Pam Dudding Contributing writer
This plant has brought much discussion, agreement and disagreement around the United States in the last several months, concerning its true measure of good that the states had hoped it would bring.
Monetary income seems to be the top priority of many states, yet now, more and more clinics, doctors and social workers are fighting against the little plant as it seems to be causing big problems in the lives of Americans.
Over the last several months, updates and extensive reports have been shared through many media outlets concerning the approval to legalize marijuana.
The Blue Ridge Behavioral Health Clinic, Roanoke Prevention Alliance and Community Coalitions of Virginia, continue their fight to share with the public, not only what they are experiencing with their clients, but what other reports are paralleling with theirs.
Some of their ending facts are:
- There are considerable costs to build a system for legalized marijuana, such as to develop roadside testing, illicit/black market enforcement and retail enforcement
- Regular use of marijuana has been proven to be linked to increased risk of addiction, higher rates of mental illness and co-substance abuse with alcohol among other drugs
A disturbing fact remains that the THC found in the weed before use to be at a 5-25 percent level. Today, they find it averages 20-95 percent THC, a measurable difference which is causing profound side effects.
Sheriff Trevor Craddock shared, “As your Sheriff, I think that legalizing marijuana is the wrong path to take. First of all, what does this teach our children? That it’s okay to go through life high, drug use is ok? There are numerous problems with saying any type of drug use is acceptable, and it should be a normal part of life. Look at the problems (from the information in this research) – increased drugged driving, workplace issues, increased addiction, higher mental illness rates, co-substance abuse, and the list goes on.”
States who have legalized the drug have discovered their tax revenue to below. For Fiscal year 2018, the following states reported these percentages: Colorado – .78, Washington State – .30, Oregon – .34, Alaska – .12, and California – 20.
Added the Sheriff, “Just my opinion, but the only reason that the General Assembly is considering it is for tax revenue. I think it is the wrong path to take for Virginia.”
They also report that there have been many additional costs to each state:
- There are no roadside marijuana tests available for law enforcement
- More tools and training are required to detect impaired driving from marijuana use
- 60 percent of regular marijuana users, in legalized states, report they drive whether they feel impaired or not – causing increased accidents and insurance premiums
- With legalization, industrial accidents are reported up 155 percent, disciplinary actions are up 155 percent, absenteeism is up 178 percent and marijuana-related injuries are up 185 percent in the workplace
They also noted, “ Rhode Island reported a conservative estimate of the costs of marijuana to outweigh revenues by 25 percent with leading causes being workplace injuries, absenteeism and impaired driving.”
The BRBH will continue to share their research and encourages anyone to call them if they have any questions.
“We know marijuana will never be legal for youth or kids and making sure kids cannot access marijuana now, or in the future, is incredibly important,” share J. D. Carlin, Development & Evaluation Coordinator. “I am concerned that history has shown us that Big Tobacco, and now vape companies, have demonstrated they will use kid-friendly advertising and flavored products, especially those made to taste like candy, to influence kid’s decisions on using their products.”
All of the groups seem to share the same goal, to keep not only our youth safe and free from drugs but also educate the public in knowing all aspects of the drug.