Op-ed: Let's be more careful about legalizing marijuana

Health experts: It's a slippery slope
Posted at 7:41 AM, Feb 15, 2018

In January, a bill to legalize marijuana in Kentucky was introduced by Sen. Dan Seum, a member of the Senate’s Republican leadership team. The bill would legalize marijuana use for adults 21 or older. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while 21 other states, including Ohio, have legalized medical marijuana.

READ: GOP senator offers bill to legalize marijuana in Kentucky

In response, the Northern Kentucky Regional Drug-Free Communities Coalitions wrote this. The people who signed it are listed below:

In order to protect the youth of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the drug free and prevention coalitions of Northern Kentucky wish to educate our communities and legislators with regard to marijuana. It is our opinion, based upon the facts presented below, that marijuana use should not be legalized in any capacity.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has NOT recognized or approved the use of marijuana as a safe and effective drug for any indication. Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug, and as such, is not able to be effectively researched for medicinal purposes.

Ultimately, the legalization of marijuana will lower the perception of risk.

A lower perception of harm or risk historically leads to an increased usage among youth. Across the state of Kentucky, the perception of harm for marijuana continues to decrease with time according to the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey.

Every state that has now legalized marijuana for “recreational” use started by legalizing marijuana for “medical” use.

READ: Legal marijuana proposal could be coming back to Ohio ballot

This is a particularly slippery slope in a region and state already so overwhelmed by substance use and abuse.

We encourage our citizens and policy makers to be mindful of our youth when making decisions that will be so impactful on our next generation.

Ben Brown, Chair, Boone County Alliance; Sarah White, Coordinator, Campbell County Drug-Free Alliance; Brian Brentlinger, Chair, Champions for a Drug-Free Gallatin County; Camille Croweak, Coordinator, Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County; Diana O’Toole, Coordinator, Kenton County Alliance; Sarah Paige Tuttle, Coordinator, Owen County Drug Prevention Task Force; Mary Pettit, Coordinator; Champions for a Drug-Free Pendleton County.