Letters to the Editor

Marijuana dispensary bad for Cedar Rapids

Opening up a marijuana dispensary in Cedar Rapidsis a setback for the community. The arguments that marijuana use is therapeutic is a sham and a cover for thinly disguised efforts to legalize its recreational use. The claims for therapeutic benefits are based on inconclusive evidence or are in areas where there are more effective and less toxic alternatives.

The deleterious side effects of marijuana use are well documented in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 5, 2014. The evidence indicates that long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction. This occurs in at least 9 percent of all users, but is 18 percent in those who start using it as teenagers and 25-50 percent in those who use it daily. Early and regular marijuana use predicts an increased risk of the use of other illicit drugs. As compared with unexposed controls, adults who smoked marijuana regularly during adolescence have impaired neural development in brain areas involved in alertness, self-conscious awareness and memory. Long-term, heavy use of marijuana results in impairments in memory and attention that persist and worsen with increasing years of regular use. Regular marijuana use is associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression. It also is linked with psychoses, including those associated with schizophrenia. Marijuana is the illicit drug most frequently reported in connection with impaired driving and accidents, including fatal accidents.

We should not be encouraging the widespread use of this toxic and addicting drug.

Daniel McGrail

Cedar Rapids

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