An op-ed by Paul J. Larkin in The Regulatory Review explains how “regulation of marijuana has been based on a false distinction for almost a century.” Although components of the marijuana plant may be synthesized into real medications in the future — like the FDA-approved drug Marinol, synthetic THC — medical marijuana will never meet scientific criteria of modern medicine. Larkin concludes, “The real question is whether lawmakers should revise federal law to allow marijuana to be used for recreational purposes, just as alcohol and tobacco can be so used today. If Americans are to honestly debate marijuana use, the debate must be over its utility as a recreational drug, not as medicine, and who should regulate its potential uses—the FDA Commissioner or the U.S. Attorney General. The United States has followed the wrong approach to marijuana regulation for 80 years. It is time to get it right.” Read more.
An op-ed in The Washington Post from Alex M. Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), brings much-needed attention to the growing problem of youth use of nicotine through e-cigarettes: In one year fom 2017 to 2018, “the number of high-school-age children reporting use of e-cigarettes rose by more than 75 percent. Use among middle-schoolers also increased nearly 50 percent. That is an epidemic… The surge in e-cigarette use by teenagers is alarming because nicotine is highly addictive and can harm brain development, which continues into young adulthood. Worse, kids who start on e-cigarettes are actually more likely than non-user peers to migrate to smoking tobacco…” Read more.
IBH promotes the prevention goal for youth under age 21 as One Choice: no use of any alcohol, nicotine, marijuana or other drugs for reasons of health. Read more about One Choice Prevention.
The Denver Post published a remarkable op-ed from Colorado US Attorney Bob Troyer urging Colorado and other states considering marijuana legalization to pause and assess the results of this policy experiment. Among the highlights he mentions:
Colorado's youth use marijuana at a rate 85 percent higher than the national average
Marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151 percent
70 percent of 400 licensed pot shops surveyed recommend that pregnant women use marijuana to treat morning sickness
Colorado has a booming black market exploiting our permissive regulatory system
Marijuana tax revenue adds less than one percent to Colorado's coffers, which is more than washed out by the public health, public safety, and regulatory costs of commercialization
Colorado's alcohol consumption has steadily climbed since marijuana commercialization
He wisely says, “We should pause and catch our breath before racing off again at the industry's urging.” Read more.