Well-said letters about harms of pot

Below are three letters printed in the opinion section of a newspaper:
Three votes against legal pot
Re: Follow In America’s Footsteps, Jan. 21.
    The article fails to disclose the truth about the dangers of marijuana and the consequences of legalizing it. To merely “tax and regulate cannabis” does not stop the violence associated with the drug trade, but opens the door to even higher levels of crime and violence as it does not stop the profit motivation of drug traffickers.
In 2010, the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 51.8% of Americans used alcohol, 27.4% used tobacco and 8.9% used illicit drugs. The same high figures for alcohol and tobacco use will also apply to marijuana, if legalized.
    There is a wide disparity between tax revenue received from alcohol and tobacco sales and the health costs caused by their use. It results in greater economic and social costs to society because of the increased health care and enforcement, as well as loss of productivity in the workplace. The article also overlooks the dark side of marijuana use. It is a mood-altering drug capable of producing dependency. Adverse effects have been documented in terms of memory, learning, behaviour and functioning.
C. Gwendolyn Landolt, national vice-president, REAL Women of Canada, Ottawa.
    Pursuing a “progressive drug policy” (i.e., legalizing marijuana) is all well and good, but there is a downside.
    Last Sunday, I was out for my weekly hockey game when someone in the neighbourhood decided to light up. Those of us on the ball hockey court paid the price, as I was coughing and choking, and felt a bit headachy. And this is while pot is still technically illegal. What happens after legalization? I’m all for freedom, but other people’s freedom to smoke should, I think, stop at the tip of my nose. Secondhand tobacco smoke is bad enough, but pot smoke? Who will protect us from this?
Sheldon Goldfarb, Vancouver.
    Those who support the decriminalization/legalization of marijuana claim that the “war on drugs” has been an abject failure, but has it been? Are there more or less people smoking up today as a result of said war? We can’t know. The real question is: Will I be inhaling more or less second hand pot at the bus shelter after prohibition is lifted? The answer seems rather obvious. And after pot, then what? The one thing that is certain, in both politics and a society’s slide into moral decadence, is that one thing invariably leads to another.
Jeff Willerton, Airdrie, Alta.


Marijuana's effect on brain doubled

Marijuana's effect on brain doubled, study indicates  Second type of cells affected, too, Ottawa researcher says
By Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen
Marijuana impairs the brain by acting on two types of brain cell at once, a new Ottawa study shows.

And the implication, the lead researcher says, is that there's another side to the brain that neuroscientists hadn't realized.

For the past century, the accepted theory was that marijuana acted on neurons to impair working memory. Working memory is the system of holding on to information so that the brain can think about it and make decisions without being distracted. For instance, it allows a person to drive a car, listen to the radio, think about what will happen at the end of the car ride and watch for pedestrians all at once.

Marijuana impairs working memory, an effect that can last for a day or more after heavy pot-smoking.....click "Read More" below....


Pot opponents regroup following Wash., Colo. votes

By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press, 01/09/2013
SEATTLE—Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy adviser and an outspoken opponent of legalizing marijuana, watched with dismay last fall as voters in Washington and Colorado did just that.

But the next day he got a call from former Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who has struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. The son of late Sen. Ted Kennedy was worried that the votes sent the wrong message about marijuana.

"The level of his concern impressed me," Sabet recalled. "He said, 'We have to do something that is not falling into this false dichotomy of prohibition versus legalization.'"

So began the regrouping of the anti-pot lobby, an effort which on Thursday launches a new organization, Project SAM, for "smart approaches to marijuana." Kennedy is the chairman, and other board members include Sabet and David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

"Our country is about to go down the wrong road, in the opposite direction of sound mental health policy," Kennedy said. "It's just shocking as a public health issue that we seem to be looking the other way as this legalization of marijuana becomes really glamorous." .....click "Read More" below...