In a recent letter, Joyce Nalepka of “Drug Free Kids: America’s Challenge” made a number of interesting claims (see “Pot is strong, bad,” Aug. 5, 2010). I’ll address a few of them.
First though, please, Google search “Joyce Nalepka.” Catch her claiming that everyone who smokes a joint supports the “Afghanistani” drug dealers associated with 9/11. (What?) Or her claim that membership in Students for Sensible Drug Policy should be treated just like illegal drug use. (Witch hunt, anyone?)
Ms. Nalepka apparently would like to have the hundreds of thousands of Montanans who have ever consumed cannabis be arrested and incarcerated for their sins. This anachronistic prohibitionist fails to recognize fundamental principles of justice and liberty held dear by Montanans, and a few other pesky details known as “facts.”
In its 40-year history, NORML’s position has always been clear that there is nothing wrong with responsible adult use of marijuana, and that to treat adult use as a criminal matter is an expensive policy disaster and a moral outrage.
As for Ms. Nalepka’s claim of cannabis containing 47.5 percent THC: The government’s own data on the matter, gathered and analyzed by the Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi, finds that there has been a modest increase in average potency since the early 1980s, from around 4 percent to around 10 percent recently. However, this does’t make marijuana more dangerous—people simply use less.
Ms. Nalepka also implies that marijuana cannot be used as medicine. However, the federal government owns a patent (No. 6630507) on cannabinoids as neuroprotectants, there are thousands of studies that prove the clinical effectiveness of cannabis in combating a wide variety of ailments, and there’s an FDA-approved synthetic form of THC available as a prescription. At this point, to deny this natural plant’s medical value is absurd.
The tide is turning, and prohibitionists like Ms. Nalepka are fast becoming an endangered species. Montana’s medical marijuana program is a blessing for many people, but now it’s time to get past medical, and regulate cannabis for all adults.