Drug Abuse Prevention Groups Urge Government to Reconsider Stance on Marijuana

Drug abuse prevention groups this week urged the Department of Justice to reconsider its announcement that it will allow Colorado and Washington to carry out their new recreational marijuana laws.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the groups said the government’s new stance on recreational marijuana laws was a mistake that will result in serious negative consequences, both economic and social, according to ABC News. “The policy will create several major obstacles to reducing drug use and its impacts in the United States,” according to the letter, written by groups including Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), the Drug Free America Foundation and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

The groups say the new policy will create large, for-profit, commercial marijuana wholesale and retail enterprises, promote expanded access to marijuana throughout communities, and “weaken youth perceptions of a drug that scientists unequivocally confirm harms the adolescent brain.” In addition, the letter states, the policy will compromise American diplomatic efforts, contradicting long-standing international treaty obligations.

The letter notes the department listed eight law-enforcement priorities that, if violated, will trigger federal action in legalization states. The groups ask how the department will determine if a violation has occurred. “Precisely how many additional underage marijuana users, marijuana-related driving injuries and fatalities, marijuana-related school dropouts, and other marijuana-related public health and safety consequences will be required to trigger federal intervention?” the groups asked. “How will such consequences be measured? What measurements will the Department use to assess the damage done in Colorado, Washington, and other states that legalize marijuana?”

Alison Holcomb, Drug Policy Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, who wrote Washington’s marijuana initiative, said the state’s law requires periodic evaluation of harm that results from marijuana use. It also requires reviews of public health, public safety, economic and social justice issues, she said.

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    Grainne Kenny

    September 7, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Let’s be clear here, we are referring to an addictive toxic psychotropic opiate drug. Therefore the contraindications in treatment would not be allowed by a credible medical council in any State. Regarding the cost benefits if legalized. The combined US Federal and State taxes collected on alcohol in 2007 amounted to 14.5 billion dollars. This combined amount was less than 10% of the alcohol-related costs to healthcare, criminal justice and the workplace in lost productivity. Each year Americans spend more than 200 billion dollars in the social cost of smoking. But only 25 billion dollars is collected in taxes. Won’t you people ever learn you are being used as pawns by the greed of billionaires (e.g.Peter Lewis and George Soros etc)seeking to add to their already bulging financial resources by buying your votes and undoubtedly some political votes to their own end. They will then sail off into the sunset while you will be left with your cravings for this toxic drug and no medical or addiction services.Nor will it cure your illness. Is this to be President Obama’s legacy?

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    Rob Fleming

    September 6, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    While I agree that it is a bad idea to, in effect, legalize marijuana, I think we are swimming against the tide. It might be better in the near term to push for an excise tax on marijuana at the same rate as for alcohol, with the money dedicated to treatment and prevention programs. We have a similar tax-and-fund program for medical marijuana in DC (although we have the lowest excise tax on distilled alcohol in the nation).

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    Chudley Edward Werch, Ph

    September 6, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Washington state recently identified 13 evidence-based programs found effective in preventing marijuana use among youth. Two of these programs, SPORT for adolescents and InShape for college-aged young adults are designed to prevent and reduce marijuana and alcohol abuse, while promoting healthy habits like physical activity and eating nutritious foods.

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    Paul From Michigan

    September 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I am a Michigan Medical Marijuana Patient. I had back surgery, in 2009. Because of Medical Marijuana, I have been able to stop my use of narcotic pain relievers and muscle relaxers. I also stopped the use of stool softeners, as I am no longer on opiates. I feel much better now. Many doctors told me that taking medical marijuana the rest of my life, will be much better than taking a pile of pills, the rest of my life. I understand your stance. For me, it comes down to having to choose the lesser of two evils. This course of action is working for me. So, I wish people would stop trying to take away from me, and others, what is working for me. Thanks for your time and consideration. – Paul

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