Letter to the Editor
Propaganda gives inaccurate data about marijuana
Saturday, April 26, 2003
To the editor:
I was very disturbed to see the negative stereotype you compounded with your recent editorial in support of the anti-marijuana laws that were nearly repealed in Columbia, Mo. The government propaganda has been deeply ingrained in our society, which is sad because so much of it is based on myths and bad science. How do I know? Last November the Journal of Clinical Psychology and the National Institute on Drug Abuse published a 100-page report on the effects of marijuana. These are just a few of the facts: Marijuana is bad for you, but not nearly so bad as alcohol or tobacco. It contains only a tenth of the amount of harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. THC, the active ingredient, is non-lethal and has an amazingly small rate of addiction in comparison to alcohol or tobacco.
The gateway theory is based on faulty science and statistics. An Institute of Medicine study in 1999 found that only one in four people who had used marijuana regularly had ever tried a harder drug, and only 1 percent of people who used the drug had ever become addicted to cocaine or heroin. Many people who use cocaine used marijuana, but that doesn't mean it was because of it. The majority of people who are drunken drivers have driver's licenses, but that doesn't mean that if you have a driver's license you're going to drink and drive. If we're debating this issue, we have to look beyond the propaganda.