NBC Dateline on Sunday May 20 was about medical marijuana. Harry Smith reported on families who have been desperate to relieve their child's seizures, and the improvements in their health after using medical marijuana.

The stories were very compelling. Smith did a good job of giving a balanced report, pointing out that medicinal marijuana is always made from extracts of the marijuana plant, none of which include significant levels of THC, the addictive ingredient of marijuana that produces the "high."

One such extract, CBD, or cannabidiol, has already proven to be effective in the treatment of seizures. As more research is being done, more treatments will no doubt emerge. One woman in the report has MS, and she credits CBD for giving her a greatly improved quality of life.

Even though some states have "legalized" the use of marijuana both as medicine and for "recreational use", it is still illegal under Federal law. That was the message of the Dateline report: Federal law should be changed to allow and encourage research of the medical uses of marijuana.

However, lawmakers, as well as the public, need to be aware of the dangers of recreational marijuana. Millions of dollars are spent every year as a result of drunk driving, from enforcement to beer company ads warning against it, not to mention the physical and emotional trauma. In those states allowing the recreational use of marijuana traffic crashes are destined to increase.

Street marijuana is still as dangerous as it has always been, and it is still a "beginners drug" which will lead to addiction and often leads to harder drug use. As the Dateline report pointed out, we legalized the drugs of tobacco and alcohol, and have witnessed the damage it has done to our kids, families, and society. Why will we have to re-learn this lesson for recreational marijuana? Here's the answer: Big money spurns civil responsibility. Big money influences lawmaker's decisions, unless the people speak up. Missouri should not legalize recreational marijuana.

— Myron Blaine, Hannibal

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