Matt Simon Pro-Cannabis LTE Published in Portsmouth Herald

Mike VineLocal Activism

Jan. 7 — To the Editor:

I’d like to thank the Herald for reaffirming its support for reducing marijuana penalties in New Hampshire. All five other New England states have removed their criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana, and voters overwhelmingly agree that New Hampshire should do so as well.

However, I felt it was necessary to respond to the Herald’s use of the term “brain-cell-killing” in its editorial (Jan. 3, “Legalizing recreational pot can wait”). There is, in fact, no currently accepted scientific evidence showing that marijuana use kills brain cells. By contrast, there is a great deal of evidence showing that heavy alcohol use causes permanent brain damage.

In the 1970s, some researchers claimed they had found evidence that marijuana kills brain cells. These early studies were widely publicized in an effort to justify marijuana’s inclusion in the War on Drugs. However, subsequent studies have not corroborated these results. As the Institute of Medicine reported in 1999, “Earlier studies purporting to show structural changes in the brains of heavy marijuana users have not been replicated with more sophisticated techniques.”

Alcohol is clearly much more damaging to the human brain than marijuana is. Accordingly, it makes little sense to continue criminalizing adults who choose to use the safer substance.

Matt Simon

New England Political Director

Marijuana Policy Project


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