In response to the four states that passed ballots to legalize marijuana, we send our condolences to residents of those states. It’s not a good, science-based policy, or a good economic one. We won’t stop doing what we do, supporting families who lost or are losing loved ones to this drug. Marijuana is the starter drug for our addiction crisis, a foundation drug and often the first relapse drug for those who struggle with addiction.
We’re sad because the public have lost special protective factors for public health and safety. Keeping drugs illegal is a vital harm reduction policy. With more marijuana use comes more loss of life from addiction, mental illness and car crashes. It also brings work place incidents, psychotic behaviors, violence related to drug dealing and deaths from child abuse or neglect.
Parenting in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota just got harder. Access to a drug and perception of harm are two powerful factors that make it or break it in preventing compulsive drug use. The legalization ballots won only because of the extraordinary amount of money spent.
We’re not surprised. In every state, out-of-state drug investors outspent the grassroots opposition by huge margins. The victories follow the game plan of marijuana proponents: conquering the corners of the country and filling in with a checkerboard pattern of states, so that other states will be forced into accepting their drug-dealing programs. Oregon passed Measure 110, a major step towards legalizing all drugs.
The proponents suppressed the facts and data, as well as the environmental and neuro-toxic damages caused by the drug. We believe that if voters had been given the full truth – which takes lots of money — the voters would have respected the science and would have rejected marijuana legalization.
Other countries voted differently
On the brighter side, New Zealand, the country which had the most successful initial response to COVID-19, defeated marijuana legalization. Since 80% of New Zealand voters have used marijuana, their vote shows that past use does not predict a favorable response to legalization of a powerful hallucinogenic drug. Also, last week, Germany defeated an effort to legalize marijuana through the legislature, by about 4 to 1.
The United States and Canada remain the outlier countries. They’ve broken a few international treaties in order to legalize drugs. Together, our two nations have less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but comprise about 50% of the world’s drug users.
The United States hasn’t learned lessons from its recent failures with the opioid crisis, Big Tobacco and even the mortgage crisis. The warning signs of opioid problems and overdose deaths were out years before Congress took minimal actions to work against it and to stop the pharmaceutical companies from promoting opioids. When the mortgage industry grew in the late 90s and early 2000s, many people were lured by fancy marketing, and were even asked to get into the business. We see the same happening with the CBD sales, pitches to buy marijuana stocks and the marketing of marijuana as a job-creating industry. Jobs in the marijuana industry don’t pay good wages, lack benefits and even make workers sick.
Many marijuana proponents bragged of victory, while calling us at PopPot losers. We want to be clear: Parents Opposed to Pot did not lose anything. In fact, we have now gained more families, organizations, and individual citizens wanting to help increase our outreach. We will continue to grow, as more people are harmed as a result of these dangerous policies.
A multi-faceted policy failure
Legalization has failed on every level. The black market for marijuana increased in every state that has legalized it. Recently, officials discovered the murder of seven people on an illegal marijuana farm in Riverside County, CA. This mass murder that was not reported by the mainstream media, nor by the marijuana proponents.
The television magazine, 60 Minutes, featured a report on the increasing black market of marijuana in California. The report did not inform viewers about the violence and environmental impacts. States that have legalized marijuana have enabled human trafficking. Just this past August a prostitution ring was busted. Women were trafficked from China and exploited as prostitutes while they worked in massage parlors and growing marijuana.
We published an article on the violence, social problems and environmental impacts in 2017, Legalized Marijuana Twenty Years from Now.
How marijuana legalization affects youth
Youth are paying the price as the predatory marijuana industry has targeted them on social media, especially SnapChat, and propagated false messages like “marijuana is medicine.” Families are now searching for help and resources to help with their children’s marijuana addiction, Cannabis Induced Psychosis, and/or a major vaping related illness. The drug profiteers tell people that youth use has not increased with legalization, but the real issue is that in states with legalized marijuana, teens use the most potent varieties that are available in the pot shops, products that were not available ten years ago. In Colorado about 20% of the teens use marijuana, and, of those, 52% are “dabbing” and 33% are vaping it. These high potency products can be up to 98% THC, and are hard-core, dangerous, and addictive drugs.
In other words, parenting just got more difficult. Parent Movement 2.0 organized this year to address that issue.
Marijuana legalization is an anti-science policy. It is impossible to regulate it, and we will continue to educate the public.