The New Hampshire Senate will vote soon on whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana. Gov. Chris Sununu has stated he will sign a legalization proposal that is done “the right way.” Pro-marijuana New Hampshire legislators are already busy planning how they might spend the expected revenue generated from this new addiction tax, and how they can turn it into a political win. Even the Alternative Treatment Centers have been busy engaging in the conversation to make sure they get cut in on the recreational action.

The only thing legislators have failed to do so far is to really talk about the underside of legalization, and what our state might look like if we follow our New England neighbors right off the cliff.

The first thing that would occur would be the flood of Big Marijuana money into our state, regardless if we embark on a commercialization or state-run model. Think the legalization effort is happening at a grassroots level? Think again.

– Phillip Morris: One of the largest tobacco companies in the globe, invested $20 million into Syqe Medical, a marijuana company that has created a marijuana inhaler.

– Altria: Altria Group, maker of Marlboro, invested $1.8 billion in Cronos for a 45 percent stake in the Canadian-based marijuana company.

– Anheuser Busch: Invested $50M to partner Tilray through subsidiary brand Labatt to create a marijuana infused drink.

– Heineken: Heineken subsidiary, Lagunitas, partnered with CannaCraft brand Absolute Xtracts to create a non-alcoholic marijuana infused beer.

– Molson Coors: Partnered with HEXO (Hydropothecary Corporation) to develop marijuana-infused beverages. Molson Coors is entitled to purchase shares of HEXO through the deal.

At the same time this addiction-for-profit capitalism moves into our state, the black market cartels will be busy inventing new and devious ways to undercut the legal market. This is surprising to some legislators, because other people have been telling them that legalization would bring a more regulated, safer product to the state.

However, that’s a complete myth, because in every legalized state the black market is flourishing.

Maine is currently struggling to get a grip on the 250+ illegal pot farms run by Chinese cartels hiding in plain sight in their less populated areas.

California’s law enforcement agencies face similar issues as their law enforcement officers stay busy every week cracking down on illegal pot farms, and the rising homicide rates associated with these operations. It is also estimated that the illegal market in California accounts for 80 percent-plus of marijuana sales in the state.

In our neighboring state, Massachusetts raided four different Chinese cartel illegal grow houses in the city of Westfield alone, and the Hampden County District Attorney has reported the black market is regularly responsible for heinous acts of violence.

After Big Marijuana and the black market get established, then the real downside of legalization begins. Increased drug addiction among our citizens will fuel a demand for more addiction treatment options, even though there are little to no marijuana addiction treatment options available now. There will be increases in teen drug use and more availability of marijuana in schools. Law enforcement will deal with more DUIs due to marijuana impairment and they will stay busy writing citations for public marijuana consumption even though the proposed law has anemic penalties at best.

Another thing that will happen, because it has happened already in all legalized states, is there will be an increase in child poisoning calls as more parents leave their marijuana products around the house. And it is a given that our emergency rooms will see an increase of acute care for THC-related poisonings and psychosis, just like they have in Vermont.

Besides this laundry list of negative outcomes, we haven’t even touched upon the ever-present smell of marijuana that moms and dads in Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts struggle to avoid when they are enjoying a day out with their young children.

Even with the false hope of marijuana rescheduling that bubbled up this week, marijuana will continue to remain a federally illegal drug. Any state who legalizes the drug is open to federal prosecution, even if these states operate their stores through a state-run model overseen by the Liquor Commission.

So why are pro-marijuana legislators rushing to get legalization over the finish line in New Hampshire? They are doing this because they are focused solely on the silver bullet of additional state revenue, and not the costs that families, communities, and our next generation of young adults will have to bear when dealing with the fallout of this tragic decision.

It is not too late to wake up and stop the addiction-for-profit industry from ruining our state. Now is the time to contact your senator, and Gov. Sununu, and tell them to say no to HB1633…

….because Granite Staters are more important than tax revenue.