GOP Hopeful Backs Expanding Drug Use Despite Damning Medical Data, Skyrocketing Rates of Use

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the nation’s leading marijuana policy organization, issued the following response today to Republican Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s decision to support the federal legalization of THC drugs produced from marijuana.

“Parents, medical professionals and law enforcement should be shocked and disheartened that Mr. Ramaswamy has chosen to ignore the medical science and government data about the impact commercializing marijuana has had on millions of Americans. Maybe Mr. Ramaswamy thinks that pot is just a plant. Marijuana products today are engineered to be on average 400 percent more potent and therefore more addictive than the old joints of decades past. That he has chosen to cast his lot with an industry with a history of victimizing communities of color is even more inexplicable. 

“Mr. Ramaswamy should know better, especially considering his wife is a physician. He’s decided to take a position against that of every major medical association, Surgeons General appointed by both parties, the FDA, and the DEA, as well as parents’ groups and law enforcement across the country. He should explain how increasing drugs on our streets, usage and addiction will improve the lives of Americans at a time when we are already dealing with drug, crime and mental health crises. 

“Mr. Ramaswamy’s judgement here may be colored by the fact that he made his fortune in pharmaceuticals. But he apparently doesn’t realize that THC drugs sold by the industry are far from medicinal. Scientific data increasingly links THC use with depression, IQ loss, suicidality, psychosis and schizophrenia. This is especially true for young people whose brains are still developing.

“Federal legalization will lead to the full-scale industrialization and commercialization of high-potency THC products that are increasingly linked to the highest rates of use in history. Given the data on everything from drugged driving to increases in marijuana use disorder, it appears he’s either pandering for votes at the expense of safety, in the pocket of the industry, or simply naïve.”