On Saturday, Dan Patterson, a 50-plus year educator, and current Eastern New Mexico University regent wrote an op-ed for the Santa Fe New Mexican relaying why he thought the recreational marijuana bills in the Legislature are wrong for New Mexico.
“During my career, I have worked with more than a hundred thousand students, helping them through difficult times through counseling and the disciplinary process. I can say through firsthand experience that I believe approving recreational marijuana will bring extreme harm to a tremendous number of our youth,” said Patterson.
Patterson noted that even though proposals currently have the age limit for recreational pot at 21, younger New Mexicans will still get access. “We all know, if we are honest, that if older brother has legal access, then younger brother also has access,” he wrote.
“I have seen too many kids get caught up in drugs that begins with the casual use of marijuana. Good kids suddenly start changing. Grades drop, attitudes change, dropouts increase, behavior changes, and disciplinary problems and auto accidents increase. Before long, good kids become troublemakers, get lost or flounder. Potentially productive members of society become druggies, criminals or just dregs of society. I have seen too many promising lives lost this way.”
“Not every kid who smokes marijuana goes down this path, but it happens far too often. Why are we so eager to bring such potential harm to so many of our youngsters? Money? Are we really willing to sell the health and well being of so many of our youngsters for greenbacks?”
“Throughout this pandemic I kept hearing that if we can save a single life through a certain regulation that it would be worth it. Well, authorizing the use of recreational marijuana will, without a doubt, lead to the loss of many lives, particularly among our youth — if not through actual death then through the loss of otherwise productive, contributing assets.”
The op-ed comes as the New Mexico Senate mulls a bill, H.B. 12, which narrowly passed the house, and would be one of the most expansive marijuana bills proposed this session. Democrat leaders in the Senate see it as the best shot to ram through marijuana legalization. Multiple other bills also aim to legalize pot.
Pro-family groups such as the Family Policy Alliance are organizing against the legalized pot bills, making the case that, “Since Colorado legalized recreational weed, our neighboring state has seen a dramatic increase in violent crime, traffic fatalities, and marijuana hospitalizations. And usage by minors – sometimes fatal, from eating poorly regulated marijuana “candies” – has soared.”