Marijuana in Marblehead
Marijuana is once again in the news in this quaint Northshore village on the sea. In a Marblehead Reporter article last Thursday, the town’s Chief of Police voiced his opposition to an upcoming ballot question in November. HB 3885 is one of a number of legal efforts to legalize marijuana in Massachusetts. This ballot initiative would create 35 state-sanctioned distribution centers, allow people to possess a 60 day supply of pot and grow pot at home if they were authorized to produce, sell and consume “medical marijuana”. Marblehead Police Chief Robert Picariello sees the current decriminalization law that passed in 2009 as problematic and states that “it will only get worse”.
In response to the lobbying efforts of the pro-marijuana contingency, the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance has developed a Marijuana Prevention Initiative. The efforts of this group are to educate the public as to the results of other states’ marijuana legalization and the actual effects of marijuana use.
Some of the information includes:
> Most “medical marijuana” card holders are white men between the ages of 18 and 23 with a history of substance use problems.
> Increased availability, through legalization laws, is seen as a direct link to increased marijuana use by youth sages 12-25.
> What is a “60 day supply”?
> There is as yet no solid research that supports marijuana as an effective treatment for anything other than mild pain and loss of appetite. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports: “Marijuana itself is an unlikely medication…” In addition, the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is already available in Marinol, an FDA approved drug that may be prescribed by physicians. It is much safer the ingest THC in pill form, than through smoke which is harmful to the lungs.
Monday’s Boston Globe carried a follow-up article, outlining the risks of marijuana use and the issues related to the upcoming ballot question. “I think we’re going to be sacrificing the mental health of our young people if we pass this law,” said Dr. John Knight, director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research.
Chelsea Conaboy, the author of the Globe’s Monday article wrote a follow-up article today on the Massachusetts ballot question. Information from Oregon, cited in this article notes the increase in criminal activity as a direct result of their legalization law, passed several years ago. Growers of the marijuana, ostensibly to be used for medical purposes, have seen this as a marketing opportunity and are selling their product to other states, many of which do not as yet have legalization laws in place.
The push to legalize “medical marijuana” in Massachusetts actually appears to be a national effort to legalize marijuana overall. A considerable amount of money has been donated to the state effort by out-of-state contributors. One Ohio based supporter is noted as donating close to half a million dollars to the Massachusetts effort. Until we can receive the benefits of better scientific research and develop better mechanisms to keep drugs out of the hands of young people and provide viable and accessible treatment resources to those who need it, passing any of these laws is just going to contribute to the already epidemic drug problem in our country.