Recreational Marijuana Would Harm Arkansans

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

On Tuesday activists in Arkansas announced plans to propose measures legalizing recreational marijuana in Arkansas, letting Arkansans grow marijuana at home, and letting a criminal convicted of a low-level marijuana offense petition a court for expungement of the conviction.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “There’s nothing safe about marijuana. People are killed every day in marijuana-related car accidents in this country. Children in Colorado, California, and other states where marijuana is legal have been hospitalized after getting ahold of an adult’s marijuana. In Alabama, a toddler recently died in a hot car while his parents allegedly were passed out under the influence of marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana will put Arkansans at risk.”

Cox said legalization will not end the illegal sale of marijuana. “Legalizing marijuana doesn’t eliminate the black market for marijuana. In Colorado, people still buy and sell marijuana illegally all the time so they can avoid paying taxes. Drug dealers buy marijuana in states like Colorado or California so they can sell it illegally in other states.”

Cox said recreational marijuana ultimately will cost taxpayers. “The taxes on marijuana can’t possibly cover all the cost to the taxpayer. This measure will require the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Division to spend public funds overseeing recreational marijuana sales and use in Arkansas. The measure lets people grow marijuana at home. Every law enforcement agency in Arkansas from the county sheriff to the state police will have to spend time and money making sure folks growing marijuana at home aren’t selling it to their neighbors. Taxpayers are the ones who will have to foot that bill.”

Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.


AAA Survey Underscores Misconceptions About Drugged Driving

A new study released by AAA this month shows many Americans believe it is less dangerous to drive after using marijuana than it is to drink and drive, text while driving, talk on a cell phone while driving, or drive while drowsy.

AAA surveyed 3,349 American drivers ages 16 and older.

The study found only about 70% of Americans said it was dangerous to drive after using marijuana — compared with 96% who said drowsy driving was dangerous.

In other words, drivers believe it is riskier to drive while sleep-deprived than it is to drive under the influence of marijuana.

However, the AAA study cited 20 years of research that concluded drivers under the influence of marijuana are more than twice as likely to crash.

Last fall officials in Colorado announced that marijuana-related traffic deaths had risen 151% since the state legalized marijuana.

All of this underscore what we keep saying: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.

Read the AAA survey results here.

NYT, WP Columns Underscore Dangers of Marijuana

On Sunday an opinion-editorial by Dr. Kenneth Davis and Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek appeared in the New York Times highlighting the dangers of marijuana-use among children.

The column reads in part,

It’s tempting to think marijuana is a harmless substance that poses no threat to teens and young adults. The medical facts, however, reveal a different reality.

Numerous studies show that marijuana can have a deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents, impairing executive functionprocessing speedmemoryattention span and concentration. The damage is measurable with an I.Q. test. Researchers who tracked subjects from childhood through age 38 found a consequential I.Q. decline over the 25-year period among adolescents who consistently used marijuana every week. In addition, studies have shown that substantial adolescent exposure to marijuana may be a predictor of opioid use disorders.

The reason the adolescent brain is so vulnerable to the effect of drugs is that the brain — especially the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision making, judgment and impulsivity — is still developing in adolescents and young adults until age 25.

That same day the Washington Post published a news report highlighting the threat marijuana poses to children, teens, and young adults, writing,

“Underage kids have unbelievable access to nuclear-strength weed,” said Andrew Brandt, a Boulder, Colo., software executive whose son got hooked while in high school.

With some marijuana products averaging 68 percent THC — exponentially greater than the pot baby boomers once smoked — calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms have risen. In the Denver area, visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado facilities for treatment of cyclic vomiting, paranoia, psychosis and other acute cannabis-related symptoms jumped to 777 in 2015, from 161 in 2005.

The increase was most notable in the years following legalization of medical sales in 2009 and retail use in 2014, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health published in 2018.

“Horrible things are happening to kids,” said psychiatrist Libby Stuyt, who treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health impacts of high-potency marijuana. “I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety.”

We have written time and again about the serious dangers associated with marijuana — even so-called “medical marijuana” — including:

Sunday’s op-ed in the New York Times and article in the Washington Post simply underscore what we have said all along: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.