Don't Be Duped by So-Called "Medical" Marijuana Laws

By Becky Vance, President & CEO

During his second visit to Drug Prevention Resources to speak to the staff about marijuana, board member Jimmy Capra posed a few key questions about legalizing marijuana, whether for “medical” or recreational purposes.

What is our messaging to young people around marijuana?

How and why, when one in seven people become addicted, are we still having conversations about marijuana?

Does the truth matter?

San Antonio Senator Jose Menendez has once again introduced a bill (SB 269) to legalize marijuana in Texas. This bill would decriminalize marijuana “for medical use by qualifying patients with certain debilitating medical conditions.”

As Jimmy explained, when it comes to efforts to legalize marijuana, “emotion carries the day, not facts.” And by the way, he has the credentials to know what he’s talking about, after serving in the Drug Enforcement Administration for nearly 30 years.

In reality, marijuana legalizers are using the “medical marijuana” argument as a ruse to dupe the public when the agenda is really to get a foothold into the wall of passing full recreational laws.

The term “medical” marijuana is an oxymoron because any drug that is not approved by the FDA cannot be legally prescribed by a doctor. People don’t get prescriptions for pot, they get a "letter of recommendation." Also, the Federal Drug Administration issued a statement more than 10 years ago against smoking marijuana as medicine.

There is no evidence-based research that proves marijuana in smoked or raw form has medicinal value. How many medicines do you know of that are smoked? In fact, Dr. Robert DuPont, former director of NIDA, says, "There is no acceptable role in modern medicine for using burning leaves as a drug delivery system because smoke is inherently unhealthy."

We are not without compassion. When your loved one is ill it’s natural to grasp for any solution. But legalizing marijuana for “medical” purposes is not the answer.

Going down the path to marijuana legalization is “reckless and irresponsible,” Capra says. Our DPR team is most concerned about the impact marijuana legalization has not only on the adolescent brain (please our resources page for more information) but on their attitudes and perception of harm.

We know that as perception of harm decreases, drug use increases. We’ve worked too hard to get here. The 2015 NSDUH shows that we are finally making some progress with marijuana use by youth. However, there was a slight increase in usage among youth between 18-25.

I’ve just returned from the 27th Annual CADCA Conference where I learned three things everyone should know abut marijuana, courtesy of Let's Be Clear Georgia

First, no responsible adult wants to see a teenager get stoned and try to operate a motor vehicle. This doubles their chance of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Second, no caring parent wants to see her or his child become addicted to marijuana. One in six teens who smokes marijuana becomes addicted.

Third, no employer wants to see their employees come to work under the influence of marijuana. Marijuana users have a 78 percent increase in absenteeism over non-users, 85 percent more injuries at work than non-users and 64 percent more disciplinary actions.

Marijuana—in any form—is bad for children and teens. A marijuana law—in any form—gives them greater access and more opportunity. That’s about as simple as it gets.

Please voice your concerns to your state elected officials. And thank you for your dedication to the children of Texas!

P.S. Jimmy Capra and his wife, Shelly, have a new book due out soon. Learn more about Raising Courageous Children in a Cowardly Culture on Jimmy's website, Front Line Leadership Group.

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