CONTACT 10 reasons not to legalize marijuana - Dr. Christian Thurstone

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.

About Chris Thurstone

Dr. Christian Thurstone is one of only a few dozen physicians in the United States who are board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry. He is Director of Behavioral Health Services at Denver Health and a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, where he conducts research on youth substance use and addiction and serves as director of medical training for the university’s addiction psychiatry fellowship program. You can read more about him here.

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