Charles Stimson is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs and is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. He recently penned an article where he attempts to dispel the positive effects of marijuana and pointed out its more negative ones.
Stimson claims that although the fight to keep marijuana legalization at bay has been lost, it really hasn’t. He says that while we have heard mostly about the passing of legalization measures in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, Florida didn’t pass their measure and five cities in “pot-crazy Colorado outlawed the sale of marijuana, including Lakewood, Canon City, Palisade, Palmer Lake and Ramah.”
Stimson also points to a recent Gallup poll from November that showed support for marijuana legalization is down seven points from last year, from 58 percent to 51 percent, with liberal support for legalization dropping four points from last year.
Stimson thinks that what may be happening is that the public is starting to pay attention to scientific data and the actual dangers of marijuana, along with the negative stories coming out of Colorado and Washington State.
He says, “The science is clear and unambiguous – pot is a dangerous substance. It is not like alcohol at all. There is a reason it is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance, right along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy. The American Medical Association, the American Lung Association and other reputable doctors and scientists all reject legalization.”
He also calls to attention the “liberal editorial pages” of The Washington Post, who “urged voters not to legalize pot in the ballot initiative this past Nov. 4. The Post noted that ‘the rush to legalize marijuana gives us – and we hope voters – serious pause.’”
In the past, Stimson has written that pot-positive traffic fatalities have gone up 100 percent since voters legalized pot in Colorado, saying, “this is true despite the fact that overall traffic fatalities in Colorado have gone down since 2007.”
He referred to a report by a federal grant-funded agency in Colorado that found seven specific negative side effects that pot legalization has caused in Colorado:
1) the majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana;
2) youth consumption of marijuana has increased;
3) drug-related suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent over a 5-year period and a majority was for marijuana;
4) an increase in college users;
5) almost 50 percent of Denver arrestees tested positive for marijuana;
6) marijuana-related emergency room visits increased 57 percent from 2011-2013; and
7) marijuana-related hospitalizations has increased 82 percent since 2008.
More of Stinson’s research includes references to studies pointing to the dangers of marijuana. “For example, the British health research journal The Lancet Psychiatry recently concluded that teens who smoke marijuana are ‘also 60 percent less likely to graduate college and seven times more likely to attempt suicide.’” He also refrernced the Journal of Addiction from Kings College London, which found that marijuana is highly addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway drug to other illegal and dangerous drugs.
Stinson ended his piece by saying, “add to that the recent study where 9.7 percent of respondents reported that they had smoked marijuana before coming to work, and you can see why responsible citizens, including employers and parents, are starting to question the pro-pot canard that smoking marijuana is no big deal and actually good for you.”