Commentary: The Medical Community Is Not Buying Amendment 2 |

Smokable marijuana has four times the amount of tar as tobacco and possesses the same carcinogenic properties. Decisions on medicine need to be based on scientific review and not on ballot initiatives. Proponents of Amendment 2 have cast themselves as seeking to help patients suffering from the most serious illnesses, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS. However, Colorados marijuana patient database shows that only 3 percent of those using the drug for purported medical purposes cited cancer and only 1 percent cited HIV/AIDS. However, 94 percent of the users said they need marijuana for pain, which can be a very subjective determination and one that can easily mask obtaining the drug for recreational use. In testimony before the Florida Supreme Court, lawyers for Amendment 2 proponents argued that a student stressed out over exams could be given pot if that was appropriate in the opinion of a doctor. Again, the proponents were describing how marijuana would be available to those with undefined debilitating conditions, but under hard questioning from the justices, the truth came out. There is little debate over one major aspect of marijuanas effect on people: Marijuana has a very negative effect on the adolescent brain. A 2013 Northwestern University study found that teens who were heavy marijuana users had abnormal changes in their brain structures related to working memory and that these teens performed poorly on memory tasks. The study also found the marijuana-related brain abnormalities are correlated with a poor working memory performance and look similar to schizophrenia-related brain abnormalities. Mike Dillon, a former undercover narcotics officer and school resource officer with the Mesa County Sheriffs Department, told us that Colorados approval of medical marijuana made it readily available to middle and high school students, who typically raided their parents supply or obtained the drug for recreational use through someone who was authorized to receive it as a patient.
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