Parents Opposed to Pot does not support the legalization of marijuana. Six years of marijuana commercialization in Colorado and Washington gives us informed perspective, and the policy of legalization failed at all levels.
We believe that states that have legalized adult use of marijuana need to repeal it. The tax money does not make the social costs worth it. States with legalization break federal law, even if the federal government does not enforce the law.
We are glad that both the Democratic and Republican nominees for president do not support legalization. Vice President Pence is strongly in our camp, and we hope that Joe Biden does not pick a running mate who supports or is sympathetic to legalizing marijuana
We don’t believe marijuana is a states’ rights issue. We’re disappointed that both the president and former vice president Joe Biden take that position.
We don’t take a stand on expungement of records for marijuana, due to the great variation in states’ laws.
We do not take a position on decriminalization, but ask our supporters to explore the position statements of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and AALM (Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana) for education on this matter.
Is it ok to use pot?
We believe the message to youth must be that no amount of pot use is ok. This message will save lives, preserve young brains, and lead to better short-term and long-term mental health.
We strongly believe that use of marijuana is more dangerous than an arrest for marijuana. We acknowledge that damages from marijuana use on individuals are uneven and unpredictable. Though the strength of the marijuana, the amount of use and starting age affect outcomes, no one can predict who will have a psychotic reaction from using it. You do not need mental illness or addiction in the family to suffer extreme consequences from using marijuana.
We object to claims that marijuana is a “harmless herb,” “safer than alcohol,” or that it can be “regulated like alcohol.” The industry targets youth through its advocacy in social media and advertising for marijuana. The press fails at its duty to investigate false claims by the industry. Drug education fails because it emphasizes harm reduction over primary prevention.
We don’t call people who use cannabis “criminals,” nor do we claim that people should go to jail if they use it. There are all kinds of other variables that go into incarceration: plea bargaining down from other crimes; selling to youth; intent to sell, or if another person dies from drugs given or sold to them.
We object strongly to any marijuana use by pregnant and lactating women. The medical evidence against its use is strong.
We strongly object to use of marijuana by parents who have children in the home, or by people in charge of minors. Any marijuana use impairs judgement a great deal more than a glass of wine or beer.
No age group is safe from the risks of this drug, which is not safer than alcohol or tobacco.
Social Justice Issues
Sometimes police have enforced laws against marijuana sporadically or arbitrarily, which leads to public confusion.
Legalizing drugs is the wrong way to address social justice problems. We acknowledge that arrests for this drug disproportionately affect black and brown youth. In other words, blacks and Hispanics are arrested more frequently, relative to their rates of usage than whites.
Inequities in our social justice system are not caused by drug laws and are not unique to drug laws.
Problems of unequal justice should lead to criminal justice reform, not legalization of drugs. Legalization enables more drugs, more drugs will cause more criminal behavior. Other means of criminal justice reform are possible.
We need to rely on drug courts. Until a different system is in place, drug courts can provide effective treatment for people with problematic drug use and no resources. We concede that arresting people for possession of marijuana is not the best way to alert and educate the public about the true dangers of this drug.
Schedule I Designation
We believe marijuana must remain in a Schedule I classification, the same designation for heroin. Schedule I is for drugs that have high potential for abuse. Several agencies of government reviewed the designation multiple times. Scientists in these agencies keep coming to the same conclusion: Marijuana is a Schedule I drug.
The schedule I category also stands for no acknowledged medical use. For information, we recommend a recently-published medical book, Cannabis in Medicine, edited by Kenneth Finn, MD.
Whole plant marijuana is not medicinal. If components of the plant, or synthetic cannabinoids, are “medicinal,” the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) should make the determination. It must be regulated for purity, dosage and efficacy, and monitored by licensed medical doctors. For example, Epidiolex, a drug for seizures, went through FDA approval process and was approved to treat two types of childhood epilepsy.
Because the industry avoids FDA approval, it’s harder to hold them accountable. For example, many people who became sick or died from EVALI were using marijuana vapes for “medical” reasons. We accuse many medical marijuana dispensaries of failing to warn their “patients” of the risks, such as driving under the influence of medical marijuana and causing traffic fatalities.
Contrary to popular belief, there are extensive studies on the medicinal properties of marijuana.
(For more detail, please utilize the search function on this website, for example “drug policy,” “schedule I” “mental health,” etc. We refer the public to a detailed article from USA Today for the problems presented by legalization. )