Pubdate: Sun, 07 Feb 2010
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2010 The Honolulu Advertiser
Author: Pamela G. Lichty


Skip Miller's sermon on the dangers of marijuana ("Marijuana too 
damaging to be legalized," Jan. 31) is a compendium of distortions 
and discredited drug war assertions.

The idea that legalization would increase substance abuse flies in 
the face of the evidence. We were warned that legalizing medical 
marijuana would dramatically increase teenage use, but an 
authoritative UCLA study showed that teenage use has actually decreased.

Miller's claim that cannabis is a "gateway drug" has been thoroughly 
undone by a number of scientific reports, including a 12-year study 
from the University of Pittsburgh.

And there is no medical evidence that cannabis causes cancer. In a 
large study presented to the American Thoracic Society in 2006, even 
heavy users of smoked marijuana were found to have no increased risk 
of lung cancer.

There are a couple of good bills before the Legislature that would 
decriminalize marijuana. They cite a report we commissioned in 2007 
that found that Hawaii would realize millions in savings by 
decriminalizing pot; if we were to tax and regulate it, there would 
be substantial revenue.

Mr. Miller should consider the approach we took to cut tobacco use - 
education. Maybe he should begin by studying the evidence himself.

Pamela G. Lichty, Mph President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
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