USA Today gave a fairly scathing editorial against our approach to marijuana enforcement, drawing upon the Sentencing Project study. Definitely worth a read. The conclusion?
It’s time for a serious debate on whether massive arrests of low-level users are worth the cost or having any benefit.
And being willing to back up their statement, they offered our Drug Czar a chance to respond. Which he did with this more of the same old response.
Here’s an example:
We are more concerned about marijuana today. Studies long ago established marijuana as a risky substance. For youth, it is the single largest source of abuse and dependency. But compelling new research shows an increased public health threat.
First, marijuana potency has more than doubled within the past 10 years. […]
Note the complete nonsense when you read between the lines. “Risky”? Compared to what? “Single largest source of abuse and dependency”? Well, only if you define abuse as using something that’s against the law, and only if you define dependency as those who get caught and take treatment over jail.
And then note that nice little segue from compelling new research on public health dangers and increased potency. Oh no, he doesn’t come out and say it — he never does. But he’s a master at implying something that absolutely doesn’t exist and has absolutely no support in any studies: the connection between higher potency pot and… anything.
He does this all the time. He’ll say something like “This is not your grandfather’s pot. It’s much more potent, and recent studies have shown that the hole in the ozone layer is growing. That should be cause for alarm.” And people nod sagely and think “Oh, I didn’t realize it, but apparently today’s pot causes holes in the ozone layer.” Nobody questions why the two were put together.
So the one small quibble I have with the USA Today editorial, which was generally excellent, is that they, too, got caught.
Today’s more potent marijuana carries substantial health and social risks. It can lead to depression, thoughts of suicide and schizophrenia, especially among teens, according to government research. Its use should be discouraged.