Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jan 2014
Source: Hampton Union, The (NH)
Copyright: 2014 Matt Simon
Author: Matt Simon


To the Editor:

I'd like to thank the Herald for reaffirming its support for reducing
marijuana penalties in New Hampshire. All five other New England
states have removed their criminal penalties for simple possession of
marijuana, and voters overwhelmingly agree that New Hampshire should
do so as well.

However, I felt it was necessary to respond to the Herald's use of the
term "brain-cell-killing" in its editorial (Jan. 3, "Legalizing
recreational pot can wait"). There is, in fact, no currently accepted
scientific evidence showing that marijuana use kills brain cells. By
contrast, there is a great deal of evidence showing that heavy alcohol
use causes permanent brain damage.

In the 1970s, some researchers claimed they had found evidence that
marijuana kills brain cells. These early studies were widely
publicized in an effort to justify marijuana's inclusion in the War on
Drugs. However, subsequent studies have not corroborated these
results. As the Institute of Medicine reported in 1999, "Earlier
studies purporting to show structural changes in the brains of heavy
marijuana users have not been replicated with more sophisticated

Alcohol is clearly much more damaging to the human brain than
marijuana is. Accordingly, it makes little sense to continue
criminalizing adults who choose to use the safer substance.

Matt Simon New England Political Director Marijuana Policy Project Goffstown 
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