Voting down pot

Washington Times 1 August 2016
Family First Comment:  “Voters considering legalizing marijuana on Election Day (in the US) should look past vested interests’ view that marijuana is safe. They should make their vote with the clear eyes of the scientific community, not the bloodshot ones of pot proponents.”
Good advice not only for Americans voting, but also for NZ.

Voters in at least five states, including California, will be asked whether they want to legalize marijuana for casual use on Election Day. Four states and Washington D.C. have already taken this step. “This is really a watershed year for marijuana legalization,” said F. Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Proponents like the Drug Policy Alliance claim that legalization should occur partially for “health” reasons. The Marijuana Policy Project has called pot “harmless.” Others say it is “safe” and even “healthy.” Nearly all proponents seem to deny or minimize its risks. Popular culture reinforces this view portraying use generally as a risk-free endeavor. And big business looking to cash in on legalization is all too happy to propagate this claim.

But here’s the problem: This view is out of step with the medical literature. In fact, a scientific consensus exists that marijuana has serious health implications — even for casual users. Voters considering legalization on Election Day shouldn’t overlook these risks.

Start with marijuana’s impact on users’ IQ and motivation. A major New Zealand study that tracked users over many years found that chronic use starting in adolescence is associated with an average 8-point drop in IQ in mid-adulthood. That is a big percentage drop not to be taken lightly. The study found that even those who quit in adulthood were not able to recover these IQ points. Several other large studies conclude that use can cause impairment of cognitive ability at any age, though to a lesser degree.

Research also shows a link between marijuana use and a motivational syndrome — characterized by reduced determination and drive. It is reaffirmed by several studies that have linked marijuana use to criminal behavior, unemployment, lower incomes, greater welfare dependence, and lower life satisfaction.

Marijuana’s negative effects go beyond slacking. Research shows that it disrupts the brain areas that regulate posture, coordination, balance and reaction time. These side effects are why several large studies find that that drivers high on marijuana are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for a car accident.

Voters considering legalizing marijuana on Election Day should look past vested interests’ view that marijuana is safe. They should make their vote with the clear eyes of the scientific community, not the bloodshot ones of pot proponents.
READ MORE: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/1/a-case-against-legalizing-marijuana/

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