Medical and Recreational Marijuana Reform News Review today November 13, 2015:
Despite the momentum building for marijuana reform in the U.S. right now, many still contend that marijuana reform will have negative consequences. Those that take issue with marijuana reform believe that marijuana is a Gateway Drug that is dangerous and highly addictive. The federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Other drugs on the Schedule 1 list include heroin and ecstacy. The federal government’s scheduling only reinforces the opinion that some have regarding the negative consequences associated with marijuana use. Hillary Clinton recently stated during her presidential campaign that the U.S. should look to the states that have already passed legalization bills as experiments. She believes that we can look to these states and review the data to make future decisions regarding marijuana reform in the U.S. Right now, 23 states have passed legislation that permits medical marijuana in some form. 4 states have passed legislation that permits recreational marijuana. Colorado is one state that has passed such legislation and the data outcomes are available for review.
Data outcomes in Colorado Available for Review:
Clinton has referred to Colorado as an experiment and she plans to monitor the state closely as a method of informing and basing future decisions regarding marijuana reform in the United States. The state of Colorado voted to legalized recreational marijuana several years ago in 2012 and passed legislation to permit medicinal marijuana over a decade ago. Those against legalizing marijuana believed that this reform would increase the number of drivers on the roads that were drugged while driving. A very significant problem with this type of observation is that ‘remnants’ of marijuana use may stay in a person’s system for days or even weeks. This does not necessarily mean that the person is currently intoxicated by the drug or that the drug in any way contributed to an accident. A hospital visit would be necessary to clarify specificly that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, was actually still present in a person’s blood system. Also noteworthy is that there is data available which shows that driving fatalities on the roads of Colorado have improved over the last decade. This also does not necessarily have anything to do with marijuana use, but maybe it does. In general, identifying causation is difficult in this case. A politician like Hillary Clinton may find it a bit more difficult to use the states that have passed marijuana reform as nice and neat experiment that will sway opinion one way or another. It is possible that data and statistics can be shown in various ways which can skew a person’s perception and understanding of the data. It might be harder than Clinton thinks to find data that completely supports one side of the reform argument or the other.