Pubdate: Thu, 13 Feb 2014
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2014 Missoulian
Author: Chris Lindsey


The folks at Safe Community Safe Kids had it backward in their 
column, "Public deserves apology from Obama on marijuana" (Feb. 5). 
The public should be thanking the president for finally telling the 
truth about marijuana.

In a recently published interview, the president acknowledged that 
marijuana is less harmful than alcohol in terms of its affect on the 
consumer. Comprehensive studies performed by the World Health 
Organization (Hall, Wayne, "A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and 
Psychological Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine, and Opiate 
Use," University of New South Wales: National Drug and Alcohol 
Research Centre, 1995) and the National Academy of Sciences' 
Institute of Medicine ("Institute of Medicine, Marijuana and 
Medicine: Assessing the Science Base," Washington, D.C.: National 
Academy Press, 1999) have arrived at the same conclusion. Marijuana 
is less toxic than alcohol, less addictive, and less likely to 
contribute to serious health problems. It also does not contribute to 
violent and reckless behavior, which all too often accompanies drinking.

Why should the president apologize to the public for acknowledging a 
fact? If anything, he should be apologizing for not doing anything to 
change current laws that punish adults for making the rational choice 
to use marijuana instead of alcohol.

Continuing to perpetuate the marijuana myths of the "Reefer Madness" 
era does nothing to protect young people. If anything, it does the 
opposite. It sends the message that, despite being far more 
dangerous, alcohol use is more acceptable than marijuana use. And 
once teens realize our government has been lying to them about 
marijuana, don't expect them to believe what authorities have to say 
about other more harmful illicit drugs.

If anyone should be apologizing to the public, it should be Safe 
Community Safe Kids for refuting the facts about marijuana.

Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst, Marijuana Policy Project, Washington, D.C.
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