Pubdate: Sat, 28 Jun 2014
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Post Company
Author: T. Alan Ramsey
Page: A14


In her June 25 op-ed column, "A scientist's view of pot myths," Ruth 
Marcus described Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug 
Abuse, as very concerned about the marijuana legalization experiments 
in Colorado and Washington state. However, Dr. Volkow reiterated 
several assumptions of dubious scientific validity.

She claimed that alcohol is less dangerous than marijuana. The 
kindest thing one can say about that claim is that there is no 
scientific consensus that this is true. Dr. Volkow also said that 
there will be much greater exposure of people to marijuana if it is 
legalized. The liberalization of marijuana laws in several other 
countries leaves it uncertain whether there will be a significant 
increase in marijuana use or not.

Dr. Volkow was correct to say that we don't entirely know the 
consequences of the legalization of marijuana. In that sense, 
Colorado and Washington are social laboratories from which we may 
gain more knowledge. However, any evaluation of the danger of a drug 
policy should include the many negative consequences that we know 
have resulted from a 40-plus-year war on drugs and the fact that 
marijuana use in our society has not decreased during that time.

T. Alan Ramsey, Silver Spring
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