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If Eisenhower had smoked pot

December 20, 2009

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BRITISH RESEARCHERS, who ranked 20 common drugs (both legal and illicit), in order of harmfulness, determined that by a small margin marijuana is safer than tobacco (“You can’t handle the truth,’’ Ideas, Dec. 13). As a baby boomer, who, along with many of my generation, smoked a lot of cannabis, I would disagree.

Decades of tobacco use has its risks, but one can smoke cigarettes and safely drive a car, operate dangerous machinery, or perform complex mental tasks. Smoking marijuana, on the other hand, slows reaction time, impairs judgment, and often exacerbates depression and anxiety.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower smoked four packs of Camels a day and lived to be 78. As supreme commander of the allied forces during World War II, he planned and supervised the Normandy invasion of France in 1944. I venture to say that had Ike been a pot smoker, the results of D-Day would have been far different.

Stephen Helfer
Cambridge

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