Monday, October 26, 2015

Why I Oppose Legalization of Marijuana

I oppose legalization of marijuana for many reasons.  One of the primary reasons is that marijuana hurts so many people, and worse, it hurts the poor and minorities worst of all.  Those who are concerned about growing income inequality, the high incarceration rate of African Americans, and bigotry in general should stand up against legalized marijuana.

JAMA Psychiatry just published a study on the “Prevalence of Marijuana Use and Disorders in the United States” (“Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013”, published online October 21, 2015).   The study found that not only did marijuana use and DSM-IV marijuana use disorder nearly double during the decade ending 2013, but this disorder grew by a larger percentage among black individuals and those with the lowest income.

In other words, legalizing marijuana may affect African Americans and the poor more than other populations.  What follows are quotes from the study.  I added the underlining.


The prevalence of marijuana use more than doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, and there was a large increase in marijuana use disorders during that time. While not all marijuana users experience problems, nearly 3 of 10 marijuana users manifested a marijuana use disorder in 2012-2013.”

How many Americans are experiencing marijuana use disorder?

“In 2012-2013, 9.52% of US adults used marijuana in the past year, and 2.9% had a diagnosis of DSM-IV marijuana use disorder. Thus, nearly 3 of every 10 marijuana users had a diagnosis of a marijuana use disorder (approximately 6,846,000 Americans).”

What demographic groups are most affected?

The prevalence of DSM-IV marijuana use disorder increased significantly between 2001-2002 (1.5%) and 2012-2013 (2.9%), nearly doubling between the 2 surveys (Table 2)….  Groups in which the magnitude of increase was most notable included those aged 45 to 64 years (0.4% vs 1.3%); black individuals (1.8% vs 4.6%); Hispanic individuals (1.2% vs 2.8%); those with the lowest income (2.3% vs 5.4%); and those in the South (1.0% vs 2.6%).”

What are the risks of marijuana use?

“[U]se or early use of marijuana is associated with increased risk for many outcomes, including cognitive decline, psychosocial impairments, vehicle crashes, emergency department visits, psychiatric symptoms, poor quality of life, use of other drugs, a cannabis-withdrawal syndrome, and addiction risk.  Further, marijuana use disorders (abuse or dependence) are associated with substantial comorbidity and disability and are consequently of substantial public health concern."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Poem from Child's Obituary

While do some genealogy research, I found an obituary of a distant relative who died as a child. The obituary contained the following poem. It has no title, and the obituary lists only the author's initials, J. H. S. It was published in the Butler Citizen (Pennsylvania) on 9 August 1889. I did a Google search and found it nowhere else, so I'm posting it here:

Parents grieve not that your treasure,
Is thus taken from you soon;
For you know that God has told you,
That in heaven there is still room.

Room for you and all your children
And for all who trust His love;
So that if on earth we're parted,
We shall meet in heaven above.

Yes, we know our child is better
In the arms of Him we love,
And we hope that we shall meet her
In that blissful home above.

J. H. S.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Love of God

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a powerful talk on the love of God in the last General Conference. Two paragraphs seemed profoundly poetic to me, so I reformatted them to emphasize the parallelisms and visual themes I saw:

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sunken Mayan City Found

After the death of Jesus Christ, great destruction occurred in the new world. Many people and cities were destroyed because of their wickedness. Many were buried under the earth. Others were burned. Some, "like the great city Moroni [were] caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea" (3 Nephi 9:4).

Later, the righteous who remained began to rebuild their cities. However, "there were many cities which had been sunk, and waters came up in the stead thereof; therefore these cities could not be renewed" (4 Nephi 1:9).

In the past year, archeologists started studying sunken Mayan ruins first found in 1996 at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. They have discovered ceremonial monuments and altars indicating it may have been of religious significance. Unfortunately for the original inhabitants, researchers believe the area, which now lies 50 feet underwater, suffered "a catastrophic event, like a volcanic eruption or landslide." Evidence indicates that residents had to leave in a hurry.

The researchers believe the ruins date to 250 A.D., so it is unlikely this area was one of those destroyed after the death of Jesus Christ. However, it shows that such cataclysmic events were possible and have occurred in the area and is interesting in the context of the destruction that occurred two centuries earlier.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Archaeology and Ether's Hiding Place

In Ether 13, we learn that Ether "hid himself in the cavity of a rock" while witnessing the destruction of the Jaredite people (verses 13, 14, 18, and 22). Interestingly, recent archaeological research has found evidence of this practice among ancient Indians.

"Excavations ... help prove that the natural rock overhangs that dot Ohio's landscape provided shelter for hunters dating back more than 12,000 years." Nigel Brush, a geology professor at Ashland University in Ohio, has lead excavations at 30 rock shelters over the past 27 years. During that time, he discovered that these shelters "were used over and over again the same way for thousands of years."

In fact, some were used as base camps, possibly for months at a time. This fits the experience of Ether who spent a year or more hiding from the people in "the cavity of a rock," perhaps a shelter like those studied by Brush (Ether 13:18).

While this offers no proof of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, it adds circumstantial evidence that the Book of Mormon history is consistent with archaeological findings.

For more info, see "Gimme shelter: Archaeological digs show ancient Indians took refuge beneath rock overhangs," THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH, September 20, 2009.