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home : opinions : letters May 1, 2016

6/11/2014 3:45:00 PM
Commentary: Do not buy into arguments that marijuana is harmless and should be legalized
Dr. Paul Tighe
Dr. Paul Tighe
Dr. Paul Tighe
My Turn

We are hearing considerable propaganda that marijuana is harmless and should be legalized.

In November of 2010, Arizona voters legalized the medical use of marijuana and several states have recently legalized recreation use of marijuana.

So does this impact education?

First, let's address the myth that marijuana is not harmful. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (September, 2012) published, "A major new study provides objective evidence that, at least for adolescents, marijuana is harmful to the brain."

The study concluded that persistent cannabis users had significantly more memory and attention problems. Dr. Stephen Dewey of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has compiled considerable evidence of the adverse impact of marijuana on brain functioning. Furthermore, marijuana is addictive.

In fact, 16 percent who start smoking marijuana as a teen become addicted (MATFORCE, 2013).

With the legalization of medical use of marijuana in Arizona in 2010, there has been a significant increase in marijuana use among youth.

There are some alarming statistics from the 2012 AZ Youth Survey. In Yavapai County:

• 17 percent of 8th graders say they have used marijuana and 8 percent say they used it in the past 30 days

• 22 percent of 10th graders say they have used marijuana in the past 30 days, up from18 percent in 2010

• 26 percent of 12th graders say they have used marijuana in the past 30 days, up from 19 percent in 2010

The Office of Applied Studies published a National Survey on Drug Abuse Report (2002) that showed youth with an average grade of D or below were more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth with an average grade of A.

Those who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a permanent drop in IQ of eight points (Meier, 2012).

The future of our community rests on our youth and the education of our youth is paramount to their success. There are already documented increases in marijuana use among youth following the legalization of medical use of marijuana.

We need to protect our youth from the harmful, addictive effects of marijuana. We need to be informed of the facts about marijuana as we face attempts to legalize marijuana drug use.

Dr. Paul Tighe is the superintendent of the Mingus Union School District.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Article comment by: Paul, it's time to show real leadership and quietly exit out of MATForce

I'm hoping you were pressured by MATForce to publish this tale of reefer madness. Ivan was spokesperson for MATForce, but he kinda wore out his welcome, too, in the community. Don't get sucked into the MATForce agenda. Be a real leader and Just Say No! to MatForce.

Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014
Article comment by: gary chamberlain

Highway Forensics speak loudly,

For those that pick up the trash on our highways, it is very clear from the thousands of alcohol containers and common drug paraphernalia found on our highway shoulders that we all drive on highways that have a high risk element.

With the growing and widespread abuse of alcohol and drugs in our society plus impaired drivers, we have a national epidemic with no effective cure close at hand.

It is very clear to me that there are many lessons not being taught in our homes and schools.

If you need proof of our alcohol and drug issues, go assist one of the many Adopt-A-Highway groups in your community ….. the proof is laying on the ground

Gary Chamberlain
Folksville USA
“America the Beautiful & BagReadyJobs” empowers our youth
Cornville AZ

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Article comment by: Dear Paul

The number one risk to your marijuana-using students is criminal prosecution because of archaic laws that are detrimental to the progress of our society.

The risk is not potentially losing a few IQ points. The risk is not addiction. The risk is not this misinformation that you and Sheila endlessly spew.

The risk to these youths' future is incarceration and a criminal record.

Please do not expect any sort of support, or re-election, without first addressing the most basic, truthful, and realistic risk of marijuana use.

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Article comment by: It seems to me:

Another good assignment would be to analyze the critical thinking capacity of a high school superintendent who offers a self-reported survey as evidence of anything except that the number of teenagers willing to admit using a proscribed substance is increasing.

Right on, Carl Nye. The superintendent may be under intense pressure from MATFORCE, especially with an unpopular Capitol Wish List going on the November ballot. MATFORCE includes many influential Cottonwood city and community leaders, people with whom he must work on a regular basis, people who control functions and interest groups vital to Mingus. But to regurgitate discredited MATFORCE talking points practically verbatim--this error in judgment casts doubt on all other judgment calls.

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Article comment by: Wacka Wacka

Whenever I see someone drop a "Dr." I am always a bit suspect as to someone bona fides so I did a little research.

Dr. Tighe is not a real doctor as in M.D.
Dr. Tighe is not actually even a scientist (Ph.D.)!
Dr. Tighe got his DocEd from ASU in Educational Administration and Supervision. His Masters was from University of Vermont in Educational Leadership.

Administration ... Supervision ... Leadership.

No science ... No medicine... No research .. No publications (of record).

What you have here is one persons opinion. Period.

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Carl Nye

Dr. Tighe? Doctor of what? Apparently not doctor of independent research. Dr. Tighe ignores or is unaware of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, where they assessed the Dunedin cohort study.

Quote from their abstract (in part): "A simulation of the confounding model reproduces the reported associations from the Dunedin cohort, suggesting that the causal effects estimated in Meier et al. are likely to be overestimates, and that the true effect could be zero."

Also: "Although it would be too strong to say that the results have been discredited, the methodology is flawed and the causal inference drawn from the results premature."

I agree with previous writers' comments. If what you write is questionable or completely and provably false, then there is no reason to give any further consideration to your biased blathering.

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: @ Polk and Tighe What a Pair

Do you realize that if the names were changed up a bit, we could have Toke & Pie, Whadda and Pear, which is just a dang fine name for a new law firm.

Let's get them some 1 cent per acre land at the Cottonwood Airpark for their new office, and imagine the revenue and economic development that could be generated prosecuting and criminalizing teenagers and young adults!

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Educate Yourself

Slater X2

"In animal trials, it was discovered that these compounds acted as appetite suppressants, lowered cholesterol, decreased fat buildup, and improved insulin response to sugars. These qualities could be used to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke associated with obesity, as well as aid in weight management programs."


"A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology finds an intriguing connection between marijuana use and body weight, showing that rates of obesity are lower by roughly a third in people who smoke pot at least three times a week, compared with those who don’t use marijuana at all."


Put that in yer pipe and smoke it!

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Gee, next, I expect Mr. Tighe

to have a photo-op pic of him in front of the NRA HQ, waving an American flag, singing the Star Spangled Banner-- with dutiful tear in his eye-- standing in front of a statue of Jesus with a subtle political sign showing a red elephant in the far background.

If Mr. Tighe is so far out of touch with reality on this matter, imagine the other possibilities.


Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: And this guy's an educator?

"Dr." Tighe is an educator, and he uses the following statistic?: "The Office of Applied Studies published a National Survey on Drug Abuse Report (2002) that showed youth with an average grade of D or below were more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth with an average grade of A."

I wonder what other things correlate with getting A's or D's? Parental involvement? Socioeconomics? IQ? Home living conditions? Alcohol abuse? Violence in their upbringing or culture? Almost anything?

For an "educator" to cite such correlates as if they are causes means he just doesn't have the facts to support his position, so he dredges up B.S. like this. This is who's educating your kids, folks.

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Another Parent and Academic

Mr. Tighe- Respectfully, your argument is missing a few points. The idiocy of criminalizing our young people for the recreational use of marijuana is a colossal waste of resources. What we're teaching them is to lie, get a medical card, and punk the system. Is that ethical?

If you believe there is real merit to your argument, drug test your teachers. It's probably no real surprise to you that quite a few of them smoke weed.

You would have much more credibility with students, parents and taxpayers if you untie yourself from Nancy Reagan's War on Drugs apron strings, and face the facts that humans like to alter their conscious experience with various substances. Most are able to do so responsibly some become addicted, or make terrible choices while in an altered state. Deal with that reality not model responsibility.

I know you mean well. You have a real opportunity for leadership in your school and community. Don't waste it blowing smoke up the skirts of teetotalers.

Finally, if this state and county weren't wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars prosecuting children, and making prisoners out of pot smokers, maybe education could benefit from prioritizing education over punishment. That's my pipe dream.

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

Perpetually raising the specter of doom to parents is akin to shouting fire in a crowded theater.

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014
Article comment by: T.J. O'Malley

Same ol story same ol thing, these people keep printing or saying the same story just worded diffrent. I would like to see them do more research than just what the NIDA has to say, keep grasping for straws people, marijuana legalization is coming, and you cannot stop it, I for one cannot wait.

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014
Article comment by: Polk & Tighe what a pair

So here we have someone in education talking about IQ, really you're gonna go there? IQ tests along with the notion of a simple qualifier/identifier of intelligence has long since been abandoned as having any real and or significant value when measuring intelligence.

In fact what Mr. Tighe neglects to even mention is the simple fact that many/most people over the course of their lifetimes have their "IQ"s" drop and yes by eight points or more. Its a matter of how vigilant one is about keeping their brain active and learning new things.

This entire bit of writing is pretty much straight up propaganda and frankly a silly attempt at diverting the issue away from reality into the realm of the preposterous and all to play upon emotion.

As Mr. Tighe has decided to play such games I for one refuse to address him by his title of Dr. because he has forfeited any right to and respect for said title by this bit of shabby, contentious, propaganda.

Frankly if this manis delving into such self indulgent whims is in charge of our children's education, then we best add his name to the list, right next to Ms. Polk's name of individuals who need to be removed from their posts.

Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014
Article comment by: Mr. Tighe

Both my teens graduated from Mingus Union High School, one with honors, one with the Presidential Medal. They were active on the swim team and tutored students to help them catch up. One is an artist, one is a reader of history books. Both are currently enrolled in college full time. They both took dual enrollment classes at Yavapai College as well as having a full schedule at Mingus. Neither one has been sent to the principal office. And they both used marijuana throughout high school for PTSD after watching their dad die. They went for counseling for several months before trying marijuana but were stuck with anger issues. The marijuana helped them overcome their anger issues, PTSD and depression.

No, I never sent them to school high after smoking marijuana. There is a time and place for marijuana, and it's not at school. But Paul, you should rewrite the article and substitute the word alcohol instead of marijuana. Alcohol,not marijuana is what the problem was at the MUHS prom, not marijuana.

Was it an ideal situation? No, I'd rather have them wait to use marijuana until they were in their 20's, after their brains are fully developed. But marijuana helped them through
High school.

So Mr. Tighe, don't alienate the staff, students, parents and taxpayers with your MATForce misinformation, and Reefer Madness attitude.

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