Don’t downplay the negative impacts of marijuana

About marijuana (“Legalize It,” Jim Walsh, 1/16/14), what I do know is that my son’s first psychotic episode at age 17 was labeled “marijuana-induced paranoia,” according to the DSM III diagnostic manual. It’s strange this hasn’t appeared in recent media coverage. As the manual attests, my son was not the only one with that experience. So, Walsh’s casual, flippant tone concerns me. He warned his son “about the effects of weed on the developing teenage brain,” (whoa!) while also recounting his positive experience with weed and extolling it’s virtues. Excuse me — what’s wrong with this picture?! 

And Walsh maintains we are not truly free as long as smoking weed is a crime, especially since “guns, alcohol and tobacco are legal.” That’s an argument? It sounds flimsy, like an adolescent’s defense before a parent: ”It’s a free country!” Think about it: because x,y, and z dangerous things are legal, it’s okay to legalize additional dangerous activities? Incidentally, I feel pretty free — I’m sorry Walsh doesn’t and that weed is the touchstone for his sense of freedom. 

I don’t know the data on marijuana, but I do know it changed, irrevocably, my son’s life. He now lives with schizo-affective disorder in a group home. Let us not take lightly the use of marijuana.

Jean Greenwood