Letter: Don’t legalize it

Published: 1/9/2018 12:01:12 AM
Don’t legalize it

“It’s just pot.” House Bill 656 delineates regulations around the legal production, sales, taxation and use of marijuana. Beyond regulations, there needs to be public and community education. There is much to understand about the effects of this drug, particularly on our youth.

I am a physician who specializes in addiction, and I see the negative effects of marijuana daily. While the medical and recreational legalization of cannabis in several states is responsible for a shift in conception of its safety, I have seen the misery that the disease of addiction causes regardless of the substance. Cases of young men and women admitted to residential care struggling with obsession, self loathing and hopelessness due to cannabis use disorder. Suicidal individuals and families giving up. “Just pot.”

Being aware of the potential consequences of marijuana (psychosis associated episodes, increase in emergency and hospital admissions, poisonings in children) is critical. Up to 9 percent of adults and up to 18 percent of those under the age of 21 who begin using cannabis will develop a use disorder (a change in the brain that makes it difficult to avoid using cannabis despite adverse consequences).

We have a crisis of opioid use, overdose, death and medical consequences in our state. We are woefully underprepared to manage medical and behavioral urgencies and emergencies associated with addiction.

New Hampshire should not legalize another harmful substance.



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