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Congress should not legalize marijuana


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The Washington Examiner

Washington Examiner

August 01, 2022

The movement to legalize marijuana has enjoyed an unbroken string of victories on the state level over the last decade. But as Congress considers nationwide legalization , proponents of legal cannabis are making the same empty promises they made to the residents of every state that took their advice.

They spoke of marijuana as a harmless drug that gave a cheap high and nothing more — not at all like the deadlier hard drugs such as meth and opioids, with their unhealthy and even lethal consequences. They also downplayed the idea that widespread drug use would bring about societal maladies.

As of this spring, science and data had borne out the fact that marijuana is actually pretty dangerous for a number of reasons. Based on data obtained since legalization, both medical and recreational marijuana use are associated with a 23% increase in mortality rates from opioid use — an increase that disproportionately affects men and nonwhites. It turns out there might indeed be something to that old saying about cannabis as a "gateway drug." People have sneered and laughed at this idea for decades, and science shows they were wrong to do so. There is a great deal about drug dependency that science still does not fully understand.

And death is not the only potentially deleterious health consequence. The smoking of cannabis causes lung and heart maladies and testicular cancer, something slick marketing of legalization has left many users unaware of. But even more alarmingly, habitual use of marijuana in one's teens or early 20s can cause permanent brain damage, affecting a late-forming part of the brain (the frontal cortex) that is critical to "planning, judgment, decision-making, and personality."

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