Marijuana: What's the big deal?
Thank you to those who have compassion for desperate families looking for any answer to help their loved ones who are being treated for cancer or any other major illness.
As a mother of a child who had 200-300 seizures a day and knowing the stress, hopelessness and desperation, I understand the urgency for an answer.
With this being said, I am offended and angered by an industry that strategically orchestrated this campaign, using these families as their shield to thrust their agenda in an effort to
Don't be fooled by all the gamesmanship, but instead understand that their plan grows a billion-dollar industry on the back of addiction.
Cutting edge research is being conducted, medications are being developed and some forms exist and are available for prescribing.
Yet this is not being talked about, especially by the media. If there are components that can be isolated, have value and produced into a pharmaceutical intervention, then this is what should be promoted through the FDA.
Just like opium, we do not need to smoke it to get the benefit that morphine (the pill form of opium) provides.
The same applies to marijuana: We do not need to allow smoking it to provide access to the beneficial components. It's interesting that only about 2 percent of the medical marijuana cards issued are for individuals that actually have cancer or AIDS.
The average card holder is a male, in his 30s with a history of drug abuse and no terminal illness.
We are seeing the results of this issue being played out across the nation. We are seeing low perception of risk around marijuana use which we know with adolescents means increased use.
The neuroscience research is clear. This is a dangerous drug. Increased access will promote increased use by youth. Increased addiction rates will result.
Unfortunately, most people do not see the big deal of allowing someone to smoke a joint. Yet this is not the issue. It is a whole industry of foods and products to provide the dispensing of THC, the psychoactive drug in marijuana.
We are seeing the impact in Colorado and states that approved marijuana for medicinal use:
n Increased advertising, targeting youth
n Increased driving under the influence (drugged driving)
n Increased admission of youth to mental health and drug addiction treatment
n Increased emergency room visits
The other argument on this issue is the crime statistics that lead us to believe that we are locking people up for paraphernalia and small amounts of possession of marijuana.
The data is clear: less than 0.02 percent of individuals are in jail for this issue and typically it is due to other drug trafficking charges.
I encourage all of you to please review the material and watch the videos offered by SAM (Smart Approach to Marijuana).
Don't be fooled by the smoke and mirrors of a for-profit industry that will make billions off this addictive and dangerous drug if legalized. It is a big deal.
(The writer is the executive director of the Blair County Drug & Alcohol Partnership.)