The New York City Cannabis Control Board is delaying the start of legal marijuana retail sales in the state, possibly until next year. But we have already seen how limited his ideas for public health warnings are. Posters on commuter trains say that only people over the age of 21 can use the drug, and you can’t use it in public places. Anyone who has been to Gotham knows how well it worked.
But as the council continues to emphasize social justice by issuing marijuana licenses to ex-criminals and Gov. Kathy Hochul is salivating over yet another windfall from the sin tax, the two of them should urgently turn their attention instead to California’s experience of legalizing recreational entertainment. marijuana. in 2016. This state is now considering another potty lesson: a lesson about mental health hazards.
A Democratic pediatric legislator has filed a state petition that requires “product labels and inserts to carry a clear and conspicuous warning” that “cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems.” Parliament will hold hearings on this issue this week.
The bill, which Senator Richard Pan and two liberal Democratic House co-sponsors, Jacqui Irwin and Kevin McCarthy, drafted, features frightening language reminiscent of cancer warnings on cigarette packs. Warning: Cannabis use may contribute to “psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. The risk is greater for frequent users.
California State Senator Richard Pan sponsored a bill that warns against drug-induced psychotic disorders.AP / Rich Pedronchelli
This is not a modern version of the famous 1936 film Reefer Madness. The Oakland Institute of Public Health says such legislation would “fill a gaping regulatory void by requiring clearer and more specific health warnings on cannabis products.”
At the moment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has nothing positive to say about marijuana and claims it is linked to mental illness. “People who use marijuana are more likely to develop transient psychoses (not knowing what is real, hallucinations and paranoia) and long-term mental disorders, including schizophrenia.” In addition, the CDC continues, “The link between marijuana and schizophrenia is stronger in people who start using marijuana at an earlier age.”
State law may restrict the sale of marijuana to persons 21 years of age or older, but in California, as noted in the text supporting Pan’s bill, “the proportion of California teens aged 12 to 17 who use cannabis increased significantly between 2016 and 2019 in National Drug Administration.” Use a poll.” and health.” This is the first three years after legalization.
This is true not only because marijuana has become legal, but also because it has become commercialized. As was once the case with cigarette manufacturers, marijuana vendors can promote their use. Whoever thinks that such messages will only reach 21+ has smoked something. As noted in the bill, “the perception of the harm caused by cannabis use by users of all ages, including adolescents, has been significantly reduced.”
Hochul and the Cannabis Control Board must stop promoting legal marijuana. This does not mean that the genie of legalization can be released back into the pipe. This means focusing on mitigating the looming harm of legalization. Legalization shouldn’t mean encouragement—not when drug overdose deaths top 100,000 a year, and the CDC warns that marijuana use is linked to addiction.
Public hospital data shows that three years after legalization, emergency room visits for cannabis-induced psychosis rose 54% across California, from 682 to 1,053. They are potential mass shooters and subway psychopaths.
Gov. Kathy Hochul welcomed the legalization of marijuana.AP/Hans Pennink
The Cannabis Control Council should be busy producing commercials warning about the mental health risks of weed. The state should abandon its dream of marijuana tax revenues and cut taxes instead to ensure black market fake weed doesn’t flood the market and cause overdoses. Jacob Sallum recently noted in these pages that in California, illegal sellers “still account for two-thirds to three-quarters of sales,” thanks in large part to high taxes.
Public health is more important than feeding the population in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and the 19 states that have legalized recreational weed. It is simply wrong for states and local governments to rely on a risky product that harms the health of their own citizens. Let’s heed California’s warning.
Howard Husok is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.