Pubdate: Thu, 21 Nov 2013
Source: St. Joseph News-Press (MO)
Copyright: 2013 The News-Press, St. Joseph, Missouri
Author: John Payne


After reading "Going to pot/Experts debate pros, cons of legalizing 
marijuana" (News-Press, Nov. 10), it seems clear Buchanan County 
Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Scroggins is picking and choosing "facts" 
to support his opinions.

The claim that cannabis causes violence has been around since the 
Reefer Madness days of the 1920s and '30s, but it has been soundly 
discredited for over 40 years. Studies sometimes show a correlation, 
but not causation.

When the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970, it also 
created a commission to study marijuana use in the United States. The 
commission released its findings in 1972, concluding, "the empirical 
evidence gathered to date lends no support to the hypothesis that 
marihuana heightens aggressive tendencies in the user or that its 
effects significantly increase the likelihood of inciting the user to 
violence or crime."

Also, if more permissive cannabis laws cause chaos on the highways, 
as Scroggins insinuates, it would be reflected in fatality reports 
from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, 
according to a study by University of Colorado-Denver economics 
professor Daniel Rees, the data show just the opposite: States with 
medical marijuana laws experience a 9 percent drop in fatal 
automobile accidents compared to those without such reforms.

The study's authors argue this phenomenon is largely driven by people 
substituting cannabis for alcohol. Cannabis users are also less 
likely to drive than drinkers, as most cannabis users partake at home 
while drinkers often drive to bars.

If Mr. Scroggins would like to defend his claims in an open 
discussion of the issue, Show-Me Cannabis is sponsoring a town hall 
meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the East Hills branch of the St. 
Joseph Public Library. We would be happy to give him a spot on the 
panel, and we can both make our cases to the public.

John Payne Executive Director, Show-Me Cannabis St. Louis
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