USA: Top Marijuana Researchers Condemn Vote on MORE Act

For Immediate Release: September 10th, 2020

Top Marijuana Researchers Condemn Upcoming House Vote on MORE Act

(Alexandria, VA) –  Today, researchers from institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Addiction Medicine, and the University of Colorado sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of House Leadership expressing their concern with the rush to vote on the MORE Act, a bill that would legalize marijuana at the federal level.

“We write with concern regarding the reported push to vote on the “MORE” Act, which would fully legalize and commercialize marijuana. This is not about decriminalization or rescheduling marijuana. This is about full, commercial legalization. We write to emphasize that there is consensus in the scientific community that such a rush to put engineered, high potency marijuana products in the commercial marketplace would put decades of public health progress in jeopardy,” said the researchers, who sit on the Scientific Advisory Board for Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).

The letter lays out examples of some of the harms the current body of research has associated with marijuana commercialization including the drug’s addictive properties and its potential links to mental illness; youth marijuana use and the increased likelihood of prescription opioid misuse; the drug’s harms on brain development; and increases in marijuana-impaired driving.

The signatories also point out that while the effort to pass the MORE Act is couched as a well-intended solution to social injustices, marijuana commercialization has routinely failed to make good on any promises of social justice or equity:

“Racially biased marijuana policing and penalties for low-level possession must be reformed, but legalization and commercialization of the drug will not correct these injustices and will result in further social injustice. The marijuana industry promoting gummies, candies, and high-powered vapes and concentrates containing up to 99% THC actually exploits vulnerable populations. In Denver alone, there is one pot shop for every 43 residents of color in minority neighborhoods, worsening the achievement gap in communities of color…Legalization is not social justice—only 2% of the entire industry today has any form of minority ownership. Criminal justice reform can and must proceed. Creating a new addiction-for-profit industry will not aid or speed needed criminal justice reform. This is why decriminalization and expungements are prudent, while commercialization of the next Big Tobacco is not. Communities historically impacted by biased policing through marijuana enforcement require criminal justice reform, not billionaire-backed pot shops.”

Signers of the letter:

Hoover Adger, Jr, M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Adolescent Medicine

Professor of Pediatrics

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Judge Arthur L. Burnett, Sr.

First Black United States Magistrate Judge

Executive Director, National African American Drug Policy Coalition

Eden Evins, M.D., M.P.H.

Cox Family Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Founding Director, Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Jodi Gilman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Director for Neuroscience, Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Sion Kim Harris, Ph.D., C.P.H.

Co-Director, Center for Adolescent Behavioral Health Research

Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Marilyn A. Huestis, PhD

Institute of Emerging Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University

Yifrah Kaminer, M.D., M.B.A.

Professor of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Professor of Pediatrics, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Center

Christine Miller, Ph.D.

Former Research Associate

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Kimber P. Richter, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Professor and Director, UKanQuit

KUMed Hospital Tobacco Treatment Service

Christian Thurstone, M.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Denver

Aaron Weiner, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Owner, Bridge Forward Group LLC

Kathryn Wells, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado

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Media Contact: Colton Grace E: [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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