Senator on a dangerous path with marijuana legalisation proposal

A recent proposal by Senator Di Natalie to legalise marijuana for recreational purposes leaves a lot to be desired: it is dangerous and lacks scientific research.

Dangerous because marijuana today has proven to be a harmful drug, especially when smoked, causing both physical and mental ill-health. To mention a few: It destroys young developing brains; is responsible for kids dropping out of school, is linked to psychosis and suicidal thoughts.

Poorly researched: Has the Senator been in contact with those who administer legalisation policy in the US? For example: the director of the Colorado marijuana policy has admitted that use has increased since legalisation. She is uncertain about the mental and other health impacts, saying: ‘Its too early to know’. Is this responsible public health policy?

Many trends in the US are showing some very concerning impacts in the  states that have gone down the legalisation path.

For example:

  • • Higher rates of marijuana-related driving fatalities.
  • • More marijuana-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and accidental exposures.
  • • Expansion of a lucrative criminal market.
  • • Increases in marijuana-related crimes and juvenile offenses.
  • • Increases in workplace problems, including labour shortages and accidents.

In the states that have legalised, 12-17 year olds use of marijuana has risen above the national average.

In Colorado:

  • crime has increased 11 times faster than the rest of the nation; and children with butane hash oil burn presentations have increased substantially in hospitals. In addition, Colorado currently holds the top ranking for first-time marijuana use among youth, representing a 65% increase in the years since legalisation
  • toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana have increased

In Anchorage, school suspensions for marijuana use and possession increased more than 141% from 2015 (when legalization was implemented) to 2017.

In Oregon the marijuana black market is increasing, with 70% of sales in 2016 being on the black market; emergency room visits have increased 2000% for marijuana poisoning

We urge anyone who wants the latest trend data to read ‘Lessons learned from Marijuana legalisation in four US States’.

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