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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Volkow Speaks Against Marijuana Legalization

Americans' view of marijuana continues to change and more states are considering legalizing the drug. However, there are still a number of experts who believe that legalization may be a poor decision. At a House subpanel hearing, world renowned substance abuse expert Dr. Nora Volkow, urged lawmakers this week to hold off on legalizing marijuana, saying that marijuana can act as a gateway drug.

Volkow is the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and her opinion is highly respected in the field of substance abuse. She said that because of all the reports that show marijuana’s medicinal benefits that many people have the misconception that marijuana is harmless. Volkow claimed that studies show changes in the brain amongst people who use marijuana and that using marijuana may get certain users ready for harder drugs, The Hill reports.

Volkow wrote on NIDA website last year, “Regular marijuana use in adolescence is part of a cluster of behaviors that can produce enduring detrimental effects and alter the trajectory of a young person’s life—thwarting his or her potential. Beyond potentially lowering IQ, teen marijuana use is linked to school dropouts, other drug use, mental health problems, etc. Given the current number of regular marijuana users (about 1 in 15 high school seniors) and the possibility of this number increasing with marijuana legalization, we cannot afford to divert our focus from the central point: Regular marijuana use stands to jeopardize a young person’s chances of success—in school and in life.”

Whatever one’s view on marijuana, it is hard to argue with the fact that more research is needed before the United States moves forward with legalization. However, opposing marijuana legalization is difficult while alcohol continues to be a legal substance despite the negative health consequences that go with it.

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