By Jason Turner, Executive Director of the Secretaries Innovation Group.
Marijuana legalisation is sweeping the United States – state by state – yet there is virtually no public debate as to whether adding a third legal mind-altering drug to tobacco and alcohol is good for society.
The public has been led to believe marijuana use is largely benign, yet the substantial negative effects of regular marijuana on individuals, families and workers are well documented by NIH and its subsidiary, the National Institute for Drug Abuse and elsewhere1. Should the following be considered benign developments?
- Two of five users do so daily, and 25% to 50% of these become addicted to the substance.
- Whereas opioids affect 5% of American households, legal marijuana has the potential to reach a majority of households over time.
- Young regular uses experience altered brain structure and functioning, which adversely influences learning and affects memory and attention.
- Users have worse educational outcomes, career achievement and life satisfaction.
- Regular heavy users experience a significant drop in IQ of up to 6 to 8 IQ points between childhood and midlife.
- Heavy use by parents results in the displacement of attention to children with sizeable negative effects on family functioning.
- Regular users place less emphasis on dedication to their careers and employers report more absenteeism and accidents. Employers react by increasing drug testing and report difficulty finding drug free employees.
Why is this story under-reported? Baby boomers may have used in their youth, but today’s drug is ten to twenty times more potent and candy edibles are available to children. The opioid crisis is crowding out coverage of the marijuana menace. The marijuana drug lobby (eg Soros Open Society foundation) is well funded and misinforms the public. The same drug lobby promotes the fiction that marijuana has medical uses superior to legally-approved drugs already treating the same conditions, giving cover to pro-drug activists.