I’m glad our city councils in Palmdale and Lancaster have resisted jumping on the marijuana bandwagon.

You still can’t buy it in shops here, and that’s a good thing. Since it be­came legal in our state (though still against fed­er­al laws), I have no­ticed many more people smo­king pot in public. Even though that remains illegal.

Something to think about as you detect the dis­tinct aroma of burning can­nabis emanating from our parks and street corners in 2019:

Former New York Times reporter and novelist Alex Berenson has written a new book debunking the myth of harmless mar­i­juana.

“Tell Your Children the Truth about Marijuana, Vio­lence and Mental Ill­ness” made an immediate sen­sa­tion after its release on Tuesday.

Not surprising that con­ser­vative talk show host Michael Medved was host to the author for an in­ter­view, but the far-left mag­a­zine Mother Jones also gave the book plenty of ink, admitting that what Berenson found is “scary.”

Like many of the best book projects, this one began with the author set­ting out to prove the opposite of what he ul­tim­ately found.

Berenson’s wife, a Har­vard-trained psy­chi­a­trist who evaluates crim­in­al defendants, told him about a particularly hein­ous crime. At the end of her account, she added: “Of course he was high, been smoking pot his whole life.”

That surprised Ber­en­son.

He smoked pot oc­ca­sion­ally in college and could not believe that the drug could play a role in violent acts the likes of which his wife described.

She insisted that al­most all the violent de­fend­ants she evaluated smoked marijuana.

The author decided to in­vestigate the science of smoking marijuana and to collect mounds of data that would — he thought — prove his wife wrong.

Instead, his research un­covered a connection to can­nabis and violent be­havior as far back as the 1800s, when a lawyer in India reported that 20% to 30% of mental patients ad­mitted to hospitals in Punjab suffered cannabis-related insanity.

It was because of vi­o­lence that Mexico declared the drug illegal in 1920 — years before the U.S. did.

The marijuana today is considerably more potent than that of the 1960s, when pot became popular on college campuses. De­vour­ing snacks and nod­ding off are not its only side effects.

Berenson examined crime statistics from states where marijuana is now legal. Proponents prom­ised legalization will lower crime rates, but the op­po­site has happened.

He looked at the four states that made pot legal in 2014 and 2015 — Ore­gon, Washington, Alaska, and Colorado — and found a combined 35% in­crease in murders in those states from 2013 to 2017, com­pared with a 20% rise nationally.

These numbers don’t rep­re­sent a statistical an­om­aly, Berenson told Med­ved. “It’s real.”

Likewise, he researched studies on links between marijuana use and schizophrenia.

True, as often pointed out here on page three, you can find studies to show almost anything, but Ber­en­son was struck by the preponderance of the evidence that marijuana today is not the harmless “rec­reational” drug its sup­porters claim.

He’s worth listening to.

William P. Warford’s col­umn appears every Tues­day, Friday and Sun­day.

Reporter who set out to prove otherwise found surprising results.

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