Colorado: About Time Marijuana Truth is Told

March 8th, 2011 – Fort Collins Colorado – Dawn Nannini, a researcher with TEAM Fort Collins, is concerned that medical marijuana centers in Fort Collins are causing kids to lose their “perception of harm” about pot. (Coloradoan Soapbox, March 3.) Considering that the “perception” for decades has inaccurately been that marijuana is as dangerous and medically worthless as heroin, I’d say it’s about time.

What set Nannini’s hands to wringing is the expectation that City Council will vote to allow all 23 of the city’s medical marijuana centers to continue operating, even though 21 don’t conform to local regulations adopted after they’d opened for business. To her, this “sends a clear message to our youths about the not-so-harmful effects of marijuana.”

“The very term ‘medical’ lends the perception that this is a substance with healing properties when in fact the evidence for such is negligible,” she said.

What makes this Chicken Little reaction all the more disheartening is that her organization purports to educate teens and young adults about drugs. Apparently, that education doesn’t extend to an honest discussion about marijuana’s well-known therapeutic effects on nausea, muscle spasticity, pain relief or appetite stimulation for AIDS and cancer patients.

Having that conversation would presumably make pot seem less the deadly menace than it’s historically been made out to be, therefore leading to a more realistic “perception of harm.”

The irony, of course, is that “Reefer Madness” hysterics forged marijuana’s current “perception of harm” as a substance that turns mild-mannered citizens into murderous maniacs, lust-blind rapists and asylum-bound lunatics.

Unfounded hysteria about marijuana, conflation of its dangers and ridicule of its medicinal benefits has cost the United States dearly. The war on drugs has cost $1 trillion since 1970 and has been an utter failure, especially as it relates to marijuana consumption.

Billions are spent arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating nonviolent offenders, while medical patients who might benefit from marijuana’s ability to cope with chemotherapy or reduce muscle spasticity are left to either suffer needlessly or risk arrest.

Pot is available in any community in America, from street dealers who also are happy to peddle meth, heroin, cocaine, GHB and ecstasy to our children.


Fort Collins has the foresight to implement a highly regulated distribution model for, yes, medical marijuana that is stricter by several orders of magnitude than what is in place to keep deadly and addictive alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of teens, yet somehow Nannini finds it preferable to send patients who can’t or don’t want to grow for themselves back to the unrestricted underground market?

Talk about mixed messages.

Arguing against dispensaries because they threaten to correct old and inaccurate perceptions about marijuana is not the kind of drug education I want for my son. I tend to think teens can be trusted with the knowledge of marijuana’s real risks relative to other substances – especially alcohol and tobacco – and its real benefits to those suffering debilitating diseases and illnesses.

Keeping them from abusing any substance, including marijuana, is a laudable goal, but I prefer an honest debate rather than baseless fear mongering. If as a result my teenager’s “perception of harm” falls from the realm of the absurd to be more in line with reality, I’m all for it. Source.

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