Warns Virginia Legislators Not to Ignore the True Costs and Harms
Merrifield, VA—February 8, 2021–Opponents to the Virginia bills which will permit 400 retail marijuana shops and home grows in neighborhoods around the state, are hearing some alarming arguments in favor of the idea. Parents Opposed to Pot (PopPot), a drug prevention campaign, responds to the erroneous information currently being accepted by some legislators.
The reasons constituents are being given for supporting the legislation (SB 1406 and HB 2312) are in bold. What follows are the PopPot rebuttals:
There has not been an increase in the use of marijuana in states with legalization.
The recently released SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH 2018-2019) shows that drug use doubles when a state legalizes. MomsStrong.org recently published a helpful chart of this data. In the state of Colorado about 20% of teens use marijuana regularly, and half of those teens have progressed to the more dangerous high THC concentrates. These psychoactive drug products manufactured and sold by the marijuana industry include vapes and edibles. In jurisdictions where there is a high density of marijuana shops the rate is even higher. In Pueblo, Colorado, known as the Napa Valley of marijuana, the youth rate is 35%, and in Denver the rate is 25% for teens. Teens were not using these products before legalization.
Legalization has been shown to grow the economy and add jobs to our communities
A known marijuana side effect, Amotivational Syndrome, leads to low productivity, job loss and dependency and will be a drag on the economy. The growers hire trimmers, and “dispensaries” hire budtenders, but these are low paying jobs, with bad working conditions. Other businesses may leave the state for health and safety reasons, or if their operations require a drug free workplace. The costs to the state will far exceed the tax revenues brought into state coffers.
Crime goes down in the area around a marijuana store
In a study published in the Justice Evaluation Journal, researchers say they discovered that crime increases in the neighborhoods surrounding a marijuana sales outlet. Property crimes like theft and burglary rose 18% and drug crimes by 28%. Disorder crimes like criminal mischief and graffiti rose 17%.
Marijuana legalization is also driving down alcohol consumption.
According to the NSDUH report, last month alcohol use is trending down among ages 12-17 and ages 18-25, since 2002. But, for those ages 26 and older, alcohol use is remaining relatively stable. This data tells us that youth and young adults are falling prey to the drug lobby’s claim that marijuana is safer than alcohol. It is important to note, for 12-20 year olds, neither substance is legal. For those young adults 21 to 25, it is not uncommon for them to mix alcohol and marijuana, something budtenders call “cross-fading.” Using both substances together is more dangerous, as the cognitive impairment is magnified.
It is reducing the associated risks of driving while intoxicated.
Cannabis impairs motor and cognitive skills in much the same way alcohol does. AAA recently issued a stark warning that commercial marijuana will increase auto fatalities in Virginia. “After legalization in Washington state, fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used cannabis doubled, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Data from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice shows the number of fatalities with cannabinoid‐only or cannabinoid‐in‐combination (with other drugs and alcohol) positive drivers increased 153 percent, from 55 in 2013 to 139 in 2017.”
Marijuana consumption is a victimless crime here in Virginia.
Two years ago, after taking marijuana plus other drugs, a Radford University student stabbed and killed her roommate. In 2007, an 18-year-old marijuana addict drove into a Chantilly, Virginia police station and shot and killed two police officers.
Driving intoxicated by a drug, like alcohol, is a crime. Marijuana DUI arrests in Colorado are up 48% in the past year. Driving high poses a risk to the life and property of others, and it causes car crash victims.
Parents Opposed to Pot is tracking news reports of child deaths related to adult marijuana use. Just since Colorado voters ushered in commercial marijuana, PopPot finds at least 250 child victims of abuse and neglect. Three of those deaths were in the state of Virginia. Two of the deaths were passengers in the car of a cannabis impaired driver, the third was a child left to die in a hot car.
Last week, PopPot sent every Virginia legislator several stories from Virginia parents who have children currently suffering with marijuana-related mental illness, or who lost their child to a drug overdose. Cannabis can trigger psychosis, schizophrenia and violence, so PopPot asserts any business that sells this drug is going to create victims.
Aubree Adams, Assistant Director of PopPot, asks the Virginia legislators, “You talk about money, but you don’t talk about the costs. Why?”
Parents Opposed to Pot is a 501c3 educational nonprofit based in northern Virginia. Contact at 773-322-7523 or visit the website, poppot.org, Facebook @poppotorg.
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