Letter to the Editor: Reader says ‘marijuana use is a major underlying cause' of addiction and criminal behavior


Delaware will join at least 21 states if it adopts the Delaware Marijuana Control Act (House Bill 1) and its companion act, which implements taxes and regulations on the sale of marijuana (House Bill 2). Regardless, the use, production, distribution, sale or possession of marijuana is prohibited by the Current Federal Controlled Substance Act, 21 USC section 844; also see 18 USC 841(a) (simple possession).

It is irrefutable that marijuana or cannabis use, especially heavy use, is associated with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts, especially for veterans who may have served in our many overseas commitments. Not infrequently, substance abuse and, in particular, use of marijuana results in criminal activities for our veterans. I have spent over 11 years as a presiding judge for our Veterans Treatment Court. It is my experience that well over 80% of our justice-involved participants begin their addiction with marijuana. This is why we prohibit its use in our treatment program. Delaware’s successful VTC diverts veterans from incarceration, treats the underlying issues and returns them to society for a fresh start. We are a problem-solving court with a therapeutic approach.

Drug abuse and, significantly, marijuana use is a major underlying cause of criminal behavior.

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which sets the best practices for all drug and veteran courts, takes a strong position opposing the use of marijuana. Current studies of our justice system bear this out.

A 2017 analysis found the number of people dying from accidents caused by marijuana-impaired drivers more than doubled since the implementation of commercialization. In 2021, marijuana-impaired drivers in Colorado and Washington state more than doubled since the implementation.

This is why our nation’s Veterans Treatment Courts and the American Medical Association oppose legalization. Delaware should not legalize marijuana for ordinary use, except as medically prescribed.

William Witham


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