In response to the marijuana pro-con [“Legalizing Marijuana Will Make It Safer,” and “How Legalizing Marijuana Has Impacted Colorado,” both October 2014] again, we need to look at risk/harm ratios. Yes, legalization will result in more visits—more access does. Should people use? I don’t think so, especially kids and teens (just like alcohol). But should those who do be put in jail, stigmatized, and forever labeled? I think not, especially when it targets racial groups disproportionally. Most other civilized countries tend to approach this as a health problem, not a criminal problem. We have more people in jail than any other civilized (and many noncivilized) countries. In addition, the funding provided to gangs and cartels has distinct health harms. My vote is yes; on balance, the benefits (lower harms) outweigh the harms.
—Chuck Sheppard, MD, FACEP Springfield, Missouri