- - Sunday, February 9, 2014

In the rush to decriminalize, legalize and accept marijuana into society as just another harmless social activity, we may be creating massive problems for the future.

Clearly, nothing said here is going to change the minds of those who think that marijuana is no worse than alcohol, tobacco or too much sugar, but even if that were true, why would we want to add another unhealthy product to the list? One problem, however, is that this belief is contrary to all of the science.

The minimum dangers, according to most of the research, are as follows: addiction, heart and lung complications (the jury is out on a connection to lung cancer, though), mental illness, car accidents, IQ loss and poor academic performance, poor job performance and loss of quality of life.

The research is out there for legislators, teachers, parents and anyone interested in knowing the truth before making decisions about the use of marijuana. Other countries have tried decriminalization or legalization; let us hear from them on their results.

A second problem is that the media coverage of the issue seems to leave out the science. In the majority of mainstream-media stories on the subject, there is at most a brief reference to the science or opposition views, but there is rarely in-depth discussion or presentation of facts, leaving most of us just hearing the “it’s not dangerous” refrain.

Then there’s the crime. We have seen the costs of marijuana rise significantly in those areas where it has been legalized.

Put that together with the high rate of school dropouts, youth unemployment and continued poverty in inner cities — and then form your own conclusions about what comes next.

ROBERT A. POGGI

Alexandria