Five Fast Facts about Marijuana Legalization
There are a lot of unknowns about marijuana because of the lack of research at the national level. But there are things we absolutely know:
Opening the door to Big Marijuana is wrong for New Hampshire.
1. Marijuana use during youth, when young brains are developing, can have long-term negative health effects.
Here in New Hampshire, we know how important it is to support youth as they make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. We also know that substance use can be an obstacle to that successful transition. Our brains are built from the bottom up and are still developing through our early to mid-twenties. Using harmful substances such as marijuana during those critical years has the potential to negatively impact brain development and lead to negative outcomes.
2. The earlier adolescents experiment with marijuana, the more at risk they are for increased substance use later in life.
Given our understanding of brain development, it is not surprising that clinical research shows that marijuana use during adolescence can have long-term effects on stress-related behaviors and can lead to an increased chance of substance misuse later in life.
3. Legalization opens the door to Big Marijuana entering our state and advertising harmful substances to young people.
Legalization will enable and promote the development of a commercial marijuana industry in our state. This enterprise could include an active network of big corporations operating with a desire for profits and the incentive to increase consumption by marketing to create new users and maintain heavy users. Think Big Tobacco, Big Alcohol, and corporate enterprise.
4. Complex public safety concerns, including the safety of our roads and availability of highly potent edible products, surround marijuana legalization.
New Hampshire’s quality of life depends on communities, businesses, and government working together for the common good. Today, we face a significant addiction crisis that is putting the health and safety of both individuals and entire communities at risk. Increased public safety challenges, like impaired driving, edible products marketed to youth, and secondhand smoke, will only lead to a decrease in the Granite State’s quality of life.
5. With other states legalizing and commercializing marijuana, NH is in a unique position to wait and see what successes and failures they have.
Nearby states are legalizing marijuana and making a harmful substance more accessible to our youth. New Hampshire already has exceptionally high rates of substance use. Young people in NH are among the least likely to view marijuana as harmful. Other states are still struggling to set up effective regulations around marijuana. New Hampshire is in a unique position to assess other states’ challenges before risking harm to our youth and overall quality of life by legalizing marijuana.
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