We are concerned by the marijuana misinformation in circulation – and in particular by the number of “expert” sources ignoring relevant scientific data. These include organizations such as the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, the Vermont Psychiatric Association, the Vermont Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Vermont Chapter of the American College of Physicians, the Vermont Public Health Association, Vermont Department of Liquor Control, the Vermont Department of Health, and individuals such as Dr. Paul Parker of Richmond. Why are so many experts repeating half-truths and outright falsehoods? This is especially disturbing because we Vermonters look to these medical and scientific bodies to inform our marijuana policy discussion. Further, when young people learn the real science, or gain experience of their own, they develop a legitimate cynicism that undermines their trust in our institutions. Hence, we write to promote greater integrity on the information-based side of our marijuana policy discussion.
Recently, I attended a public showing of the documentary “The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth.” The film has been traveling across the state, sponsored by local drug awareness groups to stimulate public discussion of potential marijuana legalization in Vermont. The film might more accurately be subtitled “Reefer Madness 2.0” …
Thanks to Ms. Slaton’s Letter, we awoke from our slumber, recognizing in her words a call for an about-face from our current focus on marijuana in Vermont. She asks, “What are we teaching [our children] if we legalize a substance that is known to be harmful to their development and their ability to learn?”
Bingo. She’s right.
If our children learn by paying attention to messages implicit in the law as Ms. Slaton suggests they do, then we are in big trouble, and we have already brought down immense harm on them by introducing them to alcohol.