USA: The New ‘Reefer Madness’ – Mass Murder?

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Did reefer drive the Highland Park parade ‘killer’ Robert Crimo to madness?

by Miranda Devine New York Post, July 6, 2022.

You don’t need to be a psychiatrist to know that the Highland Park shooter is sick in the head.

His evil act is unfathomable, but he does fit a familiar pattern of mass killers: alienated young male stoners who appear to be in the grip of a distinctively American madness.

Those who knew the 21-year-old suspect, Robert Crimo III, say he habitually smoked cannabis, a habit he appeared to share with young mass shooters, including at Uvalde, Dayton, Parkland and Aurora.

Obviously weed didn’t make them commit their evil acts, but it may have scrambled their brains enough for empathy to take a holiday.

As the country rushes headlong into the embrace of Big Weed, we need to heed the warning signs, not least in the scientific literature that increasingly shows that cannabis triggers psychosis, and in the emergency rooms where mentally ill kids are the living proof of its harms.

The higher the potency of THC, the worse it is, especially for the developing adolescent brain.

But virulent attacks always greet any hint of opposition to wholesale drug legalization. Youth mental illness is a crisis in this country and yet we are not allowed to discuss a scientifically verified trigger.

So, let’s report what clues we have about Crimo’s state of mind, talking about “red flags.”

He was reported to police in April 2019, when he was 18, after he threatened to take his own life, Highland Park police said. That incident was dealt with as a “mental health” matter.

Five months later, family members again contacted police to say Crimo “was going to kill everyone.” Multiple knives were confiscated from his home.

In 2015, when Crimo was 14, she reportedly was charged with domestic battery over “a physical dispute that had occurred while driving” at 3:37 a.m. near the family home, in the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park, according to a police report posted on the website Patch.

When Crimo was young, his parents were “a problem,” his former coach Jeremy Cahnmann told Fox News Digital. “There wasn’t a lot of love in that family.”

At some point, his father moved out of the family home into a house two miles away in Highwood, while Crimo stayed with his mother and the Highland Park house fell into disrepair. “It looks like it should be condemned,” a neighbor told Fox.

Former friends describe the unemployed rapper by this time as smoking weed habitually.

Nick Pacileo, 22, used adjectives such as “timid” and “quiet” to describe the boy he used to skateboard with from eighth through 10th grade.

But when Crimo turned 18, his personality changed, Pacileo told NBC News, and he became depressed over a girl.

“Instead of therapy, he turned to drugs …

“He definitely thought there was a border in the mind that needed to be broken through the mind. Very third-eye type of stuff that kind of goes along with the psychedelic rap and drugs.”

Another former friend, Bennett Brizes, described the Crimo he knew from age 14 to 17 as “an isolated stoner who completely lost touch with reality.”

Brizes, a college student in LA who said he used to “make music” with Crimo, posted a series of tweets and photos after the Fourth of July massacre describing his former friend as “lost.”

He also posted a screenshot of a Feb. 2, 2021, message he said was from Crimo: “Oi my mind is everywhere nowadays.”

Cannabis doesn’t explain everything about Crimo and other mass shooters, but it deserves at least some debate amid the endless partisan bickering over gun laws – which already are among the country’s strictest in Chicago, the murder capital of America.

The AR-15 allegedly used by Crimo is banned in the city, and Illinois has a red-flag law designed to stop people like him from buying guns after his disturbing contacts with police.

But you need more than a new law on the books. You need to enforce it, and that’s something Democrats have made increasingly difficult.

In any case, gun control is not the silver bullet. Something has gone wrong with America’s youth.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an urgent warning in December about the “devastating” youth mental health crisis, which has been exacerbated by COVID lockdowns.

We can’t address the crisis without considering the effect of teens’ cannabis use and the increased potency of the products they consume.

The New York Times last month warned of the high potency of cannabis products in the newly deregulated legal market and the potentially harmful effects to young brains: “Psychosis, Addiction, Chronic Vomiting: As Weed Becomes More Potent, Teens Are Getting Sick.”

THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, 20 years ago was at about 4% potency, but today’s Big Weed products are close to 100%.

We have known for at least 15 years that cannabis use can increase the risk of psychosis in susceptible people by about 40%, according to the medical journal Lancet.

A study last year of 204,000 people ages 10 to 24 in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s pediatrics publication found that cannabis use and abuse is associated with depression, bipolar disorder and increased risk of suicide.

The one thing we should not have done was make it easier for young people to access such a potentially harmful drug. But that is the political climate heading to the midterms in November.

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