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Anti-pot op-ed misleading

Kevin Sabet and Melvyn Levitsky's guest piece ("Protect vulnerable groups from exposure to Big marijuana," Aug. 1) falsely characterized the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act.

The op-ed demeans the social equity provisions of the MRTMA. In fact the "one mention" of social equity in the law resulted in the creation of an entire division within the Marijuana Regulatory Agency along with an entirely new equity program. Just as it was intended to do.

The op-ed authors restate scientifically questionable conclusions regarding cannabis and draw upon them to discourage participation in Michigan's new law. The drug war duo want Michigan to pay for "public campaigns to discourage marijuana use" even though marijuana use is legal for adults now. They ask Michiganians to "stand tall against this industry," even though nine months ago the majority voted for the industry to exist.

They cite cannabis strength and the rules regarding social use clubs as gateways to use by minors, which is neither logical nor scientifically proven. Despite rules already in place banning child-friendly colors, packaging and products containing cannabis in Michigan's market, the authors induce fear over "the kid-friendly, purposely attractive products Big Marijuana will use to increase consumption."

Importantly, the op-ed is part of an ongoing public and legislative relations campaign by Smart Approaches to Marijuana and company warning the public to watch out as the cannabis industry will begin "lobbying to roll back regulations." Meanwhile, their piece is a hypocritical effort to lobbying the Legislature to create tougher restrictions on a law that hasn't even been rolled out yet.

The op-ed was a giant bowl of sour grapes presented by the losing side in a not-even-close electoral contest. The public did not buy the SAM scare tactics before the election and no opinions are likely to be swayed now.

Rick Thompson, board member

NORML of Michigan

Don't raid teacher pensions to pave roads

As a veteran teacher, I was deeply disturbed to read a recent op-ed by the Michigan Freedom Fund proposing a plan to fix our roads on the backs of hard-working, dedicated teachers like myself ("Fix the roads while funding teacher pensions," July 18). This misguided idea would jeopardize the retirements of public school employees to pay for fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges.

The scheme would entail transforming the school retirement system into a credit card to fund the state budget, saddling taxpayers with a huge debt and gambling the retirement of tens of thousands of school employees. I urge members from both parties to reject this risky plan.

Hopefully, it won’t take another Great Recession to remind policymakers of the perils of placing people’s retirements on the stock market. This plan sounds like it was cooked up in a Las Vegas casino, and as a Michigan educator I urge every policymaker in the state to say, “No dice.”

Jeff Faber, Lake Orion

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