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.