WESTERLY — The latest in a series of Science Café presentations led by Peter Bonk will take on the topic of medical marijuana and touch on aspects of the opioid crisis Tuesday at the Malted Barley on High Street in Westerly.
The talk, titled “Medical Marijuana and Friends: From Illegal to Prescription,” will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. upstairs at the downtown bar and restaurant and will offer facts about not only marijuana, which has been, in Bonk’s opinion, insufficiently studied, but will also delve into the debate about opioid use, abuse, and addiction.
The Science Café, run by the American Chemical Society, has been hosting presentations in Westerly since 2016 on hot-button topics such as climate change, fracking, and nuclear power. Coordinated and run by Bonk, one of the chemical society’s councilors and an organic chemist, the society’s talks attempt to provide unbiased information to the public.
The society has hosted six prior presentations in town that have been well attended by those from all backgrounds. The presentations, aimed at “people who are interested and concerned,” provide scientific facts and information to help those in attendance make informed decisions about scientific topics. The Science Café, a national initiative, hopes to put in the hands of attendees valuable and empirically based information that helps them better navigate their world.
“The claims you see for medical marijuana,” Bonk said, “they’re basically anecdotal. We always have to make choices — nothing is perfectly good or perfectly bad. We have to make an informed choice about what we want to do.”
He feels his presentation about medical marijuana and opioids will help attendees do just that.
Bonk seems to enjoy taking on controversial topics, saying, “Life is complicated.” He urges citizens and consumers not to “look for simple solutions for complex problems.”
The presentation, which is free of charge, will be followed by an open discussion. Snacks and refreshments will be provided.
Bonk has been a member for the American Chemical Society since 1977. He is currently a private consultant working with chemical and pharmaceutical companies.