Amy Dickinson writes a syndicated column for a number of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. This question and answer appeared in the April 6, 2017 editions. The marijuana lobby wrote a book, Marijuana is Safer, full of misinformation. We believe it’s important to publish this message from the Ask Amy column.
Dear Amy: I have a 25-year-old granddaughter who will call a taxi or use a designated driver if she is going to be drinking, but she thinks it’s fine to smoke pot and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
I have told her that she is probably more impaired after smoking pot then if she had a couple of drinks.
She totally disagrees. I have spoken to other pot smokers, and a lot of them agree with her.
How can I get her to understand the severe consequences that could happen to herself or some innocent person if she drives impaired?
Dear Frustrated: I shared your question with a spokesperson with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has published studies on this.
Their response: “There seems to be a common misperception — that people can compensate (and in fact drive more slowly than normal) under the influence of marijuana. But the research says something different — marijuana increases your risk of being in a car crash about two-fold, and also increases your risk of being at fault for the accident.”
“These effects are not as dramatic as the effects of alcohol (which increases your risk about five-fold at the 0.08 legal limit), but the combination of the two — marijuana and alcohol — is even worse than either one alone.”
That last point is important. If your granddaughter is using alcohol and marijuana at the same time (as many people do), she should not drive.
Editor’s Note: The number of fatal crashes — especially in the states of Washington and Colorado — caused by THC-impaired drivers suggests that NORML and Marijuana Policy Project need to issue warnings against marijuana and driving.
Policy More than other Factors Creates Problem of Drug Use
However, there’s a group of non-traumatized adults abusing their children because the US government has allowed the normalization of marijuana. Because marijuana users can lose interest and are susceptible to psychosis, it’s particularly important not to use pot if you have children.
Up to eighty percent of child abuse and neglect involves substance abuse, a fact that violence prevention groups ignore or deny.* The denial is helpful to the strategy of making drug use socially acceptable. NORML and Marijuana Policy Project encourage marijuana use, while Drug Policy Alliance wishes to legalize all drugs and thus normalize drug use.
The same groups that promote legalization suggest that harm reduction strategies work. Policy based on harm reduction promotes “responsible use” of drugs, and promotes a lie. Recently, a five-year-old drowned, because her babysitter used pot at 8:30 a.m. and stopped watching her.
States that decide to legalize pot must realize that their decision profound effects on the friends and families of marijuana users. Our blog on suicides tells of teens and young adults who lived mainly in environments that normalized marijuana use. For the most part, they did not use marijuana because of trauma, although one was a veteran.
Drug-Related Deaths far Outnumber Deaths by Cars or Guns
Genetic and environmental factors that influence drug use are compounded by a society that normalizes drug use. The Center for Disease Control recently released statistics about accidental deaths:
52,404 drug-related deaths, up 11%.
37,757 died in car crashes, an increase of 12%.
36,252 gun deaths, including homicides and suicides
As we try to cope with a growing number of children affected by ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), the United States is embarking on a program to legalize all drugs. Little children are losing their parents at an alarming rate, adding to the trauma and ACE scores of the future.
Taking away children from drug-using mothers is not the answer, because separation from the moms also creates traumatized children. Child protection workers are in a Catch 22 situation. Techniques described in Part 2 can perhaps help the children traumatized by parents’ drug use.
The 13-year-old boy described above has an excellent counselor for his his PTSD. EMDR is working right now and providing the healing needed at this time. A postscript will present more advice on how to provide help for traumatized children.
*Our information is mainly from CASA Columbia. A good current reference Ed Gogek’s book, Marijuana Debunked. Several studies are mentioned in our six-part series on child abuse deaths related to pot. Parents Opposed to Pot has tried to share stories with Futures Without Violence, but they banned us from posting on their Facebook page.
Social Justice is a pretext, the handy catch phrase to get people to support the legalization of pot. The idea doesn’t come from disadvantaged minorities. “Marijuana legalization is the worst way forward to reforming drug policy for the minority community,” claims Will Jones, founder of Two is Enough D.C.
It was easy to cut through the illusion by watching Ethan Nadelmann at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance, was bragging to his supporters about how profitable the marijuana industry is. At the end of the video, when the cameras was on him, he added “and don’t forget social justice.” It sounded like an afterthought. He must have been joking. Nadelmann makes at least $280,000 a year to advocate for marijuana legalization, a salary funded by George Soros’ yearly gifts of $4 million to DPA. The Drug Policy Alliance advocates for the legalization of all drugs.
Jones, whose family has always been involved in the Civil Rights movement, is enraged by the social justice message. “If you aren’t a minority, maybe legalization does look ok because you’re not going to have the deluge of (pot) stores in your community,” Liquor shops are on every block in his neighborhood. Jones admonishes the marijuana industry for “cherry picking criminal justice issues to conveniently pick a statistic that helps them.” Of the places that voted to legalize pot, only Washington DC has managed to stay free of commercial pot stores.
Where’s the Real Social Justice in a Mind-Destroying Drug?
We question the sincerity of those who promote “social justice” as a reason to legalize marijuana. What is the “social justice” in promoting a substance that lowers your IQ, weakens memory and directly contributes to the mental illness as a causal factor? Even without drug testing, using pot makes some people lazy and less likely to get a job.
Legalizers claim they don’t support underage pot use. They say pot is for adults only, but the age limit of 21 doesn’t keep alcohol away from minors. The problem of underage use is more pronounced for marijuana. It’s a fact that 19- and 20-year-olds use marijuana more frequently than other ages. Most people give up weed in adulthood, except for addicts, a statistic the marijuana industry hopes to change.
It’s unfortunate that blacks and Hispanics are arrested more frequently for pot than whites. Instead of encouraging less drug use, DPA, NORML and the ACLU manipulate opinion. Financial opportunists connected to these lobbies pretend pot is harmless and that arrest discrepancies will be solved by legalization. Is an arrest so bad? If it stops a disadvantaged youth from going onto drug addiction, that person’s future will hold more promise. “I want to make sure our children get a clear and unambiguous message as it relates to drug use it is wrong and it is dangerous,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in 2012. At the time, 87 percent of the time cases were dismissed for those arrested in Chicago for marijuana.
Alternatives that don’t involve Legalization
Those who believe in social justice, should look into policies to reduce drug-related crimes and its ugly bedfellow, drug addiction. Even if the “war on drugs didn’t work,” it’s false to claim legalization and incarceration are the only options. Those trying to legalize marijuana intentionally scramble the messages so the public confuses decriminalization with legalization.
Drug courts and treatment have been criminal justice options for more than 20 years. There are many choices for reforming drug policy which don’t involve legalization.
Convincing people that hundreds of thousands of people are in prison for marijuana use only is one of the false narratives of the legalization movement. The Sacramento Bee recently investigated and couldn’t find a single low level marijuana offender in California prisons.Criminal justice experts agree that loosening drug possession laws would have little effect on the total numbers in prison. There are plenty of ways to revise and improve criminal justice without harming people, and drug use harms people.
Since legalization, the number of actual marijuana users has increased to 13% of people ages 12 and older. Thirty percent of those users, or 6 million people have Cannabis Use Disorder. The business model of increasing addiction and making money off of those who are addicted is working.
by Randy Philbrick, Director, Smart Approaches to Marijuana – Oregon. In the information age you have to be careful what information you put out there. Anything you say can quickly be fact checked with a quick Google search. With that said, you may see pro-marijuana groups and journalists put out articles with stats that really make marijuana and legalization look pretty harmless.
When you look at the NORML or Marijuana Policy Project Facebook pages you will see things like “Teen use down despite legalization” or “Marijuana is the safest drug out there.” Then they will back up their claims with what looks like very good evidence, but is it really that good?
Let’s look at the “Teen use down despite legalization.” There have been several articles and Facebook posts claiming that teen use is down across the country and they will use the Monitoring the Future survey as their source. When you look at the Monitoring the Future survey it does in fact back up their claim that teen marijuana use is down on the national level. But then there was another survey that was released last fall just after that one from SAMHSA that tells a different story. In this survey they broke it down into a state by state look at teen marijuana use. The results of this survey reported past month use of Marijuana in the 12-17 year old demographic as well as last years results.
1. Colorado 12.56% Up from 11.16% 2. Vermont 11.40% Up from 11.34% 3. Rhode Island 10.64% Down from 12.95% 4. Wash DC 10.56% Up from 9.89% 5. OREGON 10.19% UP FROM 9.59% 6. Washington 10.06% Up from 9.81%
One commonality you see in the list above is that 4 of them have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but all of them have legalized “Medical” marijuana. In fact 22 out of the top 25 states are MMJ states. So what do you think is more damming for legalization, a nation survey or a state by state? I think the state by state is more damming and that’s why legalizers won’t use it.
It’s called watering down the truth.
Legalized Marijuana = + Crime in CO
Another example is “Crime in Colorado has gone down since legalization.” Well when you look at the crime stats for the whole state, yes it fits their claim. There has been a decrease in violent crimes in the past year. But when you look at Colorado you will notice that 55% of the states population is in the Denver Metro area. The rest of the state has a very low population density with some areas having a density of 1 person for every 100 miles. Many of those places are in areas that have opted out of marijuana. Now when you look at the crime rate in the Denver Metro area you will notice that crime has gone up with Homicide going up about 70% in one year.
But again, they have to water down their stats. When you look at the big picture instead of the watered down legalization picture then you start to see a clearer picture. That picture is that with lowered perception of harm and easy access to legalized marijuana use among teens will go up. They have to get the next generation of customers hooked or legalization is a waste of time.