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Cannabis Warning Labels Needed

October 16, 2023

Dear Editor,

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institute of Health (NIH) state that cannabis is proven to increase risks of serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, and that it affects brain development, and causes many other serious harms.

It is astonishing that the city of Santa Monica is not planning to require prominent health warnings on retail cannabis products.

Cannabis seems much more harmful to mental health than tobacco -- as shown by many science-proven, peer-reviewed studies. We have health warnings for tobacco. To not have health warnings for pot is absurd.

Consumers have a right to know the risks when using a city-permitted, recreational drug. Even FDA medicines list side-effects and risks.

Many of the un-housed in our city are neither addicts nor mentally ill but are victims of misfortune. However, it appears there is increasing psychosis afflicting many on our streets.

It surely wasn’t like this before pot was legalized. It seems plausible that even a modest increase in pot-induced schizophrenia nationwide might cause a big increase in the mentally ill homeless in our small city - as they have been pushed out of their own communities.

Those suffering mental illness should have our understanding and help, but we should also be clear-eyed regarding possible causes for their illness.

The Santa Monica city council must ask city staff to study cannabis health risks, and to require large-font, tobacco style health warnings on retail packaging, and at the point of sale and on store fronts. And taxes from pot sales should be used by the city to publicize, in newspapers and elsewhere, the harms of cannabis.

Rather than enabling the pot industry, please tell our council we should be in the vanguard of highlighting risks and promoting a drug-free rather than drug-filled society.

I urge everyone to visit the CDC and NIH websites to learn more about the health risks of cannabis. You have no idea how harmful this stuff is.

Peter Borresen
Santa Monica

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