“We’re saying, ‘please keep the public health focus front of mind as this legislation is unrolled,’ ” said Gail Beck, the clinical director of youth psychiatry at The Royal, a psychiatric hospital in Ottawa. “Lots of people think this is harmless.”
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, SAM President and CEO Dr. Kevin A. Sabet released a statement on today’s legislation released by the Canadian federal government to legalize marijuana:
“The Canadian legislation is not about decriminalization, but rather the full legalization of marijuana and marijuana edible products for anyone over 18 years of age. The brain is in a critical time of development until about age 30. And without safeguards to protect against stoned drivers, public safety will be at risk.
“Canadians should learn from our painful experience of legalization in Colorado, where the special interest marijuana lobby now has set up more pot shops than Starbucks coffee outlets and McDonald’s. A new report, reviewed by senior researchers at Harvard, University of Colorado, Boston Children’s Hospital, and other public health research universities, found surges in youth pot use, hospital visits among young children, increases in fatal car crashes related to recent marijuana uses, greater workplace issues, more arrests of Black and Latino youth, and other negative consequences.
“The report also cites Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who recently said, ‘The criminals are still selling on the black market. … We have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.'”
“In the time that some U.S. states have legalized marijuana, the only winner is the pot lobby that is lining its pockets.”
Jo McGuire, chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate remarked, “This is not what we signed up for. Where is the control? This concept of ‘regulation’ is a farce. It is time to step up against the marijuana industry.”
Pamela McColl, of SAM Canada, said, “This piece of legislation puts the Canadian family at risk. Youth already think marijuana is harmless, and now we are giving them the government’s seal of approval. This risk will spill over into even younger kids.”
For more information about marijuana policy, please visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at http://www.learnaboutsam.org.