Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jul 2007
Source: Post-Bulletin (Rochester, MN)
Copyright: 2007 Post-Bulletin Company, LLC
Author: Dr. John A. Howard
Note: Newshawk title


Kathleen Parker's 7/10/07 column urging the legalization of marijuana
asserts "responsible use of a weed that at worst makes people boring
and hungry " should not be criminal. Unfortunately, she has not done
her homework. Decades of world-wide scientific research reveal
contrary facts about marijuana.

In 1974, hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee presented
testimony from many eminent scholars of the world including professors
from Oxford, the University of Paris, Cairo University, Berkeley,
Columbia and the Karolinski Institute of Sweden.

Their report stated: The epidemic spread [of marijuana use] was
encouraged by the belief that it was a harmless as well as pleasant
drug. The myth of harmlessness was based on no scientific evidence...
Testimony of the scientists points to massive damage or potential
damage to the entire cellular process, to the reproductive system, and
to the respiratory system... Some of the scientists consider it the
most dangerous drug with which we must contend. The 9/18/02 New York
Times presented a full-page "Open Letter to Parents about Marijuana."

The text begins: Marijuana puts kids at risk. It is the most widely
used illicit drug among youth... It can lead to a host of social,
learning and behavioral problems at a crucial time in a young person's
development. And don't be fooled by popular beliefs... More teens
enter treatment for marijuana abuse each year than for all other
illicit drugs combined.

The Open Letter is signed by 18 national organizations including the
American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Emergency
Physicians, the American Medical Association, the American Society of
Addiction Medicine and the National Parent Teachers

One can't believe a reputable columnist would knowingly reinforce
dangerous popular myths about this subject and help to spread the
ever-growing plague of marijuana use. It is to be hoped that some
national columnist will delve seriously into this crucial issue.

Dr. John A. Howard,

Senior Fellow The Howard Center on Family,
Religion and Society Member of the National Commission on Marijuana
and Drug Abuse (1971-73)

Rockford, IL.
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