I’m honored to have been elected president of the Colorado Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society. In November, the organization’s member physicians asked me to speak during their annual dinner — so know that in the video I link you to here, I’m speaking to fellow therapists and get a little technical as I share my top 10 reasons why marijuana shouldn’t be legalized.
As I explain, I used to be a card-carrying member of the Libertarian political party who thought marijuana legalization was a great idea. But when I started to study the science of addiction and care for kids with psychiatric and substance use disorders, I changed my mind — and fairly quickly.
The scientific data indicating drug legalization is bad a idea are overwhelming — and especially stacked against what’s in the best interest of kids, who are disproportionately harmed by addictive substances and who will, ultimately, grow up to be adults who could find themselves struggling for the rest of their lives with debilitating and chronic problems associated with substance abuse and addiction.
This is a healthcare issue of great national importance that has been very, very unfortunately politicized. In fact, far too many of our legislators at the local, state and federal levels develop policies in the absence of reputable, peer-reviewed and evidence-based science. Before championing efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use, there is much more responsible middle ground, including legal reform of drug laws, for us to explore.