Pubdate: Fri, 05 Oct 2012
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)
Copyright: 2012 The Topeka Capital-Journal
Author: Max Wilson


Almost every year, attempts are made to get medical-excuse marijuana 
laws passed in Kansas. These attempts tend to drive public perception 
of marijuana as being less harmful than it is and as an acceptable 
drug for use.

The weakening of medical marijuana laws, laws that violate the FDA 
approval process in the first place, facilitate abuse. The overall 
atmosphere with the softening of marijuana laws does put young people 
at greater risk as a result of diminished perception of risk or harm 
of using marijuana.

Marijuana use and illicit prescription drug use is increasing among 
Kansas youths. If medical-excuse marijuana laws were passed, we would 
expect to see a huge upsurge in marijuana availability added to the 
mix of deadly illicit prescription drugs available to youths.

The density of alcohol and tobacco sales outlets contributes to 
availability and an increase in illicit use of these drugs. Reports 
from states that have passed medical-excuse marijuana laws also 
indicate the greater the number of prescription providers and 
outlets, the greater the increase in the number of people using 
marijuana illicitly.

Marijuana users of all ages perform more poorly than nonusers on 
cognitive tasks, especially those that require executive function. 
New research shows that early users (people who begin marijuana use 
before age 16) have more difficulty than late onset users. Age of 
onset, frequency of use and amount of use were all factors in poor 
cognitive performance.

Onset of marijuana use during adolescence is now also linked to 
altered brain development leading to long-term cognitive impairment.

Kansas can ill afford the additional increases in risks to our 
children, youths and adults that medical-excuse marijuana would bring 
to our state.


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