Think twice, and twice again, before making another drug legal.
Ask the right questions, and you won’t back it
Is medical marijuana really medicine? Has it been researched, tested, and deemed safe and reliable, meeting the standards we expect from medical professionals? Is there any other modern medicine that is “smoked?” Has the FDA approved smoking as a safe delivery system for any medicine? Is there a scientific method for consistent and safe dosing for marijuana?
Undoubtedly, the answer is “no” to all of these questions. Calling marijuana “medicine” is more than misleading when a study of medical-marijuana users found the average “patient” is a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of life-threatening disease.
Marijuana is addictive. Research shows that teens are six times more likely to be in treatment for marijuana addiction than for all other illegal drugs combined (source: National Institute on Drug Abuse). Marijuana use negatively affects the developing teen brain and is associated with mental-health problems. Weekly use of marijuana doubles a teen’s risk of depression and anxiety, and can lead to schizophrenia and suicide (NIDA, again). Marijuana use is associated with poor school performance (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
Our experience with our legalized drugs — alcohol and tobacco — provides a clear warning for keeping marijuana illegal. Alcohol kills 100,000 people annually. Tobacco kills another 500,000 people every year. Our two legal drugs are the biggest contributors to health care costs in this country. These drugs are pushed by big corporations with one thing in mind: to make money — and lots of it. Keep in mind that marijuana commercialization is the inevitable next step. I hope my public-health colleagues remember the myriad lies told by the tobacco industry until uncovered — and realize that Big Cannabis is a business proposition we can’t afford.
LEEANN MORTENSEN, Coon Rapids
Homeowners deserve to have influence, too
Regarding “Property values, public good: Which trumps?” (Readers Writer, Feb. 21): As long as big corporations and the “1 percent” are allowed to influence political decisions by giving what they would consider minor monetary contributions that could save them millions or tens of millions of dollars, I think I should have the right to voice an opinion that could save me thousands or tens of thousands of dollars of property value.
DAVID BRANDT, Minnetonka
Takeoff route burden applies to us, too
Regarding “FAA pulls the plug on compromise takeoff plan” (Feb. 20): I live directly under one of the proposed “RNAV” routes, right next to three schools, two day cares and a huge Catholic church with a Spanish-speaking congregation. Our buildings are more than 100 years old and could never be modified to withstand the polluted freeway of jets overhead — 17 percent of departures from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
The revolution of Edina and southwest Minneapolis property owners described in the story painted a very materialistic uprising. Kingfield, my middle-class and immigrant neighborhood, worked hard to defeat the poorly constructed navigation plan put forth by the Federal Aviation Administration. Give us a plan that doesn’t place the heaviest burden on a few.
DEAN AMUNDSON, Minneapolis
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.