Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2012
Source: Lincoln Journal Star (NE)
Copyright: 2012 Lincoln Journal Star
Author: Thomas Samuels


It's not often a letter like Susie Dugan's gets published ("Don't 
legalize marijuana," Dec. 29). Space constraints make a line-by-line 
refutation of her letter impractical, but she makes three 
particularly egregious claims that warrant correction.

First off, states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes 
have not seen increases in use among youths, but in fact have seen 
significant reductions, according to a number of studies referenced 
in an American Academy of Pediatrics publication.

Secondly, states that have legalized medical marijuana have actually 
seen a reduction in the number of traffic fatalities, a study from 
university researchers published in November shows.

Finally, a 20-year study recently published in the Journal of the 
American Medical Association reports marijuana is less hazardous than 
tobacco, and concludes: "Occasional and low cumulative marijuana use 
was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function."

The truth is that all the claims Dugan makes about marijuana in fact 
apply to alcohol and tobacco, two drugs that not are only legal, but 
culturally sacrosanct. Dugan decries how our youths are bombarded 
with propaganda, but she must be joking given what is really being 
marketed. This Bud's for you, Susie.

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug our youths face and is the true 
gateway drug through its disinhibiting effects. Every day of the week 
you can find sobering evidence in this paper of the social carnage 
associated with alcohol. While it is important to encourage our 
youths to avoid any drug use, it is unacceptable to lie to them as a 
means to that end. We must be honest with our children as they depend 
on us for leadership and factual information.

Thomas Samuels,

a Nebraskan temporarily living in Bozeman, Mont.
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