Speaking recently at the Heritage Foundation, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the Justice Department is “reviewing” an Obama administration memorandum that calls for the agency to take a largely “hands-off’ approach to states that are regulating adult marijuana use. “We are reviewing that policy. We haven’t changed it, but we are reviewing it,” Rosenstein said.
But while such inflammatory claims by culture warriors like Coulter are to be expected – and may readily be dismissed – the notion that smoking pot will have lasting negative impacts on intelligence is a longstanding one, and a claim that is all too often made by those on both sides of the political spectrum. Yet the latest science finds little to no factual basis for this contention.
According to a comprehensive review by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, “few marijuana users become dependent” upon pot. By contrast, those who drink alcohol are nearly twice as likely to do so problematically.
Most recently, data published in The Journal of Urban Economics reports that dispensary operators deter neighborhood crime. Researchers at the University of Southern California assessed the impact of dispensary closures on crime rates in the city of Los Angeles. Investigators identified an immediate increase in criminal activity – particularly property crime, larceny, and auto break ins – in the areas where dispensary operations were forced to close as compared to crime rates in those neighborhoods where marijuana retailers remained open for business.
It is time for politicians to put to rest the myth that cannabis is a gateway to the use of other controlled substances — a theory that is neither supported by modern science or empirical data.