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Josephine Sinner Hensley, Westborough, Mass., Published July 12 2013

Letter: Know the danger of legal marijuana

Visiting from a state where a single donor paid $1 million to secure a marijuana ballot question vote, I read with interest “Marijuana’s march toward mainstream …”

Communities in 18 states are now scrambling to keep marijuana merchants out of neighborhoods. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg calls “medical” marijuana one of the great hoaxes of all time. Even co-author of California’s 1996 Proposition 215, the Rev. Scott Imler, called “medical” marijuana dispensaries “little more than drug dealers with storefronts.”

Twenty-first-century pot is not your nostalgic Woodstock weed. It’s more potent and impairs cognitive function, especially in the adolescent brain through age 25. Among teens in drug treatment in Denver, 74 percent had received pot from a “medical” marijuana cardholder an average of 50 times. Massachusetts has four “recovery” high schools for kids in drug treatment.

A new bipartisan effort, Project SAM, proposes to:

• Inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana.

• Reduce unintended consequences of marijuana policies.

• Prevent a Big Marijuana like Big Tobacco.

• Research FDA-approved, pharmacy-dispensed, safe cannabis-based medications. www.learnaboutsam.org.

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. J. Michael Bostwick reviewed 100 studies after his teenage son became addicted to pot. He determined that “it was a very big deal.” There were addiction and psychosis issues in the medical evidence.

Marijuana in the mainstream marketplace would usher in a new addiction- based industry. If public health history teaches any lessons, it is that the young, families and the impoverished would be harmed most acutely.

Sinner Hensley, M.Ed., is a native of Casselton, N.D.