To the Editor:
Re "Legalizing of Marijuana Raises Health Concerns" (The Consumer, Jan. 8): Why is Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, always the paper's go-to person when it comes to marijuana-related issues? Isn't it time we bring some fresh voices into the picture?
For those who think legalization will create more places for teenagers to buy pot, these places already exist: they're called high schools. No regulation means that marijuana can be sold anywhere, and that includes stairwells and playgrounds.
It's a funny thing about the so-called "dangers" of marijuana: we're still waiting for someone to show up at the morgue, dead from pot. It will never happen.
To the Editor:
A rise in admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities for marijuana is not necessarily a result of higher rates of addiction, as the article asserts, but an outcome of the increasing use of drug courts. Drug courts sentence offenders to treatment rather than prison for nonviolent drug-related offenses. Judges are giving those arrested for marijuana a choice: jail or treatment. For many, the choice is easy.
This does not mean that the rate of addiction for marijuana has increased; it has remained steady at 9 to 10 percent. The ease with which most people stop using marijuana can been seen in the fact that 42 percent of Americans reported using marijuana sometime in their lifetime, and most of these individuals stopped using without formal treatment, since only 12 percent reported regular use in the last year. Using treatment admissions for marijuana as a gauge for addiction is misleading.
The writer is with the Drug Policy Alliance.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.