Sen. Schumer moves to federally decriminalize marijuana, but new studies show slew of problems

In what many might say is the only good move Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made, the Democrat from New York has introduced a bill this week that would decriminalize cannabis on the federal level and return to the states the power to enact their own legislation, but, in the face of a slew of studies, some caution that the “legalization of marijuana doesn’t come without cost.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study this week that shows a 5.8 percent spike in traffic crashes in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada following the legalization of marijuana and the ensuing opening of “pot shops.”

As states across the nation have decriminalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use, the cannabis industry has blossomed into a $30 billion industry, with states raking in a windfall of taxes, the Daily Mail reports.

Proponents of pot argue that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and relieves chronic pain, depression, and anxiety far better than the drugs prescribed by their doctors, with far fewer debilitating side effects.

But new studies are showing a correlation between marijuana use and everything from teen addiction to bad love lives.

Researchers at the University College London and King’s College London found that adolescents who use marijuana were more than three times more likely to get addicted to the substance than adults and had an increased chance of experiencing depression or anxiety.

A study out of Canada, which decriminalized marijuana in 2018, revealed that pot users were 22% more likely to be found in a hospital emergency room than those who do not partake, with many complaining of breathing problems or presenting with serious injuries.

And a University of Michigan study out this month stated that curiosity about the drug was up in children as young as nine years old.

One study from Rutgers University even found that regular users “misperceive” the reality of their romantic relationships and have a tendency to be more demanding, defensive, negative, and critical of their partners when arguing.

“The legalization of marijuana doesn’t come without cost,” said the lead researcher in the auto accident survey, Charles Farmer, who noted that legalization “removes the stigma of marijuana use” and makes it readily available.

The result, he argues, is more intoxicated, less-attentive people on the road.

Fatal car crashes in the five states mentioned have jumped on average 4.1%, with Colorado seeing a 17.8% surge in car crash injuries.

Even the United Nations has cautioned countries against legalizing weed, claiming in its annual world drug report, released last month, that decriminalizing marijuana leads to “accelerated” use of the drug and greater risks of depression and suicide among the users.

But according to Chuck Schumer, who, along with co-sponsors Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.),  hopes to see the long-awaited Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act pass, some states’ measures to permit the use of marijuana have “proven immensely successful.”

According to the Daily Mail, “Taxes on sales net states coffers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.”

Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, Schumer stated, “I am proud to be the first Majority Leader ever to say that it is time to end the federal prohibition on cannabis.”

Melissa Fine


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