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2008 Marijuana Sourcebook

2008 Marijuana Sourcebook

Attention marijuana users: The President’s Office of National Drug Control Policy thinks it has a pretty good idea of where you live. Last month, the office released its 2008 Marijuana Sourcebook (PDF), which includes a map of marijuana usage.Prime marijuana territory, according to the estimates, includes Northern California, upstate New York and New England, Alaska, Northern Florida, Northern Arizona, and Western Montana. Areas showing little interest in pot include Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and Utah.The Marijuana Sourcebook also features the controversial gateway hypothesis: “For younger users, the risk of marijuana abuse or dependency exceeds that for alcohol or tobacco. Recent research supports the ‘gateway’ dimension of marijuana — that its use creates greater risk of abuse or dependency on other drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.”Many addiction researchers consider the gateway hypothesis to be outmoded at best. In a 2006 article in the America Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School could find no evidence that teenage marijuana use is predictive of drug and alcohol abuse in later life. According to Ralph E. Tarter, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and lead author of the study, “the reverse pattern is just as accurate for predicting who might be at risk for developing a drug dependence disorder.”The Sourcebook also concludes that “smoked marijuana is not medicine,” and reminds readers that the FDA has not approved the use of cannabis for anything, at any time. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has always held that the medical marijuana movement is nothing but a front for increased drug trafficking. The report puts the case in terms nobody is likely to misconstrue: “The FDA, along with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, do not support the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes.”Even our friendly neighbors to the North come in for a bashing. “Canada is a consumer as well as a producer of marijuana,” the Sourcebook says, claiming that Canadian use has doubled since 1994.In addition, under the heading, “Marijuana Growers Present Environmental Hazards,” the Sourcebook estimates that one marijuana garden can generate “up to 53 30-gallon garbage bags of trash.”

Dirk Hanson is a freelance science reporter and novelist who lives in Minnesota.

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