Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Source: Garden Island (Lihue, HI)
Copyright: 2009 Kauai Publishing Co.
Author: Bruce Mirken, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project


Police chief Darryl Perry certainly has a right to his opinions about 
marijuana, but he needs get acquainted with the facts. ("On the Beat 
No. 29," The Garden Island, June 7).

He writes, "Drugs destroy families, whether it's marijuana, crystal 
methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, or alcohol." In fact, scientific 
research shows it's not nearly that simple.

All drugs don't have the same effects. For example, compared to 
marijuana, alcohol is more addictive, vastly more toxic, and 
overwhelmingly more likely to cause users to become aggressive or 
violent when intoxicated.

Indeed, alcohol-fueled violence is the major social cost of alcohol 
use, but have you ever heard of someone beating his wife in 
"marijuana-fueled rage"?

Not long ago, The Lancet, one of the world's top medical journals, 
published a study ranking legal and illegal drugs by degree of 
harmfulness. Marijuana was rated by experts as not only less harmful 
than most other illegal drugs, but also notably less harmful than 
tobacco and alcohol.

It is the prohibition of marijuana - which subjects otherwise 
law-abiding citizens to arrest and jail while consigning the 
marijuana industry to an unregulated criminal underground - that 
ruins lives, not marijuana itself.

Bruce Mirken, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project, 
Washington, D.C.
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