I’m responding to your invitation to comment regarding our state’s marijuana issue.

This needs to be addressed in a holistic fashion. I’m concerned that neither the health effects of using marijuana nor the impact to communities, workplaces and people affected as a result of accidents due to operating vehicles/machinery under the influence are being addressed. Are there guidelines as to minimal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol for safe use of vehicles and heavy machinery?

Although more study is needed, according to the National Institutes of Health, health effects include impaired brain development, irritated lungs similar to that of tobacco use, increased heart rates, and impairment of child development during and after pregnancy.

Should our state legislators decide that recreational marijuana be legalized, I suggest that its sale be taxed and that how the taxes are levied be included within the legislation. There should be authorized retailers whose inventory is closely monitored, as well as stiff penalties for those selling marijuana outside of the authorized retailers.

Those who choose to use marijuana should help provide a funding source to offset the costs of (1) informing our citizens of the dangers of use, (2) helping users recover from “addiction,” and (3) covering costs of any potential lawsuits as a result of state negligence due to injury in public places in Pennsylvania.

However, using marijuana as a source for tax revenue shouldn’t be the motivation to decriminalize marijuana. Instead, our legislators should be promoting and developing a Pennsylvania population that is healthy and safe.

Jyuji Hewitt

Fulton Township