Today, former United States Congressman and co-founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), Patrick Kennedy, released an open letter to lawmakers in states currently considering legislation to “legalize” the use of marijuana and facilitate its commercialization. Specifically, the letters are being sent to lawmakers in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Connecticut, Illinois, and New York.
“The commercialization of marijuana is a policy that results in devastating consequences for families, public health, and public safety,” said Mr. Kennedy. “If lawmakers can see beyond the fabric of lies being woven by the marijuana industry’s well-heeled lobbyists, they will see marijuana legalization efforts for what they are: addiction-for-profit companies looking for the next big payday. We must put public health and safety – and our kids – ahead of the interests of Big Marijuana.”
The letter addresses new research linking the use of high potency marijuana with psychosis, schizophrenia, and suicide. He also warns of and the industry’s targeting of vulnerable communities, such as young people, pregnant women, and vulnerable communities and families. Additionally, Mr. Kennedy addresses how studies have shown marijuana use is no substitute for opioids and that marijuana use lowers pain thresholds and facilitates the use of other drugs, as per the National Academy of Sciences finding in 2017.
Furthermore, Mr. Kennedy lays out how the giants of addiction are currently rushing head first into the marijuana industry as titans of Big Tobacco, Big Pharma, and Big Alcohol are either investing billions of dollars into the industry or are even heading up marijuana companies.
“I am thankful to have such a dedicated defender of public health like Patrick on our team for this effort,” said SAM president and former Obama drug policy advisor Dr. Kevin Sabet. “Lawmakers should heed the advice of mental health advocates such as Patrick and the overwhelming majority of medical associations and abandon reckless attempts to legalize another harmful, addictive substance.”