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Ned Lamont, our newly elected governor, has said that the legalization of recreational marijuana “is an idea whose time has come.” Legislators who support him are justifying this because of the money the state can make off it. After hearing this logic, I want to know if they’re all high!

Now that gambling no longer brings in enough revenue, let’s look to drugs to fill our state coffers! What message does this send to our children? As an opioid epidemic rages, let’s blur the lines a little more! After all, opioids are legal drugs. As a chaplain for the Stonington Police Department and as a suicide prevention instructor, I challenge our politicians to ask our first responders how many calls they’re responding to related to opioids!

Our governor told the Hartford Courant last week that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, sports betting (don’t get me started on this) and tolls are “the right thing for the state.” Really? As if my job isn’t hard enough being a parent, I’ve got the governor telling my 21- and 22-year-old daughters that smoking pot is the right thing to do! Governor, smoking marijuana didn’t get my girls on the dean’s list — a clear and sober mind did.

In an exasperated moment last week, I shared with my youngest daughter, a senior at Stonington High School, that adults are letting her generation down. We don’t know how to be authorities because we ourselves don’t know the difference between right and wrong!

Do you remember the 1990s when the federal government demonized and punished the tobacco industry for false advertising? My Nana Jones smoked from the time she was 15 to just about the day she died at the ripe old age of 88. I lectured her for years on the evils of smoking — sharing what I’d been taught in school. After she turned 80, I gave up. Nicotine is bad, but you can use it and remain sober!

All four of my kids are DARE graduates who learned about the dangers of drug use when they took the course as elementary school students. I guess Connecticut will need to revise the curriculum so as to accommodate for the benefits that the recreational use of marijuana will afford them in the near future. As it is, far too many middle school- and high school-age kids are unconvinced of the dangers of smoking pot. Are our governor and state legislators unaware of this reality? I’d advise them to ask a teacher — they know! Ask them how being high on marijuana affects them cognitively.

Underage drinking of a legal substance has been a problem for years. Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana will just embolden kids to smoke pot more. It’s a gateway drug and adults all know this. It’s just one step closer to legalizing harder drugs. In 10 years, we’ll be looking to legalize cocaine ... and after that?

But, hey, at least we’ll have more tax revenue! As our politicians forecast future budgets and the windfall of revenue that will come from legalizing recreational marijuana, they need to make a line item to include funds for counseling our first responders and clergy that have to shepherd everyone through the pain that comes with it. With the few sober people left in our society, we’ll struggle to staff our police, fire and ambulance departments, along with our military, schools and government, which will have to manage the carnage that will come with a “high” society.

Ray G. Jones Jr. is pastor of Lighthouse Community Baptist Church in Pawcatuck.

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