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Marijuana legalization is clouded in misinformation. Unlike alcohol or opioids, there have been very few legitimate studies done regarding marijuana's effects on users. Contrary to popular opinion and/or the biased marketing you have printed in the newspaper, the medical community has only endorsed marijuana use for pain relief in a few very narrow conditions. And in most of those cases, ibuprofen is more effective.

The actual peer reviewed studies that have been done on marijuana use are devastating. A January, 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later. A 2017 National Academy of Medicine study found that "cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk." A recent Swiss study of psychotic patients found that young men who used cannabis had a 50 percent chance of becoming violent.

It's obvious the state sees recreational legalization as a revenue source. But what is the cost to the citizenry? Of the four states that currently have legalized marijuana for recreational use, all have seen their aggravated assault and murder rates increase. While it's too early to determine causality, it is certainly prudent to wait for further study.

Steve Funk, Decatur

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