CONTACT And the beat goes on - Dr. Christian Thurstone

A long time ago, Dr. T and I stopped caring about criticism leveled at us — which explains why it’s November, and I’m just now seeing this breathless report by Michael Roberts published June 19 in Westword.

That would be the Denver alt-weekly with a business model highly dependent on porn and pot, er, adult services and marijuana.

Still, this silly post of Mr. Roberts’ needs to be added to our collection. It illustrates one of my chief criticisms of far too many news organizations: journalists are often so busy cheering for pot that they’re not asking legitimate and hard questions about the drug. And yes, this journalist (Michael Roberts, dude, there’s nothing “ex-journalist” about me.) also understands that shrinking resources in newsrooms have sorely compromised reporters’ abilities to dedicate the time and energy this subject demands.

So, here, again, is a re-cap of just some of the stories I wish fellow journalists would look into further. Mr. Roberts can laugh at these ideas all he wants — and really, why should anyone expect anything else of him?

Marijuana’s link to psychosis. As I have written, the data are there. You can read more here and here. Let’s stop ignoring them and/or cherry-picking from the science to further the absurd notion that “marijuana is better than, and safer than” any other substance.

Adolescent marijuana use and violence. It’s perfectly reasonable to ask hard questions about how marijuana use might have influenced high-profile, violent outbursts. My observations of drug-prevention and drug-treatment experts tell me that they frequently engage in these discussions. When they learn of another mass shooting, or a savage attack a la Rudy Eugene or Boston-bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, among the first questions they ask? “How old was he when he started using weed, and how often did he use?” Reporters should make this part of their routine questioning, too.

Marijuana’s potency, and adolescents’ relentless push for bigger and bigger highs. My husband is the doctor, not me — and I know he’s not lying about what he sees and hears from many of the young people he treats in what is one of Colorado’s largest adolescent addiction-treatment programs. Only fools would laugh at him for raising the question — just raising the question — of whether kids will start to inject THC.

About Christine Tatum

Christine Tatum is a veteran journalist whose communications and market intel firm, Media Salad, Inc., helps companies and nonprofit organizations win business and stay ahead of their competitors. Her professional stops include the Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post, the (Arlington Heights, Ill.) Daily Herald and the (Greensboro, N.C.) News & Record. Her work also has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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