Wednesday, October 2, 2013

State Marijuana Legalization: The Opposing Voices

Repeating Our Alcohol Mistakes?

A recent article in the always insightful Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Weekly, edited by Alison Knopf, concerns itself with the voices speaking out against Attorney General Holder’s announcement that federal authorities would not interfere with state efforts to legalize marijuana. It’s no secret that we here at Addiction Inbox have been longtime advocates for decriminalization along Dutch lines. So it’s high time we heard from some prominent dissenters on this issue.

Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., director of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and former White House advisor on marijuana policy: “It’s the same thing with alcohol:  The marijuana industry is giving lip service, saying that they don’t want kids to use.”

Sue Thau, public policy consultant for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA): “This is the start of Big Marijuana the way we have Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco…. Anyone who cares about addiction has to care about this.”

Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy: “We know that marijuana use, particularly long-term, chronic use that began at a young age, can lead to dependence and addiction. Marijuana is not a benign drug, and we continue to oppose marijuana legalization because it runs counter to a public health approach to drug policy.”

Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CEO of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA): "This decision sends a message to our citizens, youth, communities, states, and the international community at large that the enforcement of federal law related to marijuana is not a priority."

The article is entitled “Advocates dismayed as legalization moves forward.”

Here are a few I have come across recently from other sources:

Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM): "After decades of study the FDA continues to reaffirm that there is no medical benefit provided by the use of smoked marijuana and that, in fact, considerable harm can be caused by such use. We affirm the 2006 FDA finding and vast scientific evidence that marijuana causes harm. The normalization, expanded use, and increased availability of marijuana in our communities are detrimental to our youth, to public health, and to the safety of our society."

Office of National Drug Control Policy: "The Office of National Drug Control Policy is working to reduce the use of marijuana and other illicit drugs through development of strategies that fully integrate the principles of prevention, treatment, recovery, and effective supply reduction efforts. Proposals such as legalization that would promote marijuana use are inconsistent with this public health and safety approach.... Marijuana use is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and impaired cognitive and immune system functioning, among other negative effects."

CNBC: "Contrary to the beliefs of those who advocate the legalization of marijuana, the current balanced, restrictive, and bipartisan drug policies of the United States are working reasonably well and they have contributed to reductions in the rate of marijuana use in our nation.... The rate of current, past 30-day use of marijuana by Americans aged 12 and older in 1979 was 13.2 percent. In 2008 that figure stood at 6.1 percent. This 54-percent reduction in marijuana use over that 29-year period is a major public health triumph, not a failure."

Photo Credit: LARRY MAYER/Billings Gazette Staff


John Cleveland said...

If the folks who think keeping cannabis legal believe that is how we keep people safe, why aren't they advocating outlawing alcohol and tobacco products in all its forms? These are the two drugs that cause the most disease and death in this country.

Unknown said...

What is missing so far is a connection between marijuana and crime. I'd be interested in seeing some of these studies.

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