Medicine or menace?

An important issue left out of your June article on the legalization of marijuana for medical use relates to the legal ramification for users. If marijuana use remains criminalized, more users will enter the criminal justice system’s revolving door. Invariably the criminal justice system does little to help addicts and does so at a very high cost. Some areas, such as Broward County, Fla., have a mechanism to divert defendants to drug or mental health courts, which emphasize treatment. However, there is still a burden on law enforcement and the courts to process those individuals. Any effective marijuana policy needs to evaluate the cost of treating users as criminals rather than people with mental health problems, vocational problems, educational problems and social problems.

Allan Ribbler, PhD
Plantation, Fla.

Exploring theism

In response to your article “Theism vs. naturalism” (May Monitor), theism and atheism are assertions that suffer from a common problem — dogmatism — or, what Albert Ellis, PhD, called “masturbation.” Yet “hypothesis testing” is a rational strategy within the realm of probability. For example, assume, tentatively, that the null (no God) hypothesis (Ho) is true, then find out whether there are sufficient data under controlled conditions to reject Ho.

Until then, naturalism is compatible with scientific paradigms and agnosticism remains the palliative context.

William F. Vitulli, PhD
Mobile, Ala.

APA and the United Nations

I was very happy to read the article on the APA team at the United Nations (May Monitor). All APA representatives and interns deserve recognition for their efforts to represent APA’s views on a myriad of issues. One point that I feel should have been included in the article was that Florence Denmark, PhD, whose term as APA Main Representative at the UN ended in December, was the outstanding coordinator of the Feb. 4 very successful Psychology Day. Dr. Denmark, and her co-coordinator, Rachel Ravich, PhD, along with the APA team and the entire planning committee, produced the excellent program described in the article.

Janet Sigal, PhD
APA UN NGO Representative

Please send letters to Sara Martin, Monitor editor, at the APA address. Letters should be no more than 250 words and may be edited for clarity or space.