Commentary: Consider the consequences of legal marijuana

Commentary: Consider the consequences of legal marijuana


The Durham Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition asks the community to consider the public health and safety consequences of legalizing the retail sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

According to the 2018 Smart Approaches to Marijuana Legalization Impact Report Lessons Learned from Marijuana Legalization in Four U.S. States and D.C., the data from the first states where retail marijuana has been legalized notes increases in marijuana-related crimes and juvenile offenses, higher rates of marijuana-related driving fatalities, more marijuana-related car crashes, emergency room visits, hospitalizations and accidental exposures, and increase in workplace problems, including labor shortages and accidents.

Marketing, accessibility and “kid-appealing” edibles will encourage youth use.

Adolescent youth use marijuana at higher rates in states where retail marijuana is legalized. As normal brain development continues until approximately age 25, the youth population are at greater risk.

The CDC warns: ”When marijuana users begin using as teenagers, the drug may reduce attention, memory and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions.”

Other studies show increased risk for mental health problems and further substance abuse.

Before Connecticut legalizes retail marijuana, the council urges community members to also consider the impact on the health, safety and welfare of our residents and communicate their position on this issue with their legislators.

Whether or not there is a revenue stream for our state by legalizing, there will be a cost to our communities.