By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Legal marijuana still a mind-altering drug

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Oregonians are in the vanguard of a trend toward nationwide legalization of recreational marijuana, and baby boomers older than 60 must feel a little bit conflicted about it all.

This generation was the last to know what it was like to go through junior high and high school without being surrounded by illegal, mind-altering drugs. Marijuana was barely a rumor in smalltown America back in 1964, but by 1967 it was everywhere. On its heels came the psychedelics, then the harder drugs, and the country has suffered in so many ways from the resulting epidemic.

Throughout those 50 years, however, we continued to experience the ravages of alcohol abuse on individuals and families, not to mention death and destruction from alcohol-related accidents. We never could quite understand why the country opted to embrace and integrate one dangerous drug into its culture while imprisoning users of an arguably less dangerous drug.

So, after decades of second-guessing, we finally legalized marijuana. As the general acceptance of that decision morphs into the reality of what comes next, let’s not forget that cannabis is still a mind-altering drug.

People often think of humorous situations involving marijuana: the munchies, the silly laughs, the transformation of everyday images into temporarily meaningful art. But people also should remember the disorientation, the enhancement of fears and paranoia, the decline of judgment, and worse.

Here, for example, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

“The short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate. Research findings for long-term marijuana use indicate some changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of other major drugs of abuse.”

So, by all means, let’s celebrate the common sense of not destroying people’s lives for choosing one troublesome drug while we culturally encourage the consumption of another troublesome drug. But let’s not act as if it’s harmless to have pot drifting openly through the lives of the next generation of Americans.

We can acknowledge that humans will find and use their drugs of choice, but we also can recognize the need for policies and programs that reduce rather than encourage that use. Maybe we can better educate young Americans about the risks of legal marijuana than we did when the drug was illegal.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

How about everyone being required to watch that blockbuster from the 30s, "Reefer Madness"? Then, just as Al Gore told you everything one needs to know about climate change, 'the science will be settled'.

Or one could find the real truth, and make an 'informed decision' based on fact!

Mike Santone

Totally agree. There are no free highs. Each has its benefits and its costs and consequences. The prohibition always did seem hypocritical given our acceptance and promotion of other, as you say, troublesome drugs. And I agree that education about the risks is critical for adults and youth. Thank you for putting it so clearly.


Many people who voted to legalize marijuana never use the drug at all. More to their point is to end sending too many people to prison for an action not largely different than over-indulgence in alcohol.


Well said, Mr. Bladine!! Thank you!! My husband and I keep saying, "Yeah, but you're still *high*!" People seem to have lost sight of that....they are acting like it's nothing. And, how about the marijuana gummy-bears?? Are you kidding me?? No, we can't save ourselves from ourselves, (although, the government would like to) so I don't propose we make alcohol illegal, but let's stop *glorifying* its use.

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