'Legalize Louisiana' effort creating a buzz in Lake Area

Legalize marijuana efforts

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - "Legalize Louisiana" supporters met in downtown Lake Charles on Thursday to rally for marijuana legalization.

The meeting was aimed at creating a buzz in the community about the effort, according to medical marijuana activist Timothy Myers.

The turnout on Thursday was low, but supporters said they are hoping to organize a larger event later.

"Just legalize it," Myers said. "I think there are people that actually need it and there's a quality of life it can provide people that no other drug can provide."

However, not everyone is for the legalization of the plant. Diana Drake, chief executive officer at New Beginnings Lake Charles, a drug treatment center, said legalizing marijuana will ruin the quality of life in the state.

"You've got people with three kids in a three bedroom house and they have an acre of land outside and they're growing marijuana, and the parents are selling marijuana and it becomes an underground world that is just dark," Drake said.

Drake has seen what marijuana does to those who abuse it, and she has even seen what it does to a community when it becomes legal.

"I am from Colorado and in Colorado, for instance, in the Denver area, there are more marijuana outlets than Starbucks. And in the Boulder mall in Boulder, Co., you can't smoke a cigarette, but you can smoke a joint," Drake said.

And if legalized, she said all sorts of problems will arise affecting the entire society from day-to-day life, on the roadways and even leading to other drug abuse.

"I think it's a really bad idea," Drake said. "Do I think people should go to prison because they have some marijuana in their car? Probably not. They should go to treatment."

But to those who believe marijuana should be legalized, those problems won't be an issue.

"I just think that it's time that we stop looking at marijuana as this addictive drug and start realizing that it's just a plant and it's a plant with the capability of helping people," Myers said.

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