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Scoot Rigdon, 48, of Loranger, left, thanks Anthony Guarisco Jr., 80, for introducing a medical marijuana bill 40 years ago and seeing it become legal, before the two go their perscriptions filled at the Willow Pharmacy, a Louisiana medical marijuana dispensary in Madisonville, La. Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Guarisco is a former member of the Louisiana State Senate who proposed Louisiana's first medical marijuana bill in 1978. He never thought at the time that he would personally benefit from medical marijuana.

Apparently “reefer madness” is still afflicting people, Gregory and Suzanne Rusovich in particular, as evidenced by their recent commentary.

Right: Tens if not hundreds of thousands of people are arrested in this country, many thousands in jails and prisons, for possessing a plant that anyone can grow — and which has never killed anyone for ingesting — but these would-be “activists” think legalization would be “too far and too fast.” This for a drug our late governor, Kathleen Blanco, took to alleviate the conditions of her illness — and which could help millions of other people.

New Orleans drug abuse activists: Rush to legalize marijuana 'too far, too fast'

They speak of the “marijuana industry” “following the Big Tobacco” playbook — as if there were some monolith of corporate influence behind legalization. If there is any corporate influence at work, it is the one supporting private prisons in this country, which actually are an industry and which make fortunes off of the misfortunes of others who simply smoke pot (or, God forbid, grow or sell it).

It is the vilification of marijuana that is unscientific — and which has caused immense human tragedy in this country and around the world.

Mark M. Gonzalez

attorney

New Orleans