To the Editor,

The subject of marijuana, especially so-called “medical” marijuana, is frequently in the news, especially since there is a proposed bill to legalize “medical” marijuana before the Texas legislature.

IMPACT Communities would like to clear up some misperceptions and even wrong information being spread by proponents of legalizing marijuana for “medical” purposes.

First, the term itself is an oxymoron because any drug not approved by the Federal Drug Administration cannot be legally prescribed by a doctor. People don’t get a prescription for pot, they get a “recommendation.” Also, the FDA issued a statement more than 10 years ago against smoking marijuana as medicine.

Second, there is no evidence-based research that using marijuana in its raw or smoked form is good for a person. In fact, a former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Robert DuPont, says, “There is no acceptable role in modern medicine for using burning leaves as a drug delivery system because smoke is inherently unhealthy.”

Finally, what message are we sending to our children and teenagers? As Jimmy Capra, former Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration and board member for our umbrella organization, Drug Prevention Resources, says, when one in seven people who smokes marijuana becomes addicted, why are we still having conversations about marijuana?

The members of IMPACT Communities Coalitions are concerned. We know that when evidence of harm around marijuana decreases (as it will should SB 269 pass), drug use increases among adolescents whose brains aren’t fully developed until their mid-20s.

What parent or responsible adult wants their child’s brain development interrupted by a toxic chemical? Or for them to get behind the wheel of a car after smoking marijuana? Their chances of being involved in an accident doubles.

Our coalition exists to keep kids from using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. We educate the citizens of Ellis County in the best methods of communicating with teens and kids and we mobilize the entire community to ensure that we’re working together to keep our kids safe!

Jimmy Capra says that going down the path to marijuana legalization is “reckless and irresponsible.” We couldn’t agree more.

Shari Phillips, IMPACT Communities, Waxahachie