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Unanswered questions about pot

Seth Perlman/AP file photo

Monday’s editorial, “Before legalizing pot, learn from other states,” was good advice. The experience in Colorado has been troubling. Drug use by people ages 12 through 17 is the highest in the country and has gone up dramatically since marijuana legalization. Emergency room visits related to marijuana have almost doubled from 9,982 to over 18,000. Hospitalizations related to marijuana have skyrocketed. Traffic fatalities directly attributable to marijuana have gone up by more than 40 percent. Sixth and 7th graders have doubled their use of marijuana since legalization.

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The drug cartels are cheering because they are selling marijuana to young people at a lower price than the taxed products available at dispensaries. The tax revenue that lobbyists cite are an illusion. How much does it cost for 50 more deaths on the highway, double the number of traffic accidents, emergency room visits, hospital stays, treatment costs and lost productivity in the work place? These costs are not calculated by the pot lobbyists, nor is recognition given to the brain damage done to adolescents by regular use of marijuana and the IQ loss as adults.

The American Medical Association and the American Automobile Association both are opposed to legalization of marijuana and with good reason.

Peter Bensinger

Former Administrator

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Chicago

Today’s ‘campus hostages’

In Saturday’s Sun-Times, Mona Charen, fearless protector of the powerful and the status quote, moaned about”campus radicals.” In her world, hostages taken on college campuses almost 50 years ago are relevant today. Of course there are millions of hostages taken every single day at college campuses around our nation. They are taken hostage by student loan companies. Unlike the incidents Charen think are so important, many of today’s hostages have almost no hope of ever being released and are being held by organizations she would undoubtedly support.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

What else doesn’t Trump know?

Donald Trump lamented that he hadn’t known that being president would be such hard work. I hope we don’t have a future disaster only to hear Trump say, “I didn’t know that nuclear weapons could cause so much damage!”

Karen Wagner, Wheeling

Oil pipe line under lake is safe

While I agree with the Sun-Times’ statement in an April 25 editorial that transporting oil will remain an important part of the region’ss economy and that the Great Lakes region is an important North American Hub for transporting and refining oil, there are additional factors to note. The propensity toward unfounded fear-mongering, gross exaggeration and misinformation seem to mask the facts.

Illinois has a robust infrastructure network, one of our strongest attributes. However, the vocal voices of a few should not be misconstrued as representing the quiet voices of the majority.

Enbridge, North America’s largest pipeline operator, is in the business of transporting crude oil. Like most responsible businesses, Enbridge has learned valuable lessons over the years and understands the best way to continue to meet the region’s energy needs is to ensure its network is operating safely, as well as efficiently. A loss of product is not only detrimental to the environment, but also to the public. Places like hospitals could face limited resources to supply back-up generators that support life during a power outage. Enbridge takes its role of transporting energy seriously and is continually recognized as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies.

Line 5 has served the Midwest well as a unique (and irreplaceable) supplier of crude oil. Certainly, Line 5 (like all other pipelines) requires regular inspection, maintenance and upkeep, similar to the homes, buildings and highways and other infrastructure that make up our Chicago region.

When it comes to meeting our growing energy demands, we must remain focused on transporting energy in a safe and environmentally friendly manner through tried and true energy infrastructure. Each of us – including those vehemently calling for pipelines to be decommissioned – depends on the crude oil that has been transported safely through Line 5 for more than 60 years. Simply put, the more access we have to affordable energy, the more opportunities we as a society have to advance ourselves and our communities, grow our economy and care for our planet.

Tood Maisch,

President and CEO, Todd Maisch

Illinois Chamber of Commerce