If ignorance was bliss, I’d probably be a lot happier. On the other hand, if ad hominem attacks, poor research, worse logic and out-of-context quotes constituted bliss, than Michael He would be floating even higher than the marijuana smokers he attempts to blast.

In his article about the gubernatorial candidacy of Scott Jeffrey, He spends a solid 90 percent of his argument making noises against the legalization of marijuana. So let’s start from the top.

“The [reasons for legalizing marijuana] all seem well-founded, unless you’re remotely conscious and have an IQ higher than 35.” In addition to being grossly insulting to people with mental retardation, the only significance of this remark is to attempt to poison the well ? to indicate to readers that they are stupid if they believe that there may be some good in legalizing marijuana.

The argument proceeds to say that “even suggesting that a majority’s action is somehow equivalent to legality is preposterous . . .” Although this wasn’t the intent of the remark, it’s worth pointing out that probably the best known majority action ? voting ? tends to create legality in this country.

Michael He moves on to claim that marijuana is at least as harmful as either alcohol or tobacco. As evidence, he quotes Dr. Danielle Piomelli of University of California Irvine, out of context, “There is no question that it is dangerous. Heavy smoking of marijuana has been shown exhaustively to be as dangerous as or more dangerous than smoking tobacco.”

If we actually read the USA Today article ? the only source he bothered to look at ? we find that there was another sentence in that quote which was deleted. “Smoking is not a natural way of consuming any substance.”

Let me offer you another quote, from the same article, by Dr. Piomelli. “We need to make chemical tools that are clean and selective and produce the effect of THC without all the other effects of various components of marijuana smoke.”

Piomelli and other sources go on to say that marijuana research may very well lead to medical advances in multiple areas, and that marijuana use has medical worth ? even through smoking. If you were curious, “heavy smoking” indicates daily usage of more than a gram of marijuana (Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, Canada).

He’s article zips right along to claim that smoking marijuana causes head, neck and lung cancer. Had he bothered to actually read the study in question he would have found the following disclaimer, “The results need to be interpreted with some caution in drawing causal inferences because of certain methodological limitations, especially with regard to interactions.”

The study’s abstract says that, “Our results suggest that marijuana use may increase the risk of head and neck cancer a strong dose-response pattern.”

Among the documented beneficial effects of marijuana/THC ? treatment of a type of previously fatal brain cancer, controlling ADD, reducing muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis patients, reducing the risk of lymphatic cancer, treatment of glaucoma, anorexia and a wide range of painkilling benefits.

In addition, THC has been long proven to be an anti-carcinogen (Harris, Medical College of Virginia). Furthermore, the “Boston Globe” reports “the U.S. federal government has failed to make public its own 1994 study that undercuts its position that marijuana is carcinogenic ? a $2 million study by the National Toxicology Program.

The program’s deputy director, John Bucher says the study found absolutely no evidence of cancer. In fact, “animals that received THC had fewer cancers.” A Kaiser-Permanente study from the American Journal of Public Health concluded that the risks of using marijuana were far less than that of tobacco.

Agencies of many governments, including Australia, Britain, Canada and our own, have repeatedly recommended decriminalization of marijuana. While marijuana use may cause problems, especially in gross excess, it is definitely not the chimaera that Michael He has made it out to be.

Again from Dr. Piomelli, “If you compare different evils, marijuana is probably one of the least and probably should still be considered as such.

That is not to say that marijuana is harmless. It is a drug. All drugs ? legal and illegal ? can be harmful.” I can only conclude that He was looking for an easy target to begin his career in journalism. He failed. And if anyone s curious, I don’t smoke.

Bushnell is a sophomore and can be reached at rbushnell@campustimes.org.

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