To the Editor:
Marijuana’s effects on the heart, lung and brain have been well established. Users undergo changes in the way the drug affects cardiac muscle, blood pressure and heart rate and rhythm with increases by as much as 50%. Marijuana acts as a bronchodilator on the lungs, but this effect only contributes to the increased consumption of lung irritants and cancer-causing agents. It is unfortunate that we as a society have not learned from the catastrophic results of legalizing a damaging substance for profit — I point to the effects of tobacco on our society causing disease and devastating our economy with health care costs and lost productivity that are in excess of $300 billion a year. Marijuana is a dangerous substance that is growing in popularity with a decreasing perception of danger among youth. Young people are more susceptible with impaired cognitive functioning and an increased risk of behavioral/emotional difficulties. Damaging the immune, reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and central nervous systems, marijuana exacts a toll on the entire body, so much so that any possible benefits are negated. This substance must not be legalized in our state. With 63% of Connecticut voters in favor of legalization according to a recent poll, it is imperative that Ridgefield residents contact our state representatives to prevent this from happening.