Editor: Marijuana is very harmful and should not be approved for Floridians on the November ballot. It causes permanent brain damage. Smokers have difficulty concentrating. They suffer loss of memory, and all intellectual performance is impaired, especially in speech and math. Also their personality and emotions are abnormally affected, causing dullness, lethargy, loss of sense of time, hostile suspiciousness, and a false sense of euphoria. THC, a toxic chemical in this drug rests mainly in the fat cells of the body, particularly the brain.
Marijuana damages the lungs and respiratory system 10 times faster than nicotine cigarettes. It also damages DNA (genetic cells) and the reproductive system and can cause abnormal births, according to a study at Columbia University.
A second Columbia University study found that a control group smoking a single marijuana cigarette every other day for a year had a white blood cell count that was 39 percent lower than normal, thus damaging the immune system and making the user more susceptible to infection and sickness. Five marijuana cigarettes a week have the same cancer causing capacity as 112 conventional cigarettes.
One marijuana cigarette causes a 41 percent decrease in driving skills. Two cigarettes cause a 63 percent decrease. Often it is difficult to detect a person who is stoned, as opposed to being drunk with alcohol and having an obvious odor. And all too often marijuana and alcohol are consumed together, studies find.
If we legalize marijuana or remove penalties for possession or use, hundreds of thousands of youth will be tempted to try it. It has been known to be a “gateway” drug to even more dangerous drugs also.
For these and many other reasons, marijuana should not be legalized in Florida.