Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Compelling Editorial

Today the Boston Herald highlighted in an editorial the need for stricter marijuana enforcement laws on our minors because of the inherent dangers of cannabis’ effects on a developing brain. The newspaper cited a recent study by New Zealand’s University of Otaga and Duke University faculty members that found that teens who smoke marijuana frequently suffer a long term drop in their IQ.

The study commenced in the early 1970’s and followed the births of 1,037 New Zealanders who were born in either 1972 or 1973. Researchers tested their intelligence periodically beginning at the age of 13, and concluded that on average the intelligence of users of marijuana decreased proportionally with the amount of marijuana consumed as a minor. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The PNAS is a peer-reviewed association, and an abstract of the study can be viewed by clicking here.

A bill I filed this legislative session would address this very issue by utilizing a progressive punishment system that incorporates diversion programs and pretrial probation. Should a minor ultimately receive a conviction, the penalty would be a misdemeanor, and mimics that of minor possession of alcohol: a fine and loss of license. It is unlikely to pass before the end of this legislative session; however, I will be filing it again once the new session commences.

Please click here to read today’s editorial by the Boston Herald.