Pubdate: Thu, 24 Mar 2005
Source: Marblehead Reporter (MA)
Copyright: 2005 CommunitysNewspapers, Inc.
Author: Steven S. Epstein
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


To the editor:

Last fall, over 60 percent of Marblehead voters recognized parents are the 
best protection against adolescent drug abuse when they voted in favor of 
making possession of marijuana a civil violation and requiring police to 
hold a person under 18 cited for possession until the person is released to 
a parent or legal guardian or brought before a judge.

So, I was shocked to learn that Michael Nerney told the audience "today's 
marijuana is far stronger than it used to be," calling modern marijuana and 
its use "an entirely different plant in a significantly younger brain."

This statement is factually inaccurate and misleading. Although 
marijuana-potency data compiled by the University of Mississippi's Research 
Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences does show an increase in marijuana's 
strength through the years, this increase is not nearly as dramatic as 
represented at the forum. Exceptionally strong strains of marijuana, like 
the legendary Panama Red and Acapulco Gold, are inordinately expensive, 
comprise a small percentage of the overall marijuana market, and are seldom 
used by the population at large - particularly school-age children.

Neither is more potent marijuana necessarily more dangerous. Marijuana 
poses no risk of fatal overdose, regardless of THC content. In addition, 
studies indicate that marijuana smokers distinguish between high- and 
low-potency marijuana and moderate their use accordingly, just as an 
alcohol consumer would drink fewer ounces of scotch than they would ounces 
of beer.

The persons who conduct these forums, as do all drug abuse educators, need 
to realize the truth is more likely to effectuate a reduction in 
adolescents engaging in risky behaviors. It is not necessary to mislead 
parents into believing that most adolescents are engaging in drug use. It 
is important to remind parents that as the best anti-drug they need to know 
with whom and where there children are when they are not with us.

Attorney Steven S. Epstein


Massachusetts Cannabis

Reform Coalition/NORML
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