinformation and propaganda are so rampant on this. There has literally been no uptick in psychosis/schizophrenia caused by cannabis. If that was the case we would have seen a steep increase of it over the last few decades and the fact is there hasn’t been…schizophrenia has remained at around 1-2% mark I believe worldwide if my memory serves me correctly. This comes from a very well known, older gentleman who is a psychiatrist and has done studies/research. I will have to find his name as it escapes me at the moment if you’re interested in the actual research.
      Also, any drug legal or otherwise can precipitate a psychotic break or schizophrenia ONLY if the person was already inclined to that genetically…even a ‘bad alcohol trip’ can induce such a state. Also the study is from 1988 on that site! That is quite some time ago, and honestly I don’t have time to go read each of the links he cited at this moment. But honestly this isn’t about teens, by law they aren’t allowed to be sold cannabis if they are not over the age of 18 (and currently 18 with a medical rec, otherwise it’s 21). I would hate to see my cousins daughter go back to being in a medically induced coma because of archaic beliefs and those who don’t want to or don’t like cannabis forcing others to go underground because they want it illegal. My cousin’s daughter got her LIFE back due to cannabis tincture use, she used to have upwards of 250-300 seizures a day! She now lives a relatively normal and functioning life because of this plant. We always have to be aware and ask questions of why, what’s the agenda for one to keep demonizing cannabis….a plant that can and does do more than just ‘get people high’ it’s much more than that. It can mean a better future for us environmentally as hemp legalization is now following suit. I’d much rather keep using cannabis (including the CBD non psychoactive side of the plant) to keep my anxiety and pain in check than prescription drugs that I’ve seen ruin plenty of lives around me way more than cannabis ever has or could. In short, no one should be telling anyone else what to do with their lives or how to take care of their health. It becomes a real slippery slope!

  19. r in nyc

    I agree with the experts and oppose legalizing marijuana!
    With both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio proudly celebrating epiphanies on the social benefits of marijuana, it would appear that legalization is inevitable. But what if they are wrong? Many law enforcement and healthcare professionals who deal with addiction say they are.
    The NYS Association of County Health Officials is opposed, reiterating that marijuana is a gateway drug with narrow medical benefits. They conclude it will cause more social harm than good. Queens DA Brown remains an opponent, pointing out that there is yet no effective way of identifying impaired marijuana drivers. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill is concerned about the danger to New Yorkers if they are allowed to grow their own pot (a provision in Colorado’s statute that has created a flourishing black-market in bootleg marijuana.) Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says it will open a Pandora’s box.
    Is the public intentionally being left in the dark about marijuana? Are we told, for example, that today’s pot is no longer that “counterculture mellowing-out indulgence” of the 70’s and that it is actually to 20 times stronger than it was at Woodstock? That’s a wallop. Is the public told that THC, the intoxicant in cannabis, causes paranoia? Are we told that today’s high THC levels can trigger violent episodes in people with psychotic disorders? As DA Brown says, “Let’s have a vigorous debate”; but that’s not the Cuomo style.
    Are we being told the truth? Not always. Sen. Cory Booker (D., NJ), who would like to see federal legalization, claims that it has reduced violence in the four states that have legalized it. New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, author of “TELL YOUR CHILDREN”, a book every parent and grandparent needs to read, says Booker is wrong. He points out that the four states (CO, WS, Al, OR) are reporting an increase in murders and aggravated assaults.
    Despite troubling ramifications reported from California and Colorado, our progressive politicos are rolling out the heavy equipment (i.e. Assembly and Senate majorities) to pave yet another road with good intentions. Mayor de Blasio is talking about unleashing yet another Progressive Social Experiment in the very communities that can least afford one.
    once this is uncorked, Albany will have little incentive to put a powerful genie back in its bottle.

    All they want is more money to WASTE!!!

  20. John Griner

    Whhooohhh Lloyd … You hit a controversial topic.

    As a former member of the Libertarian Party I believe all victimless crime should be legal.

    Being a realist and to get government support these activities will need to be decriminalizized, taxed and regulated just like cigarettes, alcohol and public gambling.

    According to some statistics 70% of the prison population is made up of inmates who are connected to drug related crimes. In my view the main losers in this game will be the government agencies, private contractors and groups who benefit from the prohibition or sale of illegal drugs.

    Perhaps the victimless crime tax can pay for social security, healthcare and free college.


    1. r in nyc

      Hey John,

      you stated: “As a former member of the Libertarian Party”

      Hope you switched to the conservative party!!!

      I am a conservative with strong libertarian leanings.

      I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with Larry David Sharpe, New York State Gubernatorial candidate. Impressed me so much I donated and voted for him.

      IMHO the libertarian party has been hijacked by a bunch of dope smoking slugs whose only goal in life is to escape reality via marijuana and other substances. Their only goal is legalization of drugs. What of the other platform policies of REDUCING size and spending of government? Getting government out of our day to day lives? BAZILLIONS wasted in endless wars and foreign aid to the people around the world that hate us most!

      Legalization will be another government boondoggle of waste fraud and abuse. Just like the lottery was to save our education system and “legal” gambling was to save Atlantic City New Jersey, our education system is SUB par and falling, and Atlantic City is a sewer and a den of iniquity!

      The black market for pot will not go away, nor will all the associated ills of illegal activity, i.e. gangs, turf wars, violence and ruined lives.

      Let us not forget the never ending “untended consequences” of government involvement. So called “legalization” will be even more complex with illegal pitfalls and more laws to be broken. Many of these new laws will have nothing to do with use of pot but record keeping and tax compliance.

      Careful what you wish for, you may just get it!!!

      I could go on and on, I personally have seen lives and families ruined from this scourge, and see nothing positive.


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