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of Clare County

Letter to the Editor-Physician Takes Issue With Legal ‘Marijuana Shops’


My name is Dr. Brenda Harshman, D.O., a retired Internal Medicine physician who has practiced Primary Care Internal Medicine in Clare County for over 26 years. When I came to Clare County, I was hired by Mid Michigan Hospital to take over the practice of Harrison family medicine physician Dr. Brown. So, the majority of my patients were form Harrison. Because of this, I have always had a love and affinity for the folks in Harrison. I have also been a regular reader of the Clare County Cleaver.

So, you will have to understand my sadness and extreme dismay when I learned that the City of Harrison was seriously considering plans to allow marijuana dispensaries. I find it ironic and unbelievable that the City of Harrison plans to allow these dispensaries with clear knowledge that teens and pre-teens are vaping marijuana in the school in plain sight. [Clare County Cleaver, pg.2 4-14-22 “Presentation Addresses Pervasive Youth Vaping”]

Vaping any chemical is very dangerous, and harmful to one’s health. Vaping, smoking, ingesting or absorbing marijuana in minor or specifically human brains that are not completely developed, stunts and impairs mature brain development. Human brains mature between 20-26 years of age.

The data shows when there is marijuana use among adults in a household there is a trend of increased marijuana use among minors in that household. Marijuana use in minors is associated with increased mental illness, suicide rates, increased overdoses/poisonings, driving under the influence, lower IQ’s, increased psychotic reactions, besides the already discussed impaired brain development.

Adults are allowed to make legal choices that can be very harmful to themselves, but we as a community have an obligation to protect and keep safe minors and the vulnerable. We and our representative government entities must take this obligation to protect children seriously.

Legal “marijuana shops” that city residents can walk to will reasonably increase marijuana use in the local population. A city manager of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, compared legal marijuana shop to pizza shops [Clare County Cleaver, pg. 4, 4-14-22 “Legal Marijuana Shops Opening Across Michigan”]


As representative governmental entities, we make ordinances that protect minors. That is why liquor stores cannot be built next to schools. So, a legal marijuana shop is not like a pizza shop.

I have over 10 years (2008-2019) caring for an adult population that had a high incidence of very regular marijuana use. Among the population, those patients with chronic pain still required the same amount of prescription pain medications to manage their pain. Based on my experience, marijuana rarely helped the patients’ pain. Yes, there are scientifically proven and documented medical uses for marijuana, but they are very few.

The choices of the Harrison City officials and representatives have shaken my faith in our local government. It appears these local governments are prioritizing tax revenues above the safety of our minor children. There are plenty of children at risk in Clare County, but she we as a county make choices that put more children at risk.

I have been and will continue to pray for City of Harrison officials, for our local, state and U.S. governments. Praying they will make wise and Godly decisions that protect us all and especially our children.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Brenda Harshman, D.O.



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  • Cleaver

    Totally agree with Dr. Harshman and would like to add a comment.

    Reading through the proposed ordinances to allow Marijuana sales in the City of Harrison there is several requirements put on City Employees who are not trained to perform State required task at Outlet Store.

    Expense to City for training and protective equipment will far exceed the minute income from the State Pool of Tax Monies collected from Harrison Marijuana sales.

    Thank you

    David Sanders


    Saturday, April 30 Report this