March 1, 2019
Dear Rep. Harris,
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. Unfortunately, the information you provided had no sources or references, so I was able to find a vast array of reliable studies and surveys that provided contrasting data to all of the alleged negative impacts of marijuana legalization. First, a study from Kent University states that there is no concrete evidence that strict marijuana laws deter young people from using or abusing cannabis. Based on analytical data from 38 countries, Alex Stevens concluded that when a more theoretically relevant group of respondents was used to re-apply and re-analyze data from the Health Behavior in School aged Children Survey, there was no statistically significant association between policy reform and higher odds of adolescent cannabis use.
While people with a family history of psychotic disorders or that have experienced childhood abuse have a greater possibility of developing psychosis due to cannabis use, there is still only a very small percent of the population that is susceptible to these disorders, and more importantly, being familiar with genetic indications of psychotic disorders outweighs any added effect of cannabis use. Furthermore Harvard Medical School performed a recent study of cannabis related to schizophrenia in which Dr. Delisi concluded that a genetic predisposition is necessary, meaning that cannabis does not cause schizophrenia by itself.
Since the state of Colorado passed Amendment 64 in 2012 and enacted the legislation in 2014, annual marijuana use among teens has decreased in adolescents aged 12-17, according to two surveys performed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. In addition to Colorado, jurisdictions such as Maine, the District of Columbia and California also have statistics that show a decrease in marijuana use among youth ages 12-17 proceeding the legalization of cannabis.
In conclusion, there are a number of widely accepted sources that collectively agree about the positive medical benefits of cannabis in addition to policy reforms enacted by states can decrease use among adolescents. The true issue surrounding marijuana policy reform is the disproportionate arrest rates of African-Americans to whites for non-violent possession charges. My sole reason for asking you to support H.R. 420 is to discontinue the arrest of citizens for the possession of marijuana, which has been used as a tactic to destroy the lives of minorities with fines, court costs, and criminal records, which have prevented me from obtaining employment with numerous companies. I highly encourage you to consider these sources and perform more research about the positive effects of marijuana legalization and the negative effects of prohibition, such as blacks representing 50 percent of people incarcerated in the United States, even though they represent 30 percent of the overall population. Mendacious
Bhandari, Smitha. M. D. “Marijuana and Schizophrenia: Is There a Link?” WebMD, WebMD, 22 Nov. 2018, www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-marijuana-link#1.
Carey, Benedict. “Does Marijuana Use Cause Schizophrenia?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Jan. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/health/cannabis-marijuana-schizophrenia.html.
Ellis, Lisa. “Medical Marijuana for Schizophrenia: Weighing the Risks and Benefits.” PsyCom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1986, www.psycom.net/medical-marijuana-schizophrenia.
Miller, Blair. “Kids’ Marijuana Use Flat in Colorado in 2017.” 7NEWS, 19 July 2018, www.thedenverchannel.com/news/politics/share-of-colorado-kids-using-marijuana-stays-flat-in-2017-while-adult-use-increases-reports-say.
Newman, Tim. “Cannabis and Schizophrenia: New Evidence Unveiled.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 28 Apr. 2017, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317170.php.
Proal, A C, et al. “A Controlled Family Study of Cannabis Users with and without Psychosis.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24309013.
Roberts, Michael. “Activist: Falling Colorado Teen Pot Use Stats Hard for Jeff Sessions to Dismiss.” Westword, 4, 14 Aug. 2018, www.westword.com/news/colorado-teen-marijuana-use-falls-in-federal-study-9782555.
Salley, Mark. “Marijuana Use in Colorado Rises for Adults, Stays the Same for Kids.” Gov. John Hickenlooper | The Official Site of Governor Hickenlooper, 19 July 2018, www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/marijuana-use-2017.
Stevens, Alex. “Is Policy ‘Liberalization’ Associated with Higher Odds of Adolescent Cannabis Use? A Re-Analysis of Data from 38 Countries.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 16 Feb. 2019, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0955395919300210?dgcid=author.
Wright, D. SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, and RTI International. “National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Comparison of 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 Population Percentages (50 States and the District of Columbia).” Stages of Community Readiness | SAMHSA,www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHsaeShortTermCHG2016/NSDUHsaeShortTermCHG2016.htm.