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