Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jan 2004
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Copyright: 2004 Ocean County Observer
Author: Philip Smith


Prosecutor Terence Farley ("Studies prove that marijuana's dangerous")
certainly has his talking points down. Marijuana is bad, bad, bad, he
tells us, citing the same canards that we hear from other people whose
jobs depend on us believing that. But what Farley does is misrepresent
and distort facts. Having Farley tell us about how evil marijuana is
like having Phillip Morris tell us how safe cigarettes are. Both have
a vested interest, not in the truth, but in protecting their stake.

Farley misrepresents hospital emergency room statistics. Marijuana
mentions are frequent because marijuana use is common. Sitting on your
porch smoking a joint and a car leaves the road and runs you over? One
more "marijuana-related" incident.

Overdosed after shooting heroin and Oxycontin all day and had a "toke"
as well? Another "marijuana-related" fatality. Even Farley has to
admit marijuana doesn't kill anyone.

Farley misrepresents the marijuana treatment numbers. The increase in
admissions for treatment of marijuana "abuse" is driven largely by
court orders or the desire to escape more severe punishment. This is
truly absurd. Prosecutors like Farley try to force as many pot-smokers
as they can into treatment, then claim there's a problem because so
many pot-smokers are in treatment. And violence and marijuana? Give me
a break! Farley's "research" flies in the face of all previous
research on the topic, as well as common sense and long experience.
Ask any police officer.

Marijuana is a psychoactive substance. Like alcohol, people use it
because they like the way it makes them feel. Like alcohol -- or
peanut butter or chocolate, for that matter -- it is not entirely free
of potential harm. But the consensus of every serious study done on
marijuana and its effects has been that they are relatively innocuous.
Farley should be ashamed of himself for attempting to frighten New
Jerseyites into continuing this failed, fascistic war on marijuana.
But Farley has demonstrated time and time again that he is shameless.
Better people who didn't hurt anybody should be punished than Farley
and his buddies lose a bit of their public resources and political


Drug Reform Coordination Network

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