Letter: Yes, recreational marijuana is dangerous – Echo Press

To the editor:

Carlene Dean in the Feb. 21 Echo Press responded to an article in the Feb. 7 issue on Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen’s opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. She expressed amazement that Sen. Ingebrigtsen considered such legalization “dangerous” and wondered if he was “serious” or just “seriously misinformed/brainwashed?”

Many are unfortunately misinformed on this subject, but Sen. Ingebrigtsen is not one of them. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “about 30 percent of pot users will develop some sort of dependence on the drug, with 9 percent becoming addicted.” The NIDA’s January 15, 2020 testimony to Congress reported, “Frequent cannabis use during adolescence is associated with changes in areas of the brain involved in attention, memory, emotions, and motivation.” “The 2016 World Health Organization report and a 2017 National Academy of Sciences study depict marijuana as harmful and potentially addictive for up to 50 percent of users.”

Online, a Reddit forum, “r/leaves,” is “a support and recovery community for practical discussions about how to quit pot … or whatever THC-related product you’re using, and support in staying stopped.” It has 120,000 members, up from 66,000 in August 2018. “Teenage abuse is perhaps the most worrisome-17 percent of adolescent users turn into addicts, and three-fourths of adolescent admissions to publicly funded addiction treatment centers are marijuana-related.”

A major concern is that today’s marijuana has a much higher THC content than was the case 50 years ago. Percentages of THC 15% and above are now common. “Even in the Netherlands, known for its freewheeling drug policies, a government committee report proposed putting cannabis with more than 15 percent THC in the heroin and LSD category.” (Above quotes not otherwise identified are from Aug. 4 and Oct. 27, 2018 articles in WORLD magazine.)

Is legalized recreational marijuana dangerous? Absolutely.

Jonathan Philbrick

Alexandria, MN

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