With the drug wars of decades past fresh in our memories and the opioid crisis in full force throughout the United States, it’s incredible to think that policymakers are welcoming the legalization of one of the most addictive and commonly used drugs in the country –marijuana.
Family Policy Alliance’s national headquarters is in Colorado. We’ve experienced first-hand the devastating impact the legalization of recreational marijuana has had on our state. We have had a few years now to assess the benefits and harms of legalization. From where we stand, there is nothing but a long trail of damage and enormous costs borne by our communities. Benefits? There are none.
Big Marijuana claims legalization doesn’t negatively impact teens. The law’s tepid attempts to limit sale to minors hasn’t protected them. Since we legalized recreational marijuana, drug abuse of our youth has increased over 20% in the first two years, while at the same time the national trend was in decline.
THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that produces the “high” appears in much higher concentrations than marijuana of the ‘70s. Marijuana consumption has long been linked with psychotic episodes and we’re seeing the impact of high-THC marijuana on our youth. Emergency room visits for teens in our state have quadrupled—along with the number of marijuana-induced psychotic episodes (like hallucinations, paranoid delusions, extreme mood swings, schizophrenia, and psychosis). Unfortunately, these stats don’t even include the rise in infants and toddlers being poisoned by this drug.
Big Marijuana claims legalization will relieve the burden on our law enforcement officers and criminal justice system and reduce black market sales. Not surprisingly, the exact opposite has occurred. “Legal” marijuana has flooded into Colorado’s black markets and into the black markets of at least 36 other states! Our police force has become more burdened than ever –felony marijuana cases have increased, organized crime cases have increased and the number of marijuana-related traffic fatalities has drastically increased. Even postal workers are working triple-time to intercept the enormous number of illegal parcels containing marijuana being shipped out of our state.
The media isn’t talking about these things, but Family Policy Alliance is talking about it and we’re not afraid to publicly oppose Big Marijuana. We’re working hard in states like New Jersey and New Mexico to protect our families and communities from harms we’ve experienced in Colorado. We’ve already helped stop legalization efforts in these states, but the battle continues. After seeing what going “Full Colorado” looks like, we’re not going to stand by and allow Big Marijuana to devastate our health and our lives—while they run away with the profits. With your help, we can continue to stand strong for our families and communities and put people over profits that line the pockets of Big Marijuana.
Stephanie Curry, Esq.