Pubdate: Sun, 06 Sep 2015
Source: Charlottesville Daily Progress (VA)
Copyright: 2015 Media General Newspapers
Author: Lennice Werth


I understand the concern about the artificial marijuana called 
"spice," detailed in The Daily Progress story "Police concern about 
'spice' rises" (Aug. 31, print edition; Aug. 30, online).

The reason people use fake marijuana is because the real stuff is 
illegal or because they might be trying to get through a drug test 
for their employment or the criminal justice system. If it were not 
for these situations, there would be no such thing as "spice."

The reason doctors don't know what they are dealing with is that the 
law plays catch-up with these substances. By the time the latest 
thing becomes illegal, something new and potentially more dangerous 
has taken its place.

Most of us have a good understanding of the effects of cannabis, the 
scientific name for marijuana. Typically a person may have a better 
appetite and feel sleepy. Some folks report a pleasant euphoria and 
increased appreciation of music, art and natural beauty. Vomiting or 
becoming combative as a result of ingesting real cannabis is not 
something we see, as with "spice."

According to a Christopher Newport University survey last January, 71 
percent of registered Virginia voters support decriminalizing small 
amounts of marijuana.

Marijuana prohibition was instituted at a time of "Reefer Madness," 
which refers to a body of propaganda that we find laughable today. 
Our elected officials are reluctant to back out of this harmful 
policy for fear of condoning drug use.

But "spice" is not the only harmful unintended consequence of this 
policy. Legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana for responsible adult 
use would do a lot of good. States that have done so have seen 
dramatic reduction in opiate overdose and suicide deaths.

So, Mr. Police Officer, get on board with marijuana law reform. Be 
part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Lennice Werth

Fluvanna County
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