Originally Published: October 2, 2016 6:01 a.m.
Those who want to legalize marijuana are trying to soft-peddle recreational marijuana by normalizing the addictive potential of the drug.
As a pharmacist I learned a lot about addiction. I my experience, marijuana is addictive and it is a gateway drug to other more harmful substances.
A new study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, shows the number of daily or semiweekly users in this country, rose from 3.9 million in 2002 to 8.4 million 2014. If marijuana is legalized, this number will only rise. The Arizona Youth Survey has shown that 32,000 Arizona high school seniors who previously had no interest in the drug will try the drug if it is approved for recreational use. It is estimated that over 6,000 of those High School senior will become addicts and possibly move on to other more addictive substances.
The hallucinogenic effect of marijuana alters the way the brain works. Marijuana impairs areas of the brain related to pleasure, memory, initiative, concentration, coordination and time perception. Marijuana users taking large doses of the drug may even experience psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions. Because of its effect on executive function in the brain, even the well-intentioned user can become addicted. Recent data suggests that 30 percent of marijuana users may have some degree of marijuana use disorder (NIDA.gov).
Before you vote on Prop 205, please consider the following; Marijuana use in Arizona is already above the national average. Do you want to enact an initiative that will increase the number of Arizonans using the drug thus leading to an increase in the number of citizens becoming dependent or addicted to Marijuana? Our children will be at even greater risk for addiction if this initiative is passed.
Please consider our kids and as well as the future of our state and vote no on Prop 205.
Paul Smith, R.Ph.