ZEITGUIDE TO MARIJUANA FEARS
Consumer Trend Thursdays
January 17th, 2019
2018 was a landmark year for weed legalization. California legalized its recreational use last January, as did Canada—in October. Deep-red Oklahoma and the famously not permissive Utah both passed laws allowing limited use of medical marijuana. Overall, the legal marijuana industry counted around $10.4 billion in revenue in 2018.
But We’re Still Learning About the Full Impacts of Marijuana …
—In his new book Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence, author Alex Berenson delves into the possible connections between increased marijuana use and corresponding increases of schizophrenia and other psychoses. He also poses that, with the U.S.’s catastrophic opioid epidemic, could marijuana serve as a gateway to more powerful illicit substances?
—Writing in Rolling Stone, Amanda Chicago Lewis points out Berenson is mistaking correlation for causation. In fact, many of the experts cited by Berenson have since come out to say the author misconstrued aspects of their research. “To say that we concluded cannabis causes schizophrenia, it’s just wrong, and it’s meant to precipitate fear,” says Ziva Cooper, a committee member on a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report widely cited by Berenson. “People who have schizophrenia are also known to be very heavy tobacco smokers, but we don’t say that tobacco causes schizophrenia.”
The Must-Have Conversation
As questions continue to rise about the full effects of marijuana use, expect no slowdown in legalization efforts in the year ahead. New York governor Andrew Cuomo has cited legalization as a priority for his state. Attorney General nominee William Barr has said he won’t take action against marijuana companies operating in weed legal states, a reversal from his predecessor, Jeff Sessions. With further legalization will come more research, more information (as well as more mixed headlines) but, hopefully, a more fully formed understanding of the good and the bad about pot use.
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