Letter to the Editor: ‘No recreational sales of marijuana in the Village of Constantine, please!

To the editor:

My first recollection of a Constantine conversation on Marijuana goes back to the mid-1950’s assembly, all of us CHS students in the gym at the high school on Canaris Street. At the conclusion of the presentation on the dangers of the use of marijuana, the presenter actually set fire to the “weed” and encouraged all to smell the odor in order to identify its use later. Today, we are told that the product being promoted as “recreational” marijuana is as much as 30 times higher in potency. 

Does this matter?

A number of credible sources have published in recent months the catastrophic figures of physical and material damage done by marijuana use, particularly in those states where legalization has had time to produce them. 

Add to this the environmental impact warnings in June 2019 from the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for concerns on water and air quality in Michigan. We are in Constantine, on the banks of 2 rivers with concerns here of nutrient and chemical waste run-off. Its report noted that each marijuana plant requires up to 5 gallons of water per day. With the fees for water in the Village of Constantine, these charges could be a shocker for the growers already under pressure of the Water Resources Division. 

The January 2019 edition of “Imprimis,” a publication of Hillsdale College right down US-12 from us here in Michigan, comes a comprehensive report, “Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence”. One study of adult users of cannabis age 18-25 showed the rate of serious mental illness doubles between 2008 and 2017. The first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use saw a 37 percent increase in murders and 25 percent for aggravated assaults in just 5 years, with additional concern for abuse and neglect of children. 

The September 2019 “AARP Bulletin” while supporting some of the medical uses, reported interference with driving skills including reaction time, mental focus, and ability to stay in your lane. The risk of accidents in users increased as much as 14-fold, and also doubled the odds for a fatal collision. My reaction — and we’re supposed to be “old enough to know better”? 

Yes, there’s more. The Michigan Townships Association recommends no more permitting than ONE marijuana business per 10,000 population, already far exceeded in the Village of Constantine. 

The cost to the Village and the people of Constantine from the aspects of including recreational marijuana sales here is incalculable. In fact, any new ordinance in the Village should spell out restrictions on marijuana for the protection of citizens — youngsters to the older generations — NO marijuana smoking in or adjacent to our parks and public spaces with adequate signage to that effect. AND the promise to Constantine citizens that it will be diligently enforced. NO Recreational sales of marijuana in the Village of Constantine, PLEASE!

Rebecca J. Shank

Any views or opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.