Pubdate: Fri, 03 Jul 2015
Source: Daily Courier (Prescott, AZ)
Copyright: 2015 Prescott Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Toni Denis


Marijuana causes kids to kill themselves! It makes IQs drop!! If 
children accidentally eat edibles, they will be poisoned!!!

OK, now that I have your attention, I just want to say that none of 
the above is proven to be true. But Sheila Polk, Yavapai County 
attorney, and her anti-drug MATForce group has spread such propaganda 
in statewide programs and billboards.

As legalization spreads across this country, many of the early biased 
studies requiring a negative end result to obtain funding are being 
disproven. For instance, the assertion that marijuana impacts IQ has 
been shown untrue by a long-term Australian study and a recent 
Harvard University report. The Harvard study shows the impact of 
heavy marijuana use on learning and memory disappears within 28 days 
of stopping use. Heavy alcohol users, by comparison, have memory 
deficits for months, or even years.

Cannabis use also produces positive results for people with medical 
conditions, such as glaucoma, cancer and seizure conditions as well 
as chronic pain. Cannabis oil has been proven to shrink tumors. As 
far as recreational use goes, for adults, marijuana is less harmful 
than alcohol. A study from University College in London found that 
cannabis usage actually increased connections in the brain and 
improved creativity. Our Founding Father Thomas Jefferson was a regular user.

No one believes young people should use pot. Nor should teens use 
alcohol, cigarettes, cough syrup, prescription medication or any 
number of other substances to get high or heighten their senses. 
However, according to a State University of New York study derived 
from studies by the federal government and states where medical 
marijuana is legal, usage among teens has dropped in all but two 
states, Michigan and New Mexico; but, the change is small enough to 
be within the margin of error. In Colorado, use has dropped 
significantly. Teens find it more difficult to access illegal 
marijuana now that it is being regulated and controlled, and the 
state has a widespread education program.

As far as overdosing, it's impossible to be poisoned by marijuana. On 
the other hand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention, 2,221 people died of alcohol poisoning between 2010 and 
2012, the latest period available. An average of six people die of 
alcohol poisoning each day. Also, life-threatening overdoses are 
caused by over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen, 
ibuprofen and cough syrup. In 2007, 27,658 people accidentally 
overdosed on those drugs. Should we make them illegal?

Facts don't seem to matter to Polk. MATForce is using, as a speaker, 
a mother whose son killed himself and left a note that pot ruined his 
life. People don't kill themselves because they smoke pot - they kill 
themselves because they have untreated depression. I am very 
sympathetic to the grieving mother - that's the worst loss I can 
imagine. But I find it disturbing that she is being exploited for 
political gain. Polk used her scare tactics and manipulated 
statistics at a recent Arizona State University forum and was 
challenged on all of them.

The Arizona Republican Party is against legalization, according to 
the Phoenix Business Journal. But many GOP members favor it.

In Texas, Ann Lee, an 85-year-old grandmother, is leading Republicans 
Against Marijuana Prohibition, with chapters in North Carolina and 
Maine. She says criminalizing marijuana goes against the Republican 
Party's core small government values and it's "immoral" to give 
someone a felony record for possession. Texas Republican Rep. David 
Simpson introduced a marijuana legalization bill for recreational and 
medicinal use.

Polk has said people don't go to county jail for possession of pot, 
but I've heard otherwise. Since possession of a small amount is a 
felony, tough plea bargains are forced on those with records. 
Possession arrests are a wedge to incarcerate - and that's why many 
elected officials support keeping pot illegal.

Marijuana prohibition criminalizes young people - and particularly 
hurts minorities. Regulating, taxing and controlling marijuana is a 
much more responsible approach than incarcerating users.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom