Pubdate: Thu, 08 Oct 2009
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Jaime Cowley



I have been reading the opinions regarding medical cannabis use all

Some letters are well-written, informative and factual. Other letters
seem to propagate the idea that all marijuana users are violent
criminals, and that marijuana itself is dangerous.

These ideas seem to come right out of the "Reefer Madness" era of
government propaganda which falsely portrayed marijuana as a highly
addictive substance that would incite the user to violence against
others and the user himself.

If I recall, marijuana was outlawed in 1937, much to the delight of
the tobacco companies who wanted the weed to be made illegal.
Marijuana was also connected with the influx of Mexican families
coming here for work at that time and racial intolerance was high -
another reason to make the weed illegal.

Since then misconception about marijuana has made cannabis use look as
dangerous as heroin use. I am continually amazed at how ignorant
people are regarding marijuana. Marijuana is not physically addictive,
nor does it harm the body in the way that alcohol does, or the
thousands of different drugs all of America takes, drugs which doctors
prescribe that can have devastating side effects. The letter I read
today by Diana Thompson, who says marijuana use causes people to kill
or harm themselves, is ridiculous. If that were true we would be
inundated with stories of mass murder committed by cannabis users. I
don't recall ever hearing of a murder being caused by someone who used

She mentioned that the Manson family used marijuana before they killed
people. While it is true the Manson family smoked pot, they also used
LSD, and on the nights of the murders they were high on speed - not

If there were a survey done on all cannabis users it might surprise
people to know that cannabis smokers are not just hippies and
criminals. They are also your neighbors - hardworking, honest,
taxpaying citizens - decent people who might smoke a little pot just
like others who might choose a glass of wine or a beer. They are not
brain-damaged, either.

I would like to know where are the sources of medical fact regarding
government cannabis study that Thompson referred to? Studies were done
in the 60s and 70s in which very high doses of THC were given to
monkeys - high doses of THC that no typical user would experience
without smoking pounds of marijuana at one time.

So their findings were distorted and unrealistic, furthering the
irrational fear concerning marijuana by the public, just as Thompson
is doing by saying cannabis users are prone to violence. If someone is
going to commit murder or violence, it is because they already have
that trait and would be violent with or without marijuana.

Some people have violent reactions after drinking alcohol. But alcohol
reacts very differently in the body than does cannabis. I have never
seen anyone turn violent after smoking pot. Nor have I seen or heard
of anyone becoming brain-damaged from smoking cannabis.

Carl Sagan, for example, was a brilliant astronomer and a lifelong pot
smoker. Willie Nelson huas long been a pot smoker - could he write
such beautiful songs if he were brain-damaged? If marijuana were made
legal or decriminalized all the crimes attributed to marijuana would
disappear, much like the crimes during alcohol prohibition did after
it was repealed. You don't have to love marijuana or agree with its
use, but the day is coming when it will be legal, and then we'll see
how much of that "reefer madness" propaganda is true.

Jaime Cowley, Red Bluff 
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