Pro & Con Quotes: Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legal?
Kamala Harris, JD, US Senator (D-CA), stated the following in her 2019 book titled The Truths We Hold: An American Journey:
“Something else it’s past time we get done is dismantling the failed war on drugs – starting with legalizing marijuana… Between 2001 and 2010, more than seven million people were arrested for simple possession of marijuana. They are disproportionately black and brown. One stark example: during the first three months of 2018, 93 percent of the people the NYPD arrested for marijuana possession were people of color. These racial disparities are staggering and unconscionable. We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it. And we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”2019
Jody Murphy, Democratic candidate for Governor of West Virginia, wrote in a Jan. 8, 2020 op/ed titled “The Reluctance to Tax the Willing,” available at register-herald.com:
“We need to legalize the growth, cultivation, sale, possession and use of cannabis – both medicinal and recreational… We can generate millions of dollars in much-needed state revenue that people will willingly pay for. This is a huge untapped revenue stream…
We need to get past the moral objection to marijuana. We to need understand and separate the fact that legalization of marijuana is not the same as individuals condoning it.
Legalization is not moral acceptance.
This is a tax, a revenue stream willingly paid by folks, and will reap benefits for our working class folks and their families and our economy.”
Andrew Cuomo, JD, Governor of New York, stated in his Jan. 9, 2020 State of the State Address, available at governor.ny.gov:
“For decades, communities of color were disproportionately affected by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws.
Last year we righted that injustice when we decriminalized possession.
This year, let’s work with our neighbors New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania to coordinate a safe and fair system, and let’s legalize adult use of marijuana.”
Cory Booker, JD, MA, United States Senator (D-NJ), in an Oct. 17, 2017 interview with Alex Suskind for vice.com titled “Cory Booker Explains Why He’s Making Legal Weed His Signature Issue,” stated:
“There is no doubt in my mind that the federal government should not be in the marijuana prohibition business. It’s making us less safe, it’s costing taxpayers too much money, it’s violating our values. From every perspective—a libertarian perspective, fiscal conservative’s perspective, Christian evangelical perspective, progressive perspective—marijuana prohibition is just wrong… I am not going to be silent on this issue, especially when I can see—as the only senator that lives in a low-income inner-city community—the damage that has been done over decades of a failed war on drugs…
This war on drugs is a war on people, and not all people: It’s a war on poor people, on mentally ill people, on addicted people, and on people of color…
I have never smoked marijuana, I have never smoked a cigarette, I have never eaten marijuana… This to me is not an issue I come at through my own experimentations. I come at this as an issue of justice, as an issue of safety for our communities, as an issue of utter fairness.”Oct. 17, 2017
Cynthia Nixon, actress and 2018 gubernatorial candidate in New York, stated the following in a video on her Twitter profile alongside the text, “A lot of you have been asking about my position on marijuana. Here it is,” posted on Apr. 11, 2018:
“I believe it’s time for New York to follow the lead of eight other states and DC, and legalize recreational marijuana… We have to stop putting people of color in jail for something that white people do with impunity. 80% of the New Yorkers who are arrested for marijuana are black or Latino, despite the fact that whites and people of color use marijuana at roughly the same rates. The consequences follow people for the rest of their lives, making it harder to get jobs, or housing, and for noncitizens, putting them in the crosshairs for deportation. In addition to ending a key front in the racist war on drugs, regulating and taxing marijuana would generate hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenues for our people, and create important agricultural opportunities for our state.”Apr. 11, 2018
Karen O’Keefe, Director of State Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), stated the following in a Feb. 9, 2018 email to ProCon.org:
“Taxing and regulating marijuana allows for control, which is a far better approach than prohibition for marijuana consumers, workers, communities, and the environment.
Only in a regulated system can the government ensure marijuana is tested for dangerous pesticides and contaminants. Regulation also allows for environmental and worker protections: When marijuana is prohibited, it is often grown in environmentally sensitive locations where streams are diverted, toxic waste is left behind, and illegal rodenticides enter the food chain and poison predators — including endangered animals. Relegating marijuana to the illicit market leaves workers vulnerable to sexual assault, wage theft, violence, and felony charges.
With regulation, governments control where marijuana is sold, when it is sold, and to whom it is sold. They decide what types of products to allow — and many ban products likely to appeal to minors — and how cannabis must be packaged and labeled. Regulators can also require information be disseminated with cannabis and can fund honest education campaigns to educate marijuana consumers and youth about making healthy decisions.
Ending marijuana prohibition also frees up law enforcement resources, allowing police to focus on crimes with victims rather than fighting an unwinnable 80-year-old war against a substance that is safer than alcohol.”Feb. 9, 2018
Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), in an Oct. 23, 2016 editorial titled “NORML: Marijuana Is Here to Stay,” available from usatoday.com, wrote:
“America’s real-world experiment with regulating marijuana has been a success…
Contrary to the fears of some, these policy changes are not associated with increased marijuana use or access by adolescents, or with adverse effects on traffic safety or in the workplace. Marijuana regulations are also associated with less opioid abuse and mortality. In jurisdictions where this retail market is taxed, sales revenue has greatly exceeded initial expectations.
The enforcement of marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts young people and communities of color. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco…
But legalization does not mean replacing criminalization with a marijuana free-for-all. Rather, it means the enactment of a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the licensed commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults, but also restricts and discourages its use among young people. Such a regulated environment best reduces the risks associated with the plant’s use or abuse.
By contrast, advocating marijuana’s continued criminalization does nothing to offset the plant’s potential risks to the individual user and to society; it only compounds them.”Oct. 23, 2016
Michael Capasso and Finn Selander, former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, in their 2016 “Arguments Filed in Support of the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act,” available from apps.azos.gov, wrote:
“Each of us put in 20 or more years in the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement entities. And both of us realize that marijuana prohibition is a failed drug policy that should end.
Prohibition doesn’t keep marijuana off our streets or decrease use. And it certainly doesn’t keep marijuana out of the hands of teens. But prohibition does result in billions of dollars in profits flowing to drug cartels. This drug money fuels lavish lifestyles among drug lords and deadly violence among rival cartels aiming to protect smuggling territory and street corners.
We have seen the consequences of America’s marijuana prohibition policies. It is long past time to allow adults to legally buy marijuana. Taxation and strict regulation should be the mantra when it comes to marijuana. Now that we are retired from the DEA, we can speak out and say that marijuana should be taxed and regulated to keep profits from ruining our streets and causing mayhem south of the border.”2016
Josh Hamilton, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief at The Jist, in a Sep. 26, 2017 article for medium.com titled “The Economic and Social Benefits of Taxing Marijuana,” wrote:
“There is no way to argue with the cold hard facts of the economic boom that states such as Colorado and Washington have experienced since the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana…
As of September 2015, weed in Colorado was generating almost double the amount of tax revenue when compared to alcohol ($70 million to $42 million). Similarly, in Washington, the first year of legalization racked up an incredible $82 million in tax revenue.
Colorado has spent the money on a number of programs aimed at improving the standards of education and health in the state. These include school construction, marijuana education, anti-bullying campaigns, public school grants, youth mentoring, drug abuse and treatment, and grants to the Future Farmers of America. All of this has been paid for by the legalization of cannabis over a year in 1 state.”Sep. 26, 2017
Rick Steves, television host, travel writer, and co-sponsor of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in the state of Washington, stated the following at a press conference in Chicago at the James R. Thompson Center on Nov. 28, 2017, a video of which is available at facebook.com/IllinoisNORML:
“Seventy-thousand people are locked up in our country every year; 700,000 people are arrested for possession of marijuana—non-violent crimes – they’re not rich white guys; they’re poor people, and they’re black people…
We’ve got to take the crime out of the equation and treat marijuana as a health challenge and an education challenge. Marijuana is a drug. It’s not good for you, it can be abused. And it’s here today and it’s going to be here tomorrow. What we need to do is take that black market down and turn it into a highly regulated and highly taxed legal market, so that we can gain credibility and focus on the real risk to young people in our society which is hard drug abuse…
It’s 2017. We know what happens when we legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Use does not go up, teen use does not go up, DUIs don’t go up, crime doesn’t go up. The only thing that goes up is tax revenue. In my state [Washington], we have 300 million dollars this year in tax revenue…
We’ve taken a black market, which was empowering and enriching organized crime and games, and we’ve dismantled it. We’ve turned it into a highly regulated, highly taxed legal market, employing 26,000 people, especially in rural areas where we can use the employment.
We’ve been able to redirect precious law enforcement resources away from petty pot issues and on to serious crime.”Nov. 28, 2017
Jesse Ventura, 38th Governor of Minnesota, in his 2016 book titled Marijuana Manifesto: How Lies, Corruption, and Propaganda Kept Cannabis Illegal, wrote:
“I say legalize marijuana because we have a chance to leave this world a better place for our children. Marijuana legalization is job creation, tax dollars, something to rejuvenate our pathetic economy. This is a multibillion-dollar industry. This is about jobs; this is about economics; this is about freedom…
Cannabis is a plant that grows abundantly, that has been around long before laws existed, before our country even existed, and has a multitude of modern-day uses – aside from getting hippies high… This plant can literally end our dependence on foreign oil and fracking. This plant can literally rebuild our economy – we can make everything from car parts to airplane parts to paper to clothing to nutritious meals cheaply from it, but only if the American people are smart enough to recognize the truth from the bullshit.
The truth is, none of those uses for cannabis that I just mentioned is new. They might seem groundbreaking, almost too good to be true, but there are other countries taking advantage of those uses right now, and the United States is falling behind again. We’ve known about these and many other unique benefits of cannabis for generations, yet we continue to dig a hole deeper into the sand and stick our heads in it.”2016
Cannabis Consumers Campaign, in the “Debating Marijuana Policy” section of its website cannabisconsumers.org (accessed on Dec. 28, 2017), wrote:
“People get high on nature, ‘high on life,’ ‘high on God,’ high on chocolate, coffee, beer, tobacco – even TV, exercise and meditation alter your consciousness. Watching television is the biggest escape from reality of them all. Who gave prohibitionists the power to dictate what everyone else can and cannot do for fun?…
The core issues are personal choice and responsibility. Cannabis consumers are seeking the same respect and fundamental rights as anybody else, which is what they deserve. Neither the Constitution nor the Bible forbids cannabis use. The Bible states point blank that God gave us ‘every seed bearing herb’ to use, and saw that it was good. The Declaration of Independence affirms our right to ‘the pursuit of happiness’… The laws against cannabis are an attack against the gifts of God/nature and the rule of law. No matter how you feel about people ‘getting high,’ these other principles are too important to allow government to violate our personal rights.
So if you don’t think people should get high, it is your right to not get high and your right to discourage others to not get high, but that does not give any person or government the right to abuse the rights of people who feel otherwise. And to wage a war on cannabis users while society promotes alcohol and tolerates tobacco is hypocritical and immoral.”Dec. 28, 2017
Jill Gaebler, President Pro-Tem of the City Council in District 5, Colorado Springs, in an Aug. 20, 2017 article titled “Point/Counterpoint: Should Colorado Springs Legalize Recreational Marijuana Sales?,” available at gazette.com, wrote:
“The worst consequence of the marijuana black market is that the safety of our children is imperiled. A black marketer will sell marijuana to our children. A licensed and tax-paying retailer will not. They will not jeopardize their livelihood.
This proof, and other proof readily available from the Colorado Health Department’s website, clearly shows that teen marijuana use dips after legalization and that Colorado youths obtain 3 percent of their marijuana from a family member and 2 percent of it with their own MMJ card. That implies that 95 percent of their marijuana is coming from the black market.
And a black marketer sells other drugs, too. Inevitably, a customer requesting his usual ounce of pot will instead be offered heroin or meth. A legal and licensed business, by contrast, will always provide the requested product. When was the last time you went to a liquor store and were told they were out of beer but how about some opioids? Let’s be absolutely honest: The gateway to other drugs is not marijuana, it’s prohibition.”Aug. 20, 2017
Justin Trudeau, 23rd Prime Minister of Canada, stated at a June 8, 2016 economic conference in Toronto, as reported in an article written by Christopher Ingraham and titled “Justin Trudeau May Have Made the Best Case for Legal Pot Ever,” available at washingtonpost.com:
“Look, our approach on legalizing marijuana is not about creating a boutique industry or bringing in tax revenue, it’s based on two very simple principles:
The first one is, young people have easier access to cannabis now… And whatever you might think or studies seen about cannabis being less harmful than alcohol or even cigarettes, the fact is it is bad for the developing brain and we need to make sure that it’s harder for underage Canadians to access marijuana. And that will happen under a controlled and regulated regime.
The other piece of it is there are billions upon billions of dollars flowing into the pockets of organized crime, street gangs and gun-runners, because of the illicit marijuana trade, and if we can get that out of the criminal elements and into a more regulated fashion we will reduce the amount of criminal activity that’s profiting from those, and that has offshoots into so many other criminal activities.”June 8, 2016
Michael Harriot, MBA, writer and host of “The Black One” podcast, in an Apr. 4, 2017 editorial for theroot.com titled “7 Reasons Black America Should Fight Marijuana Prohibition,” wrote:
“Marijuana legalization is not just a political or legislative issue; it is also about race. It is intertwined with almost every issue facing African Americans and should be front and center on black America’s agenda…
Police are more likely to use force against African Americans because they are more likely to stop or detain them… Pot is often a contributing factor to police brutality because it gives officers the freedom to detain and arrest, and search people based on nothing but suspicion…
Stop and frisk is a marijuana-arrest tool… An analysis of the New York City Police Department’s 2012 data revealed that cops used stop and frisk to recover 729 guns but stopped 26,000, and arrested 5,000 people for marijuana possession. Blacks and Latinos were more likely to be stopped than whites but less likely to be found with a weapon or drugs.
By 12th grade, both white and black juveniles were found to have used marijuana at the same rate, but underage black children were arrested for it at higher rates than their white counterparts… If black children are arrested more often for marijuana, the long-term effects can be dire. A drug conviction could render a student ineligible for financial aid and could pop up during employee-background checks, eliminating opportunities for employment. The disparity in sentencing affects the families of the people convicted, increases the number of parents taken away from their children, and trickles down into poverty and unemployment rates.
Legalizing pot is not just a hot-button political topic; it is the first step in dismantling the war on drugs that has wreaked havoc on the black community for 80 years.”Apr. 4, 2017
Ethan Nadelman, JD, PhD, Founder of Drug Policy Alliance, stated at the “Great Marijuana Debate,” on Mar. 3, 2016 sponsored by ProCon.org, a video of which is available at procon.org:
“[T]he argument has been that marijuana prohibition and that the war on marijuana and the war on people who use marijuana has been a ghastly, horrific policy in America and around the world for many, many decades… almost 20 million people have been arrested for marijuana over the last 40 over 50 years…
[A] misdemeanor marijuana conviction can lead to a bar on adopting a child in 38 states, a revocation of professional license in 20 states… for non citizens it can trigger deportation… How many people have been hurt by that policy?
I’m also aware of the extraordinary racial disproportionately and racism that has permeated this war on marijuana and the broader war on drugs for all too long.
Ask why was marijuana criminalized in the first place?… There was not medical evidence being provided. There was no National Academy of Science saying that marijuana prohibition would be a better policy than marijuana legalization and regulation. What it had to do with overwhelmingly was prejudice and stigma and fear directed at Mexican American and Mexican migrants in the Southwest and western states of the country beginning with the first criminalization of marijuana in Texas and California a little over 100 years ago…
This substance is just simply not that dangerous where it’s going to cause a lot of harm in this society… The notion that we should keep it illegal and continue to impose those penalties on millions of Americans that we’ve seen over the last 10 to 20, 30, 40 years, I think would be a ghastly mistake.”Mar. 3, 2016
Peter Bensinger, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, wrote in a Jan. 2, 2020 letter to the Wall Street Journal, available at wsj.com:
“Marijuana isn’t harmless. Nor is it legal under federal law, and for good reason. It contains more than 460 different chemicals and, as the editorial board points out, it’s four to five times more powerful than the marijuana of the 1970s, ’80s or ’90s.
Extensive scientific research has documented serious harm to brain development for teenage regular users, major consequences for pregnant and nursing mothers and significant impairment for drivers and others performing sensitive tasks. Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, leads the nation in use by 12-to-17-year-olds. Meanwhile, the gangs and drug dealers are cheering because their sales have skyrocketed, selling to minors and others at lower prices than dispensaries can offer.
Policy makers need to examine the consequences of legalization: changes in teenage use, traffic accidents and fatalities, emergency room and treatment admissions, homelessness and more.”
Teresa Haley, MPA, State President of the NAACP Illinois, wrote in a Mar. 13, 2019 letter to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly and the President and Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, available at blog.timesunion.com:
“We believe strongly that past and current practices of the tobacco, alcohol and marijuana industries prove that these industries target, exploit and victimize communities of color. At a time when we are all working to bring more opportunity and advancement to our communities, legalizing today’s high-potency marijuana will work counter to those efforts.
The vast majority of legal pot businesses are owned by wealthy, white investors. Commercial marijuana is NOT social justice. It’s about Big Tobacco, Pharma and Wall Street investors preying on people of color and hooking them on a dangerous product for years to come. It’s about putting profits ahead of people…
Today’s high-THC content marijuana, including liquids, oils and edible forms pose significant mental and
physical health risks, especially for our young people…
We have stood steadfast in our opposition to commercial marijuana in Michigan and New Jersey, and we urge you to do the same.”
Patrick Kennedy, Co-Founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and former US Representative (D-RI), and Kevin Sabet, PhD, Co-Founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) and Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, in a Mar. 8, 2017 op-ed for the washingtonpost.com titled “Don’t Let Big Marijuana Prioritize Profits over Public Safety,” wrote:
“[W]e should also recognize legalization for what it is: the large-scale commercialization and marketing of an addictive — and therefore highly profitable — substance…
In states that have legalized, youth marijuana use now exceeds the national average, the black market continues to thrive and employers struggle with more drug-impaired workers than before pot was legalized.
More heavy users of marijuana are reporting to drug treatment, and there have been more school infractions among kids caught with pot. Worse still, the only statistically representative national survey on marijuana use found last year that Colorado is the No. 1 state for youth marijuana use in the country.
Without action, the marijuana industry is poised to become the next Big Tobacco — a profit-hungry special-interest group looking after profits, not public health. We need to acknowledge that marijuana comes with its own set of health risks, including a strong link to psychosis and schizophrenia, memory loss and low academic achievement.”Mar. 8, 2017
Alex Berenson, novelist and former New York Times reporter, stated the following in his 2019 book titled Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence:
“Marijuana causes pyschosis.
Psychosis causes violence.
The obvious implication is that marijuana causes violence…
[L]egalization signals that marijuana is not dangerous and encourages teen use. The states with the highest rates of youth marijuana use all allow legalized recreational sales or medical sales with very loose conditions.
The United States should not legalize cannabis nationally; it should move to discourage more states from legalizing, and it should consider pressuring those that have already done so to reverse course.”2019
New York Family Court Judge Joseph G. Nesser stated the following in his Feb. 27, 2018 guest post title “Just Say No to Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” available at democratandchronicle.com:
“Recreational marijuana is an intoxicating and addictive drug that poses serious medical risks similar to nicotine and alcohol…
Cannabis use increases the risk of heart attack, increases the heart rate, alters blood pressure, can induce an irregular heart beat, increases heart stress, decreases oxygen levels in the circulatory system and exacerbates angina…
In my court, some juveniles confessed that they burglarize homes or rob their victims in order to pay for recreational marijuana. The cost of recreational marijuana can total thousands of dollars and contributes to unnecessary financial difficulties for families. Recreational marijuana users are more likely to drop out of high school…
In short the negatives far outweigh the positives and that is why recreational marijuana should not be legalized.”Feb. 27, 2018
The Gazette Editorial Board (Colorado Springs, CO), in its Nov. 9, 2017 editorial titled “The Sad Anniversary of Big Commercial Pot in Colorado,” available at gazette.com, wrote:
“Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot.
Five years of Big Marijuana ushered in a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana, based on research by the pro-legalization Denver Post.
Five years of commercial pot have been five years of more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared…
The investigation [by Education News Colorado, Solutions and the I-News Network] found an increase in high school drug violations of 71 percent since legalization. School suspensions for drugs increased 45 percent.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found Colorado ranks first in the country for marijuana use among teens, scoring well above the national average.
Commercial pot’s five-year anniversary is an odious occasion for those who want safer streets, healthier kids and less suffering associated with substance abuse.”Nov. 9, 2017
Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in a June 2, 2016 interview with Marty Nemko for Psychology Today, a transcript of which is available under the title “What’s Up with Illegal Drug Use?,” stated:
“[Since marijuana legalization in Colorado] there has been an increase in school dropouts, fatal car accidents, and crime related to the use of marijuana…
I’m especially concerned about teenagers’ use of marijuana since their brain is still developing, which makes them more sensitive to drugs’ adverse effects. For many years now, studies have consistently shown that people who use marijuana have poorer cognitive performance…
The loss of motivation with marijuana is particularly devastating because it will affect a person’s ability to perform not just educationally but professionally. When you think about this at the population level, you can see why it’s of tremendous worry to increase access to a drug that the public believes is benign but, in fact, likely reduces motivation and drive…
Do we want to be a nation of stoned people in an era of globalization in which competition is fierce? Let’s learn from history: England helped subdue China by bringing opium to that country. It’s an incredible way to undermine a population.”June 2, 2016
Jessica Hugdahl, Director of Arizona Students Against Destructive Decision (SADD), in her 2016 “Arguments Filed against the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act,” available from apps.azos.gov, wrote:
“Alcohol is widely available, so it is widely abused. If the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (RTMA) passes, marijuana will become just as available. The harm to our youth will be devastating.
Proponents like to trot out a survey showing marijuana use among American teens hasn’t risen in the last few years. That’s because marijuana remains illegal across most of the United States. In those states that have legalized recreational marijuana, teen usage rates have skyrocketed. In Colorado, teen use of marijuana is 74 percent higher than the national average.
This comes with a huge price.
The teen brain is still developing, so any intoxicating substance causes more damage than it does to an adult’s brain. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, causes impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving and disrupted learning and memory.
After smoking marijuana, a teen’s thinking abilities bounce back more slowly than an adult’s. Regular use leads to a permanent decrease in learning capabilities, a shortened attention span and an impaired ability to effectively communicate. Researchers have also linked youth use of marijuana to mental illness and psychosis…
Legal marijuana will only tempt more teens. In their inexperience, they will drive or take other foolish risks. Not looking beyond today, they will sacrifice their potential. And we all will lose.
Legalizing marijuana is a bad idea for adults. But the consequences for our youth will be worse.”2016
Ed Gogek, MD, addiction psychiatrist and author, in his 2016 “Arguments Filed against the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act,” available from apps.azos.gov, wrote:
“I’m a lifelong liberal, but after thirty years practicing psychiatry, much of it with children and adolescents, I’m totally against legalizing marijuana.
And it’s not just me. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and American Academy of Pediatrics also staunchly oppose legalization. Why? Because just like Big Tobacco, a legal marijuana industry would target teenagers. With both tobacco and marijuana, 90% of adult users start as teens. All the profit in both industries depends on adolescent use. Big Tobacco used Joe Camel to get teenagers started.
Big Marijuana is even worse. In Colorado, they entice kids with marijuana candies, cookies and soda. Denver pot stores aren’t filled with green leafy weed; they’re filled with THC infused gummy bear, lollipops, and sweetened products called Reefer’s peanut butter cups, Hashey’s chocolate and Pot-tarts. Google them. As a result, Colorado now has the country’s highest rate of teenage marijuana use, and the number of dogs and toddlers overdosing on pot has skyrocketed.
The pot industry is directly targeting kids, even though hundreds of scientific studies show that marijuana – especially today’s high-potency weed – permanently damages the teenage brain. Teens who smoke pot regularly drop out at twice the rate of non-users, and as adults they earn less and have lower IQ. No parent wants this for their kids. But does the marijuana industry care? No more than Big Tobacco cares about cancer and heart disease; it’s just part of doing business. Remember: this initiative wasn’t written by hippies who want to get high; it was written by businessmen who want to make money getting your kids started on drugs. That’s why doctors who work with children – pediatricians and child psychiatrists – adamantly oppose this measure. As should we all.”2016
Dana Stevens, Executive Director of Community Action, Service and Advocacy (CASA), stated the following in her Nov. 20, 2017 letter to the editor, published in the San Diego-Union Tribune:
“Articles about marijuana legalization tend to focus on income — how much money will come in because of the commercialization of marijuana — but rarely focus on the cost. Homelessness, mental health and drug treatment are often factors on the cost side of the marijuana equation. In many communities, homelessness increased after marijuana legalization.
Marijuana is scientifically linked with psychosis and the onset of several other mental health issues. And in San Diego County, marijuana is now the primary drug of choice among youth and almost all adults in treatment say they started with marijuana.
So drug addiction treatment costs also need to be considered. Not to mention the social costs when drug users don’t get treatment. Do the math – marijuana commercialization, income versus cost, leaves communities short-changed.”Nov. 20, 2017
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), in its policy statement on “Marijuana Legalization,” revised in May 2017, available from aacap.org, wrote:
“Marijuana legalization, even if restricted to adults, may be associated with (a) decreased adolescent perception of marijuana’s harmful effects, (b) increased marijuana use among parents and caretakers, and (c) increased adolescent access to marijuana, all of which reliably predict increased rates of adolescent marijuana use and associated problems. Marijuana use during pregnancy, occurring at increasing rates, raises additional concerns regarding future infant, child, and adolescent development…
Adolescents are especially vulnerable to marijuana’s many known adverse effects. One in six adolescent marijuana users develops cannabis use disorder, a well characterized syndrome involving tolerance, withdrawal, and continued use despite significant associated impairments. Selective breeding has increased marijuana’s addictive potency and potential harm to adolescents. Heavy use during adolescence is associated with increased incidence and worsened course of psychotic, mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
Furthermore, marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent cognition, behavior, and brain development may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.
Marijuana-related policy changes, including legalization, may have significant unintended consequences for children and adolescents.”May 2017
Jeff Sessions, JD, 84th United States Attorney General, in his Mar. 15, 2017 remarks, a transcript of which is available at justice.gov under the title “Attorney General Jeff Sessions Delivers Remarks on Efforts to Combat Violent Crime and Restore Public Safety Before Federal, State and Local Law Enforcement,” stated:
“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”Mar. 15, 2017
The Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial Board, in a Nov. 7, 2016 editorial titled “Pot Legalization a Bad Bet for Nevada,” available at reviewjournal.com, wrote:
“[R]ecreational weed comes with health, safety and social costs that make legalizing marijuana a dangerous proposal for Nevadans…
Legalizing weed would jeopardize the health of countless Nevadans, expose more people to drug abuse and addiction, put excessive stress on the state’s health-care facilities and do little to relieve the state’s bloated prison population.
The pro-pot lobby hails marijuana as relatively harmless. But that’s misleading, at best.
Marijuana contains nearly 500 dangerous chemicals when inhaled or ingested, including about five times more tars and other cancer-causing agents than tobacco smoke. Cancer, respiratory diseases, mental illness, birth defects, reproductive problems and irreversible brain damage are all linked to marijuana use.
And no matter how much pot enthusiasts argue otherwise, marijuana is both addictive — one in 10 people who try pot will become hooked on it — and a gateway to more deadly drugs that kill more than 45,000 Americans a year.”Nov. 7, 2016
Charlie Baker, MBA, 72nd Governor of Massachusetts, Maura J. Healy, JD, Attorney General of Massachusetts, and Martin J. Walsh, 54th Mayor of Boston, in a Mar. 4, 2016 editorial titled “Mass. Should Not Legalize Marijuana,” available at bostonglobe.com, wrote:
“The question before us now is whether marijuana should be fully legal and widely available for commercial sale. We think the answer is ‘no’…
In the year after the drug was legalized in Colorado, marijuana-related emergency room visits increased nearly 30 percent, as did traffic deaths involving marijuana. Edible marijuana products – often in the form of brownies, candy, or soda – pose a particular threat for children, who may mistake them for regular treats. According to data from the National Poison Data System, marijuana exposure has been on the rise among children under six, particularly in states where the drug is legal. High potency edible products also pose a risk to adults, who can easily consume more marijuana than intended and experience serious adverse effects.
The financial backers of legalization are not neighborhood leaders, medical professionals, or grass-roots activists. They’re big businesses and investors, who are spending millions on campaigns across the country because they will profit from the legalization of marijuana…
Decades of research have now debunked the myth that marijuana is harmless. The science also shows that regular marijuana users – especially those who start at a young age – are more likely to try more dangerous drugs…
Our emergency departments and drug treatment centers are beyond capacity, and our first responders are stretched to their limits. We should not be expanding access to a drug that will further drain our health and safety resources.”Mar. 4, 2016
Jeff Hunt, MPS, MDiv, Vice President of Public Policy at Colorado Christian University, in an Aug. 7, 2017 editorial usatoday.com titled “Marijuana Devastated Colorado, Don’t Legalize it Nationally,” wrote:
“In the years since [Colorado legalized marijuana], Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana related traffic deaths, poison control calls, and emergency room visits. The marijuana black market has increased in Colorado, not decreased. And, numerous Colorado marijuana regulators have been indicted for corruption…
According to the Colorado Department of Public Safety, arrests in Colorado of black and Latino youth for marijuana possession have increased 58% and 29% respectively after legalization. This means that Black and Latino youth are being arrested more for marijuana possession after it became legal…
The true impact of marijuana on our communities is just starting to be learned. The negative consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana will be felt for generations… We’ve seen the effects in our neighborhoods in Colorado, and this is nothing we wish upon the nation.”Aug. 7, 2017
David Evans, JD, Executive Director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition and Criminal Defense Attorney stated at the “Great Marijuana Debate,” on Mar. 3, 2016 sponsored by ProCon.org, a video of which is available at procon.org:
“[L]egalization is really commercialization of marijuana, that is what it is about… just like the tobacco industry, you’re going to market to young people, you’re already doing it. In Colorado, we’ve got Sesame Street characters advertising marijuana, we’ve got Santa Claus, we’ve got Shatter, under the name of Girl Scout Cookie Shatter, those are all things that appeal to kids. In Ohio, you created a little cartoon character called Buddy to promote marijuana legalization just like we had Joe Camel for cigarettes…
It’s harmful to kids. And if it becomes commercialized, even though it’s only sold for people 21 years old, kids are going to get it. In Colorado right now, the leading source of marijuana that kids are getting comes from someone who bought it legally… The kids in Colorado now lead the country in marijuana use…
Marijuana expansion and commercialization is going to increase public costs. Looking at alcohol and tobacco as our guide, for every dollar we get in revenue we pay out ten dollars or more in social costs… [The cannabis industry] is going to make money on marijuana, I’m going to wind up paying the costs.”Mar. 3, 2016