Pubdate: Sun, 28 Oct 2007
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Page: 2E
Copyright: 2007 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Bruce Mirken


Re: "Marijuana initiative short on . uh, um, like, you know," Oct. 20 Bob
Ewegen column.

Bob Ewegen's column about Denver's marijuana initiative makes a number
of erroneous statements, some of which he unfortunately attributes to
the Marijuana Policy Project.

First, it simply is not true that "heavy marijuana use causes a
condition I'll call 'cat litter for brains.' " A University of
California analysis of the relevant research, published in the Journal
of the International Neuropsychological Society, reported that even
long-term, regular marijuana use causes no substantial harm to
neurocognitive functioning.

Second, Ewegen seems befuddled by the statement that 9 percent of
marijuana users become dependent, as opposed to 15 percent of alcohol
users. He makes the bizarre leap to claiming that the two drugs would
leave a quarter of society "no longer productive citizens." Uh, no.
Only 6 percent of the public are monthly marijuana users, so at most
we're talking about half of 1 percent of the population even
potentially incapacitated by marijuana.

But even that would be true only if heavy marijuana use left people so
damaged as to be incapable of being productive citizens, and the
research shows that this is simply not the case. While no drug is
harmless, the health risks of marijuana are so small that they simply
do not justify prohibition.

Bruce Mirken, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project,
Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake