Dear Editor:

Concerning recently published articles on marijuana. In Feb. 2014, a German study claimed to have documented the first known deaths from marijuana use.

In March 2014, it was reported that a Wyoming student died from multiple injuries after falling from the balcony of a Denver hotel. The coroner listed marijuana intoxication as a possible factor in his death. Here is some more information for those capable of putting aside their pet peeves and bias, and concentrating on real issues.

For 2010, the U.S. Government National Institute on Drug Abuse published the following figures for deaths in the United States: tobacco and related products — over 400,000, the website gives the figure as over 460,000; alcohol related — over 100,000; motor vehicles — over 35,000; firearms — over 31,000; overdose of legal drugs — over 20,000; aspirin overdose — over 500.

Marijuana — 0.

I recently watched an advert on TV for a pharmaceutical drug with possible side effects stated as stroke, heart attack or sudden death. Naturally the drug was fully approved for public use by the FDA. Merck’s painkiller drug Vioxx, before it was pulled from the market, was estimated to have caused between 88,000 and 139,000 heart attacks, resulting in over 55,000 deaths. The company was found guilty of suppressing negative research on the drug prior to its release. Billions of dollars were paid in damages, and no one went to prison.

So a pharmaceutical company can be convicted of criminal charges in a legal drug industry, and get off the hook by simply paying money which merely reduces their billion dollar profit margins.

At the same time, thousands of Americans are arrested and put into overcrowded prisons, fully funded by our tax dollars, for possessing something as deadly as 2 ounces of marijuana. This is insane.

Perhaps it would make a difference if the marijuana industry were able to send lobbyists to Washington. Their sole intention being of bribing our so-called representatives, preferably with the same monotonous regularity as administered by tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.

Anthony Steventon

This story was posted on July 24, 2014.