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Sat, Jan. 25

Letter: A little homework on marijuana

Editor:

In the Sept. 15 VI, Rollin Hook comes to the defense of Sheila Polk by quoting a report he apparently found on an unabashedly biased website.

Good thing I'm not grading his "homework."

I suggest that Mr. Hook and Ms. Polk actually read the Dunedin, New Zealand, study they find so convincing: "Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife" at pnas.org.

Note that the portion of the 1,037 test subjects with the largest IQ drop consists of 38 people with three or more self-diagnoses of dependence. And those with the lowest IQ at age 38 also had the lowest IQ at age 13.

Note also that the group of 479 people who used cannabis but were never diagnosed as dependent had a higher average IQ at age 38 than the group of 242 people who had never used cannabis at all.

More important, regardless of whether the Dunedin study proves anything regarding the dangers of early use, consider that cannabis was easily obtained by teens as young as 13 years in spite of New Zealand's strict laws prohibiting possession by anyone for any reason.

Now, please explain why we should continue to squander tens of billions of tax dollars yearly on an ever-failing 'war on particular intoxicants' that funds criminal gangs, corrupts public officials, militarizes police forces, and incarcerates millions of otherwise law-abiding people.

David Perrell

Clarkdale

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