Marijuana legalization has been a hot subject of debate among American politicians, both at the federal and state levels. While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has maintained a tough stand on cannabis legalization in the country, some legislators continue to express their interest in its favor.
The issue is again being discussed after a prominent Republican recently advocated for a healthy debate on it. In an open letter, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis hinted that the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC) may discuss marijuana legalization in 2018. Tillis addressed the letter to a North Carolina lawyer engaged with companies in the cannabis industry. It is noteworthy that Tillis is on the SJC with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, the man behind the Marijuana Justice Act.
“Proposals to legalize marijuana should not be taken lightly…As you may know, I am a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and this issue will likely be discussed this Congress,” Senator Tillis wrote in the letter. However, he did not deny the possible harmful effects of the drug, particularly in adolescents. He called for the need of educational programs to help people understand the long-term and short-term consequences of marijuana consumption, before allowing unrestricted use of the addictive drug in the country.
Tillis also expressed his commitment to protect the youth from dangerous implications of illicit drug use while ensuring to take the right decision on the issue. “I will carefully consider everything you have said in making a decision on what is best for North Carolina and the country,” said Tillis. Meanwhile, Daniel Keylin, Tillis’ communications director, has referred to the letter as an intent to invite Congress members for a healthy discussion on the issue.
In the past, many Republican senators had shown an inclination toward marijuana legalization in the country. According to the 2017 Gallup poll, 51 percent Republicans voted in favor of legalization of weed, an increase of nine percentage point over the last year. The survey also suggested a strong public sentiment toward legalizing pot, with 64 percent Americans demanding the move. Amid rising popularity of marijuana across the country, New Frontier Data predicts legal cannabis market to grow to $24.1 billion by 2025.
Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia permit medical use of cannabis, while 16 states allow the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a major phytocannabinoid containing around 40 percent of the plant’s extract and does not cause intoxication. Moreover, adults over the age of 21 can smoke marijuana without a doctor’s prescription in nine states, including Oregon, Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Marijuana misuse in America
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicates that approximately 24 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana in the past month in 2016. During the same period, nearly 4 million people aged 12 or older experienced a marijuana use disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 10 marijuana users are vulnerable to developing addiction to the drug. Teenage users are more vulnerable to harmful consequences of marijuana as they may develop mental health problems like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Marijuana addiction may have devastating health consequences. Law enforcement agencies should ensure that growing liberalization of marijuana do not affect public health. Requisite measures are required to increase access to treat people with marijuana-related problems. Sovereign Health, one of the prominent marijuana rehab centers in the U.S., provides evidence-based addiction treatment to help patients recover fast. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 683-9756 or chat online for more information on our treatment for marijuana addiction.