According to a recent article in Politico, new information on the negative effects of marijuana use has led some researchers and policymakers to urge caution in moving toward full legalization of the drug.
Politico notes that legalization of recreational marijuana is correlated with an increase in cases of children being poisoned due to eating edible forms of the drug. There are indications that smoked marijuana may cause asthma. For children, research reportedly shows that marijuana exposure affects “‘later cognitive ability, including memory, attention, motivation and learning.’” In response to new data, two members of Congress that support marijuana legalization are now interested in measures mandating childproof containers, advertising restrictions, and dosing standards.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York and continues to believe that legalization is bad policy. Therefore, we are heartened that some policymakers are taking a cautious approach to the drug. However, 21 states—including New York—have already legalized recreational marijuana. Furthermore, information about the dangers of marijuana has been available for years. In NYCF’s memorandum of opposition to the recreational marijuana bill, we noted that the hazards of marijuana use include the following:
- Impaired perception, judgment, short-term memory, and motor skills;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Impaired driving;
- Dreamlike states;
- Communication problems;
- Slowed reaction time;
- Respiratory difficulties;
- Lung damage;
- Panic attacks, paranoid delusions, and hallucinations; and
- Increased risk of cancer.
Given all of these potential pitfalls, why would any state want to legalize marijuana in the first place?