Pubdate: Thu, 09 Oct 2014
Source: Times, The (Shreveport, LA)
Copyright: 2014 The Times
Author: John Fleming


Re: Jerome McCollum, "We should be realists when it comes to marijuana,"
Oct. 7, 2B

As a growing body of data reveals the dangers with marijuana use and
the increasing problems in Colorado, where recreational pot is now
legal, I continue to oppose the decriminalization and legalization of
marijuana. As mentioned in a Times column (10/5/14), I explained why
at a recent conference. Interested readers should go to and scroll down on the front page to find my

At the heart of my opposition to opening the floodgates on marijuana
is the science that tells us that the most common diagnosis, by far,
of addiction in youth is marijuana. Fifteen percent of teens who use
pot will become addicted as opposed to only 9 percent of adults. As
pot is decriminalized or legalized, teen use goes up. According to
published reports, the Netherlands, where the use of pot is more
tolerated, experienced a fourfold increase in the number of teens
addicted to cannabis from 2002 to 2009.

Myths abound among pot proponents these days. They claim that taxing
and regulating marijuana will increase revenues and end the black
market. But, Colorado's experience is not good at all. Accidental
childhood poisonings from pot-laced candies and baked goods,
homelessness, and marijuana-related traffic accidents are on the rise
and the black market remains robust. Is the higher social cost worth
the unimpressive amount of tax revenue? Do you really want your
commercial pilot, bus driver, surgeon, your child's babysitter, or
other drivers on the road, stoned?

Marijuana is not a medicine. In fact, worrisome abnormalities on brain
scans are found even in casual marijuana users. Higher rates of
schizophrenia, and stroke and heart complications have also been
linked to marijuana users. As the Times column concluded, we need to
be realists about this subject. That means knowing the facts about the
very real dangers of marijuana, not facilitating the big money
interests that stand behind this legalization push.

Dr. John Fleming

Lousiana District 4, U.S. House of Representatives, Minden 
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