Don’t let Hawaii become Colorado

I was born and raised the first 50 years of my life in Colorado. In 1958, I visited Hawaii for the first time, fell in love with the people and knew I would spend many years living here. It took 30 years to become a permanent resident and I was able to finally move to Hawaii in 1988. My wife and I have enjoyed every day since.

I was in Colorado in 2016 for my 60-year reunion. Many former classmates are passing away and are greatly missed. The biggest thing I saw in Colorado was how usage of recreational marijuana has changed the state in a negative way. Speed limits have changed to 75 mph on the highways but no one observes the limit and if you are not traveling at least 85 mph, you are likely to be run over. The number of auto deaths has increased to over 600 a year. Many people are shot either before, during or after a wreck, or just for the heck of it. Colorado Springs and Denver used to have a few murders each year, but now they have anywhere from two to nine a week.

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The homeless who are asking for a handout used to be older people and they were usually on busy Denver corners. New people asking for handouts are mainly the younger generation, in the late teens and 20s, and they are on many more corners, including all the surrounding suburbs around Denver. The homeless people have no place to live, no toilets and have to stay in the open when the weather turns cold.

Hawaii also has these problems, but the weather is much nicer. At present in Hawaii there are 51 homeless for every 10,000 citizens in the state. If Hawaii allows recreational marijuana to become state law I predict that the number of homeless in Hawaii will go from 51 per 10,000 residents to a minimum of at least 600 per 10,000 residents. Hawaii has the climate and the homeless will go to where they have better climate conditions to live and recreational marijuana.

On Jan. 13, U. S. Rep. Doug Lamforn of Colorado said the following of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ issue:

“The federal government has the right and responsibility to uphold federal laws. I am encouraged by Attorney General Sessions’ revision of the Cole Memo. The social costs of legalizing marijuana in Colorado have been steep, and the negative affects on the children particularly concerning … I applaud Attorney General Sessions for upholding the law and recognizing the serious and proven harms associated with marijuana.”

As the result of drugs in my family, we have suffered one death, two prison sentences and two children born of parents using drugs that caused the parents the loss of their children and untold hardships for everyone in our family. I personally can see no use for recreational marijuana or other illegal drugs. Medical marijuana should be strictly controlled by medical personnel, so it works to heal instead of getting the person high.

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State and federal legislators from Hawaii should take a very close look at marijuana laws and how these laws have drastically changed the states that have recreational marijuana laws. I do not want Hawaii to become a state like Colorado is now.

Lerre McClure is a resident of Kailua-Kona.