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'Health Herb?' 

Editor:

Thanks so very much for publishing a brief description of research findings on the health effects of marijuana use from The Atlantic ("The High Price of Freedom," Aug. 23).

The downsides are many yet never discussed. We know it has an impact on the developing brain, which doesn't stop until about the age of 25, but the students refer to it as a health herb.

We know that it impacts motivation, focus and productivity, so it's not a good way to start the day, especially when heading to school or to work. The research findings that are studying the effects of second-hand smoke from weed are not looking good, yet it is difficult to get away from the smell in our community. And first-hand smoke itself, regardless from where it comes, is deleterious to the lungs and body.

While we don't want to turn back the hands of time, we absolutely need well-defined discussions that address both positive and negative impacts so people have free choice — without the information and education, I would argue, there is no significant choice to make when smoking "the herb." Given current, positive-only information, it seems like a no-brainer since many people don't realize how much it can screw with their brain and health. 

Rita Carole, McKinleyville

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