Time to decriminalize marijuana

To the Editor:

Twenty years ago, I nearly lost my brother to marijuana.

He is one of the 2-3 percent of the population who are hyper-reactive to pot and his habitual use in college literally reduced him over time to a near vegetative state. Had my brother continued to smoke, he would have likely remained permanently psychotic. Fortunately, he sought treatment before he fell into that abyss.

In spite of my brother’s harrowing experience, I am firmly convinced that the time has come to decriminalize marijuana.

Though there are real dangers to using pot, I believe that the prohibition of marijuana is self-defeating. My brother abused it because it was illegal. He was rebelling. What’s worse, he didn’t seek treatment until it was almost too late because he didn’t want to admit that he’d been breaking the law once he realized the path he was on.

How many people like my brother have not sought help when they need it most just because we have made them criminals?

Prohibition of marijuana today is just as stupid as prohibition of alcohol was 80 years ago.

I therefore urge our representatives to vote for the current bill to decriminalize marijuana before the General Court.

NATE JENSEN

Amherst