From Second Thoughts On Pot.
Berenson’s book is a game-changer. In his New Yorker piece, Malcolm Gladwell writes straightforwardly about the overwhelming scientific evidence that marijuana is a hell of a lot more problematic than many of us think. Excerpt:
Berenson begins his book with an account of a conversation he had with his wife, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating mentally ill criminals. They were discussing one of the many grim cases that cross her desk—“the usual horror story, somebody who’d cut up his grandmother or set fire to his apartment.” Then his wife said something like “Of course, he was high, been smoking pot his whole life.”
Of course? I said.
Yeah, they all smoke.
Well . . . other things too, right?
Sometimes. But they all smoke.
Berenson used to be an investigative reporter for the Times, where he covered, among other things, health care and the pharmaceutical industry. Then he left the paper to write a popular series of thrillers. At the time of his conversation with his wife, he had the typical layman’s view of cannabis, which is that it is largely benign. His wife’s remark alarmed him, and he set out to educate himself. Berenson is constrained by the same problem the National Academy of Medicine faced—that, when it comes to marijuana, we really don’t know very much. But he has a reporter’s tenacity, a novelist’s imagination, and an outsider’s knack for asking intemperate questions. The result is disturbing.
I’ll say. Read his piece to find out why. Or even better, check out Stephanie Mencimer’s detailed report in Mother Jones, the San Francisco-based left-wing magazine. I’m sure it’s going to wind up subscribers.