The Reality of Recreational Marijuana

November 14

Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota® is opposed to recreational marijuana on multiple grounds, but they all find their nexus in the health and welfare of North Dakota families. The family is the foundation for our communities, society, and state. Fundamentally, legalized recreational marijuana will not help our state’s families thrive, but frankly, do just the opposite – further contribute to the disintegration and devaluation of the family.

The best information to evaluate the effects of legalized recreational marijuana on a state are clearly from the experiences of other states. There are 11 states and the District of Columbia that currently have legalized recreational marijuana. Read what has happened, based on information found in widely published sources.

  • Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. [Colorado]
  • Washington State has more marijuana businesses than Starbucks or McDonalds. Colorado has more marijuana businesses than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.
  • A January 2018 paper in the American Journal of Psychiatryshowed that people who used cannabis in 2001 were almost three times as likely to use opiates three years later, even after adjusting for other potential risks.
  • Overall use [of marijuana] in CO and WA among minors (ages 12-17) is both higher than and rising faster than the national average.
  • Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana has increased (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment [CDPHE], 2017).
  • A 2013 paper in an Italian psychiatric journal examined almost 1,600 psychiatric patients and found that cannabis use was associated with a ten-fold increase in violence.
  • “The criminals are still selling on the black market. …we have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.” —Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.
  • Accidents, injuries, absenteeism, and disciplinary problems among pot users all increased after legalization by amounts ranging from 55-85%. [Colorado]
  • The Greater North Dakota Chamber, the state’s largest business advocacy organization, opposed ballot Measure 3 (legalizing recreational marijuana) in the last election.
  • 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.
  • The percentage of WA traffic fatalities where the driver tested positive for recent marijuana use more than doubled the year recreational marijuana sales began.
  • The National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.”
  • There are over 200 Marijuana Edibles available in Colorado, including things such as cereal, microwave popcorn, cough drops, and marinara sauce.

As is quickly evident from this review of the some of the literature, the list of negative impacts is significant. Why any North Dakota resident would want to bring these types of impacts to our state is beyond me.

Please know that we at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota will continue to fight against legalizing recreational marijuana in our state, whether that is attempted through a ballot measure or through legislative means. As always, thank you for your support to preserve biblical values in our state!

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director