As reported Friday in The Frederick News-Post’s front-page article (“Overdose rate spurs a change in tactics”), Frederick County, like so many other parts of the country, is experiencing an epidemic increase in the use of harmful substances. In addition to heroin, this includes the abuse of alcohol, prescription opioid medications and marijuana. Yes, both the latter two can be harmful, but also beneficial if used in a medically responsible manner.

Marijuana use in Frederick County is a subject of local interest with the county government’s proposal to expand areas where medical marijuana may be grown and the latest Centers for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavioral Survey, which indicated that several thousand students in the county’s high schools (27 percent in 12th grade) use non-medical marijuana on a regular basis.

The well-attended (1,000-plus) National Institutes of Health’s March 22 and 23 Marijuana and Cannabinoids Conference, which I had the privilege of attending, presented a balanced view of this complex and controversial subject.

The presenters were prestigious, educated leaders from universities, think tanks, medical service providers, nonprofits and government research organizations. The research presented included both the positive and negative aspects of marijuana use. A few of the beneficial and harmful aspects presented were:

Marijuana was reported to be helpful in treating epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, certain types of pain and other medical conditions.

Depending upon the regularity of use and the potency of marijuana, there were reported to be significant harmful physical and psychological effects. These are most pronounced when marijuana initiation begins early while the brain is developing (adolescents).

A cogent observation made by an articulate, highly educated presenter at the conference was that policy decisions — poorly informed, poorly defined and made too quickly — are having unintended adverse consequences. Informed decision-making, based on broad and thorough education, is the key to better formulating public policy.

Tom Werner


(28) comments


I used to smoke multiple times a day. I stopped to get a job with no side effects EASILY, I know doctors, lawyers, scientists, nurses, artists, IT, programers, security, supervisors, and teachers who smoke it. It's not a big deal.... get over yourselves. Anybody that says that marijuana is addicting is ignorant. Anyone who says marijuana is worse than alcohol is ignorant. Anyone who says the drug war is a good idea is ignorant. Anyone who says marijuana makes you "trip" should go and smoke marijuana to see what its like. Anyone who says marijuana will make you promiscuous or belligerent should go try marijuana and see what its like. STOP BEING IGNORANT.

JD Farm

Dick D, and anyone else taking this position.
I think you are missing the point entirely regarding the comparisons of Cannabis to alcohol, and cigs. The point is not the realization that there are harms, which by the way Cannabis is regarded as 114 times safer than alcohol the most deadly mind altering substance known- that's more than 10 to the second power. There's a link but you can do your own research.
The point really is twofold. First why on earth would we allow alcohol which destroys more lives including those around the user, and jail those who would choose a farrrrrr less dangerous substance to themselves, which is also farrrrrr less dangerous to those around the user ?
second, Is it really the governments place to direct what anyone chooses to put into their body ?
Furthermore how can government do so in any way measurably successful way ?

The war on drugs has cost taxpayers billions of dollars in attempts at interdiction, yet trafficking of drugs, and the demand for drugs reaches new heights.
One can only conclude this is poor policy.
This is not a supply side issue, it is a demand side issue.

Which brings us to: Prohibition.
The evidence of prohibition policies of substances with medium to high demand is utterly clear, and can be summarized in this simple economic principle. "demand will be met". Some one is going to meet the demand for these things regardless of
So that you don't miss the saliency of that point. How are markets best run ?

Al Capone (black market), gangs,violence against rivals (disputes solved in streets),territories staked out by violence, violence against police,violence by police, violence against bystanders,black marketers have no regard for who they sell to (underage no I.D. check) lack of respect of law from citizens who see obvious failure of government,having no cogent policy.

Free market - Much the same as above, but some operators may feel social pressure to keep away form youth, and most disputes solved in courts instead of streets (less violence). Citizens lack respect for Government, though not as resolved, because lack of cogent policy.

Regulated market - Violence is removed from the equation, competition stakes out territories, disputes resolved in courts, Youth is largely removed from access due to above board operators who want to keep their license (I.D. checked),products are tested for impurities, citizens have respect for government due to cogent policies.
Now you could argue there will always be bootleggers; True,but how well are they doing compared to Anheuser Busch, Jack Daniels, and the like, besides who wants to consume booze made with an old car radiator containing lead, and god knows what, or bathtub Gin yuck.

No,the time has come for sane,cogent policy that makes our society a better one to live in.



And you think a drugged society, where the users cannot get a job because they cannot pass an employer's drug test is good. You think a person taking drugs of any kind that stay in the system for a month or more is good, even though it effects there judgement and ability to perform. Think what you want, it is not a matter of comparing alcohol to marijuanna, both are bad.


Your utopian idea and condescending attitude toward the average human being is incredible. You probably preach abstinence over birth control because everybody's supposed to be pure as driven snow sorry dick it's not like that and being human is ok

JD Farm

Hi Dick: Do you,or someone you know drink any of the following Coffee,Tea,Soda,energy drink ? Those all contain an addictive,mind altering drug.

It is I believe your mis perception of Cannabis that gets in your way to clarity.

If coffee had been made illegal, you might be asking me about the coffee heads in our drugged out society, and how will it turn out for them getting "drug tested".
Cannabis does not remove you from reality anymore than coffee does.
you would be truly amazed at how many folks you interact with economically
that are Cannabis users. I'm not saying they are high at work,Most Cannabis users don't, but they are regular users who would absolutely fail a test.

There are a lot of folks like yourself who've been taught from the government all their lives that Cannabis is bad, Well Ive got news for you Dick, sometimes your government lies to you. I know it's hard to believe,but it's true.
Like for instance this little tidbit they have failed since 1998 to widely distribute, and thus lied by omission - US 6630507 B1 - That is a patent number owned by Your government for for Cannabis as an antioxidant, and neuroprotectant. I won't bother with a link, I know you'll do your due diligence.

I don't think you've given Cannabis a fair shake Dick,and you don't seem to me like the sort to not do your own research, and come to your own conclusions, before someone like the government does your concluding for you.
I'm pretty certain that you know, and like quite a number of people who are cannabis users, they know it's a sore spot, they don't bring it up, they're not trying to get you on it. My point is that your displeasure with Cannabis, and it's users is an illusory wall constructed on preconceived notions.

Let's make a better society together Dick. Look up that patent, consider my points of regulation instead of prohibition. Alcohol prohibition, and the repeal thereof, speaks plainly, and in volumes about how people act regarding policy , and it's easy well documented history to access
Do some research about Cannabis, ask some of your younger relatives 20's & 30's for honest opinions.

Have a nice night Dick.


[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] thanks JD I been trying to get this point across for years!Dick is irrational on this issue

JD Farm

Yeah Vic, you know since the Nixon administration the Government has really done a good job scaring the tar out of folks about Cannabis, Nixon even had information removed from libraries. Folks need to be informed of all the information kept hidden. I don't blame them, they are basing their position on one set of selected information (selected by NIDA or the DEA) whose jobs depend on continued prohibition, and as Upton Sinclair said — 'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'

The "drug war" is just another place for the Government to spend, spend, spend, with no end in sight. Why ? There is no end in sight for demand either.

As I stated in a previous post revisiting the alcohol prohibition era, and how people react to the different policies is an excellent place to learn how destructive prohibition really is. It is a war on people, and it is always accompanied by violence
on all sides.

If you want people to stop a poor behavior you educate them about it.
Take cigarettes, when I was a kid every single adult I knew smoked em'
Now its a fringe activity at best.
The Government knew they didn't have any real dirt on Cannabis, and thus would not be able to use that tack.
From the Shafer report. “[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use,” concluded the Commission, which included several conservative appointees of then-President Richard Nixon. “It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance.

“… Therefore, the Commission recommends ... [that the] possession of marijuana for personal use no longer be an offense, [and that the] casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration, no longer be an offense.”
We already know Nixon was in fact a crook, but he was also a crooked man with a delusional sense of self righteousness,even when he was pointedly wrong....


Funny how some people will cling to a belief even when facts don't support it. Or will search for agreement with their view and ignore all the other experts who don't agree. A lie started the "war on drugs". A lie to control people. And it is still working. But not with as many people as it used to so this will change too. Marijuana will eventually be legalized. And the world will not come to an end because of it - hey, maybe it will help those red faced angry people calm down. Now that would be nice!


"Funny how some people will cling to a belief even when facts don't support it."

Even funnier are the people who think such faith is a virtue.


Here is the web site:


For those that feel marijuanna is harmless go to WebMd and see how doctors, trained in handling drugs feel about it. No BS about their brother, just medical facts.


To me medical marijuanna is a no-brainer. If it is the only or the best treatment for a medical condition, I'm all for it. However, most support medical marijuanna as a step towards legalizing it for recreational use. Despite claims that marijuanna is a benign little herb, I have seen it destroy the lives of people I know. It makes them lethargic and kills their motivation to do anything. Yes, the same could be said of alcohol, but the effects of alcohol seem to have a shorter duration. Most people I know can have a glass of wine or a beer daily without problem. Further, marijuanna smoking poses dangers to others through its second hand smoke. We must proceed with caution.


Have you ever smoked marijuana Clare? Alcohol is physically addicting and has killed more people directly and indirectly then any drug in history! Criminalization has killed more people then the drugs! Thanks Tricky Dick and Ronnie Raygun!


Yes, there are problems with alcohol. I wasn't saying that. What I am opposed to are those who dismiss ANY negative effects of marijuana. After all, if it is a potent medicine, it will have side effects. While it may not be physically addicting it is psychologically addicting. While I agree that prisons are not the place for drug users, I have seen too many lives destroyed by illegal AND legal substances to just say, "Oh sure, go smoke pot. It's completely harmless." It isn't. And, yes, I did try it in college, but it wasn't for me.


You are right, Clare and one in 6 will become addicted. A lot of it depends on the amount used, the strength, method, and duration.


Marijuana is not physically addicting alcohol is, marijuana can kill you alcohol can, tobacco is physically addicting and can kill you. Water is necessary for life but if you jump in the lake and tried to drink it it'll kill you


Marijuana can not kill you. Water is necessary for life but if you try to drink the lake it'll kill you


And we are to bow to your infinite wisdom and ignore doctors? Give me a break. Smoke weed if you want, but there are harmful effects. And don't tell me about alcohol and tobacco again, there is no denying they are bad too, but they are not the issue here.


And aren't you asking the same? For us to "bow to your infinite wisdom and ignore" (other) doctors.


Tom your way behind the times on your letter and info. Adolescents are inherently affected differently from Adults about almost everything! That's why there is an age limit on Alcohol! I was involved in a program 30 years ago with High School kids and I was one of the few who had actually smoked Weed! I was 23 while I was in Nam in 1969 when I first smoked Weed and I didn't have a problem nor did anyone I knew have a problem. When I was in Nam the only guys who got in fights were the Drunks Not the Heads! I eventually stopped smoking Weed in my early 30s,because I lost interest in intoxication. My personal experience is that Alcohol is far worse and especially for kids. My brother is 69 and has been smoking weed for 50 years and he runs his own business and is very successful.


Good summary, Tom. Short on details, but it does explain why Frederick County needs to go slow on medical marijuanna. It could have included information about how it will draw crime, wherever there is a farm approved for growing marijuanna.


John Ehrlichman (Nixon, Watergate): "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."


Exactly - and now proof. But people will deny deny deny


If legalization is based on harmfulness then why are Alcohol and Tobacco Legal?


You are right, but you are beating a "dead horse".


haha Dick - this is you! "you are beating a "dead horse". You absolutely refuse to consider you may have been duped.


That's right! Hit the Nail in the Head!!! Yes, alcohol is bad...a glass of wine over dinner? It has those antioxidants !!!! :) weed will mess up your memory, and Alcohol will bring up the natural people's frustrations to light, both with consequences. But using drugs as a scapegoat without knowing how did we got here, is naive...just think about the business around correctional facilities for example...if you follow the money, you will find interesting facts about lobying, that thing that became legal bribery....


The alcohol industry is lobbying against the legalization of marijuana because they know they're addictive drug will suffer loss of sales. I saw a story about a football game in Denver where there is a legal marijuana distribution store , tailgate parties are still there and the enthusiasm is still there but the fighting is gone

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