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Don Bessee

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November 19, 2012
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Stoner syndrome and the ASA smoke screen

In a recent editorial, the ASA (Americans for Safe Access) continued the “big lie” campaign.

This tactic was used to great effect by dictators and still works with those who do not pay attention to the facts. Facts recently established by long-term medical studies and the official records of Colorado since it opened dispensaries.

First, what are the impacts of free-for-all “medical marijuana,” and second, what really happens to stoners who start at age 13?

Before I detail those issues, let’s correct a few claims by the ASA: Pot is not legal in California, so the Sheriff could not have made it illegal; it already is. The fact that only a third of complaints generated citations does not invalidate the complaint. It just means that most people come into compliance when given verbal counseling on how to come into compliance. The third who resisted the law received a well deserved citation. To try and co-opt the property owner issue as theirs is an attempt to obscure the fact that it was homeowners across the county who demanded and received protection for their families and property investments in the form of the ordinance.

Our friends in Colorado just took another big step down the self-destructive “pot free-for-all” path. State statistics since Colorado allowed dispensaries in 2008 show exactly what was predicted by the opponents of pot shops. Daily users went from 15 percent of the population to 30 percent. Did they all suddenly get cancer? No, in fact, the records show that only two percent of recommendations went to cancer patients and less than one percent to people with AIDS. The average recommendation went to a 32-year-old man who had prior issues with meth, alcohol or cocaine. In Denver, a study of adolescents in drug rehab show 74 percent of the kids said they regularly got their pot from adults with recommendations. How sad.

The stoner syndrome is a medical fact now.

A 30-plus year study following children proved a link with early regular use of pot and a demonstrable drop in IQ. So if you take an average 13-year-old with an IQ of 100 (50th percentile) and he starts the stoner lifestyle, he will likely have his IQ drop to the 35th percentile. Is that what you want for your child? This was reinforced by their family and friends’ objective view of their cognitive function and ability to focus.

As it stands, seven percent of high school seniors are regular pot users by graduation. Where does that leave them? Unemployable by any company that drug tests as a condition of employment. Then they can expect the impact on their IQ to only make them less desirable to employers and less functional in society.

There was one humorous note in Patricia Smith’s editorial, the often-repeated threat, “We will fight all the way to the Supreme Court.”

This while on the front page on the same day, criminal defense attorney Munkelt snivels about the county forcing them into federal court on the civil rights issues. Why was he unhappy? Because federal courts will continue to laugh at the ASA’s claims and toss them because pot is against federal law.

While the ASA will continue to push the image of a sick old lady as its constituency, the truth is the dealer on Wolf Drive was more the typical scenario: no job in a normal sense (like most of the abated growers), a renter, his driveway full of shiny cars with custom rims and pit bulls roaming free terrorizing the neighborhood, destroying area homeowners’ quality of life.

The drive for legalization of pot is leaving a legacy of people with stoner syndrome who will never reach their God-given potential. Regular users of pot self-report that they are less happy and less motivated than the general population. Would you want that for any member of your family? Pot does not cure cancer and is not the panacea as professed by the ASA. I wonder how many MMJ users would swap pot for free Sativex, the cannabinoid spray that has no high? The ordinance protects our children and neighborhoods.

Don Bessee lives in Grass Valley.

The drive for legalization of pot is leaving a legacy of people with stoner syndrome who will never reach their God-given potential.


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The Union Updated Nov 19, 2012 08:30PM Published Nov 24, 2012 09:27AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.