Thu, April 09

Letter: 'Health issues' won't dissuade teens from using marijuana


I don't think debatable studies of detrimental health effects as presented by Dr. Leon Cattolico (My Turn, 6/11/13) are an effective deterrent to the use of marijuana, and they're certainly not valid arguments for the federal illegality of cannabis that both criminals and law enforcement agencies profit from.

The possible health issues with marijuana use are cause for concern. But is the good doctor not aware that health issues with alcohol were exacerbated by the passage of Prohibition? Is he unfamiliar with Harry Anslinger's bigotry-fueled war on 'marihuana', and the American Medical Association's protest against the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937?

So long as cannabis is a schedule 1 drug, controlled cause-and-effect studies cannot be done. Current studies require cooperation from those who admit to breaking the law. (For example, in his 1995 memoir "Dreams of My Father," Barack Obama described his heavy cannabis smoking while attending high school in Hawaii. Have Obama's health records been examined for possible long-term physical impacts of early use? Did his IQ suffer a permanent decline?)

Anyway, physical health issues are not going to dissuade many teenagers from using cannabis. The most effective argument is that heavy use in teen years can seriously reduce the chances of living a productive, happy life -- particularly when maintaining an altered state of mind becomes a person's primary motivation. It should be obvious that those who put getting stoned above getting educated are going to enter adulthood at a disadvantage.

David Perrell


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