The letter supporting marijuana legalization from Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (“Decriminalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Address the Problem,” Aug. 27) completely ignores the medical consequences, suffered throughout the nation, of enhancing access to marijuana.
There exists clear medical evidence of increased psychiatric difficulties with marijuana use, including violence, psychosis, schizophrenia, manic episodes, worsening depression and suicide. Traffic fatalities increase with marijuana-law liberalization, and now there is clear evidence for increased opiate overdoses linked to enhanced marijuana availability.
Other medical consequences such as uncontrolled vomiting episodes (Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome) and cardiac complications are becoming recognized, as marijuana becomes far more potent than the ditch-weed of 40-to-50 years ago. This carnage underpins a huge, well-organized marijuana industry that seeks to profit on the suffering of the public, exactly as we saw with the tobacco industry.
I hope the federal efforts to legalize marijuana will wake people up to the serious consequences of marijuana use, and states will start rolling back or, at minimum, tightening marijuana statutes.
Eric A. Voth, M.D.
The International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis
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Appeared in the August 31, 2021, print edition.