Tuesday, February 9 , 2016, 3:22 pm | Partly Cloudy 83º

Letter to the Editor: Lest We Forget ... The Dangers of Marijuana for Our Nation’s Youth

By Penny Jenkins |

As voters in Washington and Colorado approved a ballot question to allow the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, and Massachusetts joined 17 other states and the District of Columbia in supporting “medical” marijuana, it’s important to consider the impact this will have on the perception — especially among youth — that marijuana use is benign or even healthy.

Research from the National Institutes of Health shows marijuana harms adolescent cognitive brain development, contains carcinogens, and is linked to mental illness, especially schizophrenia. Marijuana use by drivers doubles the risk of car crashes.

A longitudinal study supported by NIDA shows that persistent marijuana use decreases IQ as much as 8 points, moving a person of average intelligence into the lower third of intelligence.

Gen. Arthur Dean, chairman of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, remarked in response to the passage of these ballot measures: “Marijuana use is related to a host of health and safety concerns, and frankly, dulls your brain. Our nation cannot afford to raise a generation of pot smokers and expect to compete in this high-tech, global economy. We need a reality check.”

Penny Jenkins, President/CEO
Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse


» on 11.15.12 @ 09:42 PM

McDonalds makes you fat, gives yuo diabetes, and is a distraction hazard while driving.  Still, we don’t imprison peopel and ruin their lives over it.  As far as kids go, we will take a commonly-available substance and regulate it behind counters where an ID must be shown.  All due respect, get with the times…

» on 11.16.12 @ 03:27 AM

And how does that legal drug, alcohol, compare?  Babies born with near zero IQs, with many more illness and deaths per year due to alcohol use (marijuana 2X vs. alcohol 1000X?), families broken up, etc.  Meanwhile, “illegal” black market drugs have cartels enlisting enforcers that assault you on the street, and have jails filling up with herb users and the pushers, etc. 

A regulated marijuana industry will take this admittedly stupid making, but relatively harmless, drug out of the black market and should be self funding for needed treatment of the confused.  The rest of the drug industry should be likewise regulated, taxed, and funding education and treatment at a rate to keep the growth of drug use on a downhill slope. 

How can the President of the SB Council on the drug Alcohol & other Drug Abuse not make that comparison?  Probably her funding is from the alcohol industry and associates.  Time to drink another glass of wine and complain about the other drugs.

However, if alcohol was once again made illegal, I would almost be supportive of keeping all other recreational drugs illegal.  But our all too human-animal world goes bananas when there is a prohibition against something.  The police, lawyers, and corrections industry are the ones that make out like bandits.

» on 11.16.12 @ 11:46 AM

“It’s time for the Justice Department to recognize the sovereignty of the states,” ~J.Brown.  As much as I resist the idea of legalizing more drugs… or discouraged that our society even wants to… If legalizing pot is the path towards waking up people to the need for states to have less federal control, then I’ll accept it. Something has to wake Jerry Brown up. Something has to open people’s eyes to the fact that the original purpose of the Federal govt was limited to: defending the shores, establishing a system of currency, delivering the mail and protecting individual rights.

» on 11.16.12 @ 12:11 PM

Penny, you are just plain wrong.

I won’t waste my time and the time of readers stating the reasons.

Perhaps you should consider giving up your post as President/CEO of Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse and allow someone else with a less biased position take over.

BTW, we already have many generations of pot smokers.

» on 11.16.12 @ 02:58 PM

You’ve made an excellent argument for making alcoholic beverages illegal.

» on 12.18.12 @ 10:03 PM

Please continue to lobby against decriminalization of cannabis in violation of federal law as CEO of a public nonprofit dependent on income from court-ordered services provided to residents convicted of crimes involving cannabis. Please also continue press releases with statements that operators of medical cannabis dispensaries are not allowed to make a profit, (while earning in the top 5% as CEO of a non-profit) and are violating federal law. The hypocrisy puts your comments in the appropriate context.

» on 12.19.12 @ 11:29 AM

14noscams, you have got to be kidding me.  You’re telling me that it’s better to put marijuana smokers in prison because it makes you money.  That’s sick.

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