ARLENE VIOLET – Pot dangers being ignored

ARLENE VIOLET – Pot dangers being ignored

Recently, Gov. Gina Raimondo rolled out her plan to legalize recreational marijuana. She dragged State Police Supt. Col. James M. Manni, who should have known better, into the fray by his testimony in support of such recklessness. The only thing worse than the colonel’s injury to the reputation of impartiality of his troopers was the governor’s strong-arming him as a partner in the sullying of the force’s reputation for being beyond politics in the pursuit of money for the state budget.

Recreational marijuana should be banned, not promoted. Notwithstanding my own leanings toward libertarianism, I know a public health problem when I see one. Certainly, marijuana may be applicable in a few narrow conditions for pain relief (so be it), but widespread use for non-medical conditions will lead to unintended consequences. After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.”

The proponents of recreational marijuana use reading this column are probably apoplectic. They may cite a single paper comparing overdose deaths state-by-state before 2010 which concluded that marijuana use makes it a potential substitute for opiates. In fact, the opposite is true. A January 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later, even after adjusting for other potential risks. Raimondo wants “to go to war” on opiate addiction, yet her very proposal to secure money for state coffers creates fertile ground for opioid abuse.

In 2006 about 3 million Americans reported using cannabis at least 300 times a year, the standard for daily use. By 2017, that number rose to 8 million. Cannabis users today also consume a drug that is far more potent as measured by THC-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in cannabis responsible for its psychoactive effect. In the “hippie days” of the 1960s, Americans smoked marijuana which contained less than 2 percent of THC. Today, marijuana contains 20-25 percent THC. As noted by Author Alex Berenson (Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence) “extracts are now nearly pure THC – think of the difference between near-beer to grain alcohol to understand the difference.” While the governor’s proposal limits THC to 5 percent, competitors will try to siphon off users by making a stronger drug.

Berenson’s book also cites statistics that the first four states to legalize marijuana for recreational use (Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon) combined had about 450 murders and 30,300 aggravated assaults the year before legalization. Taking into account the differences in population growth, they had an increase in those crimes of 37 percent in 2017, far greater than the national average.

Rhode Island’s countenance of medical marijuana wasn’t followed by too much of any education about its risks. Unlike cigarette warnings there is nary a peep about THC harm. Not all smokers get cancer but society has warned about cigarette use for those who do contract the disease. Based on past practice, Rhode Island may very well be mute since it wants the money from sales.

I don’t expect this column to change any minds. I just want to make sure folks know the truth about the science on marijuana. No Pollyanna, please.

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.

Comments

So you think we may cite "a single paper" supporting the fact that cannabis can help fight opioid addiction. (There's much, much more evidence for that than "a single paper.") In a feeble attempt to refute this, you cite... a single paper! Very funny.

The point about THC content is the usual circular "logic." Prohibition itself CAUSED the rise in THC content over the decades, for reasons that should be obvious. You make a problem worse, by your own actions, and then say it's an unsolvable problem because now it's worse? No.

A large majority of American voters - including a majority of Republicans (!) - now support legalization. Keeping it illegal in Rhode Island, after it's legal in BOTH Massachusetts and Connecticut, would be ridiculous even by Rhode Island standards.

In short----MEDICAL MARIJUANA is an entirely different topic and is not under discussion here. Totally agree with you, Atty. Violet, that RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA “should be banned, not promoted”. As you wrote... “In the “hippie days” of the 1960s, Americans smoked marijuana which contained less than 2 percent of THC. Today, marijuana contains 20-25 percent THC.” This drug is now MORE POWERFUL than ever.

There are many articles written about the NEGATIVE effects of marijuana; however, if one is PRO-Marijuana, he/she will never be able to CONVINCE the CON-Marijuana person that it is not a dangerous drug! Many recent articles have been published about how CANNABIS USE increases the risk of developing SCHIZOPHRENIA and other psychoses. Of course, it also makes sense that “the higher the use, the greater the risk”. One will never be able to convince the “Cannabis User” of the dangers which exist via that usage, however.

Under federal law, cannabis is treated like every other controlled substance, such as cocaine and heroin. The first four states to legalize marijuana for recreational use are Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. For those who believe that RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA should be approved in Rhode Island, please take the time to check out the Liberal State of California where many people are living on the “streets” in tents and how disgusting those particular areas are.

Is Rhode Island that DESPERATE for money that it would ALLOW recreational marijuana use. It would seem that the people's HEALTH would matter more, but we KNOW that the State has a great deficit, which of course, is not about to be cleared too soon.

Why is it that some people must “touch fire to realize that it burns”? Our Country is INFESTED with DRUGS! One would think that there would be MORE CONTROL taken by our governments, prior to instituting/legalizing NEW DRUGS! Whatever happened to “trying to protect the CHILDREN?” AMEN!

I'm kind of in the middle here; if adults want to ruin their bodies by smoking cigarettes or pot, well that's their choice. If folks want to eat greasy burgers and drink fattening soda, well, that's their choice. I do not believe the pot myth that it is some kind of wonder drug, but I believe it does ease pain for some folks, so if they want to use it, go for it. Like Pauline I'm worried about the normalization of it for children. We all know that kids get booze and cigarettes easily and pot will be no different. However, banning anything ( booze, guns, cocaine, heroin) never works, for the black market will always prevail. If we are going to legalize this stuff, let's attempt to keep it out of the hands of impressionable children.

The snow ball is already rolling down the hill.
your fear mongering isn't going to stop it. Cannabis is listed as a schedule 1 narcotic because it (According to the Federal govt.) has no medical use. By your own article you admit it does have medical uses. Once it is removed from the Schedule 1 list, we will have thousands of medical research studies and we will see who is correct. Right now Most researcher can not conduct these studies.
Second point. Who are you to tell me that something I have enjoyed illegally for the past 20 years is going to cause me to develop Schizophrenia. Are you telling me that there are 30 million people in this country with schizophrenia because of recreational cannabis? Does this single study you site include the number of participants and the percent of people you have developed this disorder.
STOP THE FEAR MONGERING. YOUR GENERATION IS LOSING ITS POLITICAL POWER AND THE GENERATION BEHIND YOU WERE NOT AROUND IN THE 60'S. THEY CAN NOT RELATE TO THIS ARGUMENT. They are basing their opinion on real wold fact and experience, NOT THE 60'S. and they will soon be making the political decisions for all of us.
If you disagree with it, that fine. But wait until we have more research to site medical psychosis issues.

First, it's understood that MARIJUANA is RAMPANT in both forms—medical & recreational—and YES, our politicians will soon be making the DECISIONS to LEGALIZE it!

There is no disagreement that MEDICAL marijuana is providing much relief for many people. Without getting into the SPECIFICS of MARIJUANA USAGE at this time, no one can DENY that marijuana is STILL a DRUG and does have some PHYSICAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL side effects.....as well as when combined with other drugs. Individuals will experience various symptoms of this drug, depending on its type of usages and strengths. One doesn't have to be a doctor or psychologist to REALIZE its effects, as they are quite evident in our society!

You are so CORRECT, WATCHING, in that OUR GENERATION [yes, I'm part of it] is '...losing its political power, and the generation behind us was not around in the 60's...'! The generation BEHIND us is not the one we should FEAR, however, because it's THAT generation's CHILDREN, the MILLENNIALS, who have absolutely NO IDEA of what's ahead of them. It begins with their FEELING of ENTITLEMENT to most everything! Their ANYTHING-GOES mentality does also involve the usage of RECREATIONAL DRUGS as well as other types of drugs!

WALKING, you wrote.... “Who are you to tell me that something I have enjoyed illegally for the past 20 years is going to cause me to develop Schizophrenia.” With all due respect to Atty. Violet, she never 'accused' you or anyone else [in her article] that you would develop Schizophrenia. Everyone makes his/her own choices and you made yours regarding “illegally enjoying marijuana for the past 20 years.”

Thus far, these responses appear to be a very good and civil debate. No doubt, there's a good reason for many people to NOT give their real name when responding, but I do question if all those who DO RESPOND to various articles would be as OPEN with their comments if they WERE NOT using FAKE NAMES?

Lastly, WALKING, the SNOW BALL is rapidly increasing in size, but maybe, just maybe, it'll hit a WALL and BREAK DOWN!!! AMEN!

WATCHING

So I guess that the CDC is guilty of fear mongering as well.

At it's page here: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects.html the CDC lists numerous negative health effects from smoking marijuana. Included in those negative effects is the mention of Schizophrenia. So I guess that the CDC is telling you!

From the CDC info: "Marijuana users are significantly more likely than nonusers to develop temporary psychosis (not knowing what is real, hallucinations and paranoia) and long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia (a type of mental illness where people might see or hear things that aren’t really there)."

If you are actually interested in factual information a simple Google search with result in numerous medical studies that show correlation with smoking marijuana and Schizophrenia......

I don't use marijuana, but I understand that people do. To each their own, until those habits cost me money (increased overall medical associated costs), threaten my safety (driving while impaired from THC, for example, etc.

So yes, the ball is already rolling down the hill. Hopefully not too many will be injured by it!

Why are people like PAULINE so upset about legalizing marijuana? Well it's because she comes from a time when people simply trusted the government. And the government abused that trust. Here's an article that explains the Nixon administration figured out that they could not make it illegal to be a hippie or black, so they decided to target marijuana and heroin: https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-dr...

Here is a direct quote from one of the people who did that:
"You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities," Ehrlichman said. "We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

Let me repeat a part of that "Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

That's the information that people like Arlene and PAULINE want you to believe.

Or heck, if you really are opposed to things like marijuana, what else are you opposed to? Alcohol? Nicotine? McDonald's? Cake? None of those things are particularly good for you, so go for it. Let's hear the "libertarian" arguments for banning all those things.

Can I get an amen?

Alcohol definitely causes liver cancer (for instance). There's no dispute about that. Everyone agrees about that. So obviously we should make alcohol illegal! Oh wait, we already tried that! Well that means we should just give up, let anybody drink whatever they want any time they want. Oh wait, we don't do that either. … Gosh, you might almost think there was some middle ground between total Prohibition and sensible regulation (with taxation). Go figure.

Unless someone wants to argue that the current system of Prohibition has been a complete success for the last 80 years, maybe you should be at least a bit open to a new approach, especially when our only two neighboring states will be doing that.

@northcumbresid: Correlation is not causation. Yes, a simple Google search of "marijuana and schizophrenia" brings up plenty of info, including some rather exasperated explanations from medical people that marijuana does not "cause" schizophrenia - that's a misunderstanding of the study - as well as lots of evidence that cannabis products can help alleviate the symptoms of schizophrenia! Hopefully you and I both have the same Google? :)

AMEN.
It doesn't sound like Arlene, Pauline or north Cumberland have any experience with cannabis. And that's fine. Those of us who do, don't have to site medical studies to know what is real and what isn't. Let's have numerous medical studies and find out who is right. I'm sure the truth is out there, we just can't prove anything with such a small amount of research.

Pauline, the Article does Say that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” So she kinda did accuse us of it.

The new superintendent has no choice but to back the governor its his boss, how do you think he got the job. He lost all respect from the other police in this state anyway. On another note who cares who's smoking DOPE just tax the crap out of it and be done with it

For clarification purposes----whether I'm upset or not about the LEGALIZATION of marijuana is neither here nor there because that is MY VIEW to which I am entitled! It has NOTHING to do with “trusting the Government, especially regarding NIXON! MY VIEW is that I consider the legalization of marijuana to be a DETRIMENT to our society, i.e., regarding the people's health and lifestyle! Your reference to NIXON and the “hippies and blacks” indicates a RACIST component. Your MESSAGE is “far off the track” in that you ARE NOT sticking to the topic-at-hand and are using “ad hominem” attacks to DEFEND your stance on this subject matter! When one can't defend his/her position, he/she DEFLECTS from the topic-at-hand! Enough said.

Apparently, you are Pro-Marijuana and I am Con-Marijuana, so we will NEVER agree regarding this topic........and I do respect your RIGHT to YOUR views!

You wrote...... “Or heck, if you really are opposed to things like marijuana, what else are you opposed to? Alcohol? Nicotine? McDonald's? Cake?” Your words of “THINGS LIKE MARIJUANA” make it sound like marijuana is an insignificant concern. Then, you name ALCOHOL and NICOTINE which are very significant ADDICTIVE CONCERNS regarding a person's health status! However, where “McDonald's and Cake come into the picture is beyond me. Also, I am not a “Libertarian”........I am a very proud Independent!

In my previous email, I wrote, “Thus far, the responses appear to be a very good and civil debate.” Let's try to keep it this way in the future instead of using “ad hominem” attacks.

Lastly, here are three "AMENS" for you----AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

Arlene Violet says, “I don’t expect this column to change any minds.” Wow, I've been reading op-eds since the LBJ administration and I don't recall ever seeing such an unconfident remark in an op-ed. One wonders why she bothers writing at all. :)

Unlike AG Violet, I hope that we legalization advocates can change a few minds with our comments here. We who support legalization are confident, and the facts are on our side. I hope we might even convince Ms. Violet and Mr. Ward! Maybe even Pauline, eventually.

In Congress there is bipartisan support for allowing states' rights on this issue, and for getting rid of the shameful roadblock at the V.A. that hinders veterans' access to medical marijuana (I am a V.A. patient).

And yes – comparing marijuana prohibition to the other Prohibition (of alcohol, 1920-1933) is exactly on target. Among many other possible comparisons, alcohol Prohibition was deeply unpopular in RI, and now a large majority of RI voters want marijuana to be legal. If we had a voter referendum process like Massachusetts does it would be legal already.

I'll stress again that Massachusetts has already legalized recreational marijuana, and Connecticut will soon. If Rhode Island were to keep it illegal under those circumstances it would be sheer lunacy. (Sheer lunacy is not unprecedented in RI state government, I admit, but maybe we can avoid it this time.) In that situation we'd have the worst of both worlds, and we'd lose a tremendous amount of tax revenue. Legalization is inevitable, eventually, so let's do it right.

Stop skewing statistics to fit the narrative...it’s terrible form for debate. Arlene pulls a snippet from the author’s work and applies it out of context and without full reference. When you read the full text and cross reference the data, you get a different result.

How are you going to reference the violent crime rates of the 4 states mentioned and combine them? Their legalization years and processes were all different, so you cannot combine them into any meaningful data. You then try to compare this against the national average and are unable to include an actual number, but defer to “far greater than the national average”. That’s just lazy.

Here’s context. Raleigh NC has seen an explosion of relocated residents in the past few years. Their violent crime rate has exploded in kind. No pot was introduced. Simply, a new population of people moved into the area and business and activity increased at a rate higher than normal. When a neighborhood keeps the same families for generations, the crime remains low, mainly due to community and familiarity. When the neighborhood “turns over” crime increases. This is true EVERYWHERE. Come to Woonsocket and see this in full effect.

Also, learn how to use data, context, and reference.

an AD HOMINEM attack is "ad hominem, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself"

Nothing I said was ad hominem. I'm explaining where the original fears of marijuana come from. I'm very explicitly arguing with people who are anti-legalization. No one ever said you don't have the right to an opinion, or I guess as you called it "ENTITLED".

And you're right, that was a very racist thing that the Nixon people did. I agree with you there. And that is the origin of the anti-legalization, ie. "marijuana is bad". You were lied to by them.

Where does the "CAKE AND McDONALD'S" come from? Well, you even said it yourself "i.e., regarding the people's health and lifestyle". Neither cake nor McDonald's are good for one's health, so I suspect you'd be against those too.

Can I get a few more AMENS??

Stateline, as you know, people's views often differ in many ways. I, personally, did not view AG Violet's above statement as being “an unconfident remark”....as you wrote. I, instead, viewed it as being an expectation [from her] that many people would NOT change their minds and agree with the contents of her article.

You wrote.... “We who support legalization are confident, and the facts are on our side.” This statement caused me to RESEARCH the definitions of “FACT and OPINION”. First, let's face it, we all accept the facts which SUPPORT us, but REJECT those which are against us.

Well, according to my research---”A FACT is a statement that can be PROVEN”, and “An OPINION is a STATEMENT that tells what someone THINKS or BELIEVES.....An OPINION cannot be proven.” It is also advised that... “a person should consider the source of their information as well as the evidence supporting it”. OPINIONS can also be based on a person's conviction, which is based on cultural or personal faith, morality or values. Just because something is LEGAL doesn't mean it's RIGHT!

Considering the above descriptions, no doubt, you will agree that, most often, people EXPRESS their OPINIONS vs. the FACTS regarding whatever they write or speak..

It is said that “When you poke the dragon, expect the flames!” There sure is a lot of POKING going on!!! AMEN!

Facts are facts. Opinion that is not backed up by facts is meaningless. For example, a water molecule (H2O) has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. That was a fact for billions of years before any human came along to figure it out, or state the amusing opinion that "hey, a drawing of a water molecule looks kind of like Mickey Mouse."

Your posts seem to indicate that you DO realize legalization in RI is inevitable. Since that is my main concern here I'll take that as a "win." :)

Pauline, based on your last comment.Is it a fact or Arlene's opinion (and yours) that Cannabis causes schizophrenia and other mental psychoses?

Natural plant versus man made pills by very rich companies trying to get richer? In the 60's there was a love fest that had a whole lot to with pot. Lovers not haters that we have today.There are some 2 hours shows on youtube with Dr.Sanjey Gupta, called Weed, Weed 2, weed 3, weed 4. With all the medical background and info people here should know before they go spouting off at the mouth that it is evil. Also another show on AWE channel on Fios that was called the history of Marijuanna. The United States patented Marijuanna in 1973 or 74. I know someone actually 2 people that have schizophrenia. One is also bi-polar.You can always tell when they are drinking booze and when they are smoking pot. The booze riles them and brings on anger, every time.When they smoke they are on an even keel. No anger. Always saying I love you, hugging etc.Alcohol is evil.How many people have died because of it, killed in car accidents,broken homes, beating spouses and killing them.THAT is the face of what's legal.
I also know that it does help for pain.Seizures especially are lessoned by the use.Babies with cancer sickened from the chemo also benefit from low dosage use. It raises their spirits so they feel better and it helps reduces nausea and gives them an appetite.Ms Violet needs to broaden her reading to other things that differ from her own opinions.Like the truth about marijuana. It helped my sister in law die peacefully from the cancer she had.Look before you leap people. You could be stopping people from using a beneficial medication with your
scare tactics.Get the facts.Not the myths.And no it's not a gateway drug.To those people that believe everything they hear.