Legalization states have proven that it’s not possible to “regulate marijuana like alcohol.”  Prohibition of marijuana is the opposite of the Prohibition of alcohol — which took a substance the majority used and banned its sale.  Legalizing marijuana took a substance that few adults used and commercialized it to make it popular.

State legalization is policy failure, as reported in depth in the Los Angeles Times. — except for the few people in the business making money from it.    Attempts to fix the broken policy have not worked.  as discussed in the Wall Street Journal’s article, California and New York botched marijuana legalization. The tax money does not make the social costs worth it.  Legalizing and commercializing marijuana should not be a states’ rights issue.

States that have legalized recreational marijuana need to repeal it. What other substance is promoted as both recreational and medical?   Maybe opioids, but we know how badly that turned out!

The use of marijuana is far more dangerous than a marijuana arrest, in most cases. Yet the marijuana activists get political mileage by exaggerating arrest rates and claiming that the mythical war on drugs failed.  (Arrests are for selling drugs, having large amounts of it, or in conjunction with committing other crimes.)

On decriminalization, our readers should the position statements of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and AALM (Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana) to understand this matter.  Parents Opposed to Pot continues to advocate on social media, with more than 10,000 followers on Facebook and more who follow our state-affiliated groups. Much of our work has been taken over by SAM’s Parent Action Network and Every Brain Matters,

Is it okay to use pot?

We believe the message to youth must be that no amount of pot use is okay.  This message will save lives, preserve young brains, and lead to better short-term and long-term mental health. 

The damages from marijuana use on individuals are uneven and unpredictable.  The potency (percent of THC) in marijuana, the amount of use, and the starting age of the user affect outcomes, but 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.   Also, the brain damage from marijuana appears to come on to users much more quickly than the brain damage from extensive alcohol use.

Calling marijuana a “harmless herb,” or claiming it’s “safer than alcohol,” are deliberate fabrications.   The industry targets youth through its advocacy in social media and advertising for marijuana.   Drug education fails because it emphasizes harm reduction over primary prevention. 

We don’t claim that people should go to jail for using pot.  All kinds of other variables 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.  

Parents and children

We object strongly to any marijuana use by pregnant and lactating women.  Major newspapers that promoted cannabis use to mothers and parents of small children demonstrate a lack of ethics. The child abuse deaths by pot-using parents demonstrate the danger of this advocacy.  The large number of small children hospitalized after using edibles points to the fact that parents with small children become negligent after using pot.  Any marijuana use impairs judgment a great deal more than a glass of wine or beer.  Whenever small children are left in hot cars or left alone to drown in pools, we should check into the caregivers’ drug use.

No age group is safe from the risks of this drug, which is not safer than alcohol or tobacco.  Studies show that: 1)the percentage of marijuana users who develop a cannabis use disorder is higher than the percentage of alcohol only users who develop an alcohol use disorder.  2) Long-term, heavy marijuana users have more downward social mobility, job and relationship problems than long-time, heavy alcohol users. 

Social Justice Issues

Certainly, wealthy criminals can afford to hire top-notch defense attorneys, while low-income defendants rely on public defenders.

Legalizing drugs is the wrong way to address issues of unequal justice, such as the higher rate of arrests for black and brown citizens.  Legalization enables more drugs, and more drugs cause more criminal behavior.  Other means of criminal justice reform are possible, such as diversion and drug courts, which can help people without resources.

Inequalities in the justice system are not caused by drug laws, and are not unique to drug laws.

We don’t take a stand on decriminalization or the expungement of records for marijuana, due to the great variation in states’ laws. 

Schedule I Designation

We believe marijuana must remain in a Schedule I classification, the same designation as heroin.  Schedule I is for drugs that have a high potential for abuse. Despite multiple reviews, umpteen times, the research shows that marijuana belongs as a Schedule I drug.

The schedule I category also stands for no acknowledged medical use.  For information, we recommend the book, Cannabis in Medicine, edited by Kenneth Finn, MD.  Or check out the doctors’ website at IACI

Whole-plant marijuana is not medicinal.  If components of the plant, or synthetic cannabinoids, are “medicinal,” the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) makes the determination.  The FDA makes mistakes but unqualified cannabis companies — which are now getting sued for their misrepresentation — make bigger mistakes.

Because the industry avoids FDA approval, it’s harder to hold them accountable.  For example, some people who became sick or died from EVALI were using marijuana vapes for “medical” reasons.    Medical marijuana “dispensaries” fail to warn their “patients” of the risks, such as driving under the influence of medical marijuana and causing traffic fatalities. They should be prosecuted for giving medical advice.

Contrary to popular belief, there are extensive studies on the medicinal properties of marijuana.

Normalization and promotion of drug use

Marijuana legalization contributes to the addiction epidemic of by normalizing the use of drugs.  In fact some who die of fentanyl overdoses went straight from marijuana use to fentanyl. Addiction today is a polysubstance problem.  We believe — in contrast to the Drug Policy Alliance — that it’s possible to have a rich and fulfilling life without drug use. Whether we’re children or adults, we’re better off if we negotiate the challenges of life without substance use.  Using the term “War on Drugs” is passe, since the government stopped using that term over a dozen years ago. 

Bursting the Bubble of Marijuana Hype