Dangerous MarijuanaPosted: May 31, 2016
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
In March 2016, Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy became the latest victim of marijuana use. He was killed when a speeding auto swerved across several highway lanes and crashed into his parked police cruiser. Clardy, the married father of seven, had pulled over a speeder and was writing a ticket for its driver when he died in his wrecked vehicle. He never had a chance when the careening vehicle smashed into his well-marked police cruiser.
The distraught driver of the auto killing Clardy was found to have visited a medical marijuana dispensary a mere hour before he caused the fatal crash. Investigators discovered that he had purchased several marijuana cigarettes and they found a partially burnt remnant of one in his auto. A sample of his blood taken almost immediately showed the presence of THC, the active marijuana ingredient. This man certainly appears to have been stoned while behind the wheel. The “high” he experienced should have kept him off the road because he was not competent to drive an automobile.
The tragic death of Clardy, a Marine Corps veteran and a well-respected trooper, confirmed that marijuana use, even when obtained legally, presents a danger to the user and to the public at large. The connection between marijuana and the loss of Trooper Clardy should reverse the thinking of anyone claiming that using marijuana is harmless. Whether its use is for medical reasons or for what is termed “recreation,” marijuana dulls mental capability and converts a user into a potentially hazardous human being, especially when behind the wheel of an auto.
Forty years ago, a sizable majority of medical authorities studying the effects of marijuana confirmed that its use is dangerous enough to label it a poison. As reported in published 1974 U.S. Senate hearings, a group of eminently qualified doctors concluded that steady use of marijuana:
1) damaged the body’s cellular structure
2) caused structural changes in brain cells
3) impaired the human reproductive system
4) led to a variety of respiratory diseases
5) left its dangerous ingredients in the body unlike alcohol that a body disposes of within 24 hours
6) impaired mental functions.
Over the years, numerous doctors have made similar claims.
The doctors reaching these conclusions also stated that marijuana users regularly develop a tolerance for the substance and turn to harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin or whatever will give them their sought-after high. Many who became addicted to “hard” drugs started with marijuana and graduated into their dependency on the harder drugs that steer a once-productive life into a regimen of hellish misery.
In short, there is plenty of evidence showing that marijuana is destructive of healthy bodies and sound minds. It also converts users into danger-filled creatures who may mean no harm to others, but whose effect on non-users can even be fatal, something discovered with great sadness by the Clardy family.
Some states have already legalized marijuana production and sale, even describing their move as supplying “recreation.” If government’s purpose includes protection of life and property, such recreation should not be tolerated and should be outlawed. Any medicinal users should be barred from using an automobile – or driving a school bus, piloting an airplane, performing operations on patients, etc.
Smoking marijuana is akin to playing Russian Roulette. But the victim might be someone other than the individual playing that senseless game.
Editor’s note of clarification: While we don’t agree with recreational use of marijuana, The John Birch Society does not endorse the federal war on drugs. It is the responsibility of the states to decide.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.