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Monday, February 6, 2023

California Democrats want mental health warnings

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New York’s Cannabis Control Board is slowly on track for the start of the state’s legal retail sales, possibly until next year. But we’ve already seen how limited her thoughts on public health alerts are. Posters on commuter trains advise that only people age 21 or older can use the drug – and that you can’t take it in public. Anyone who walks into Gotham City knows how well these guys do.

But as the board continues to emphasize social justice in granting weed-distribution licenses to ex-offenders and the governor, Kathy Hochhol drools over new windfall profits from the sin tax, both must instead begin paying urgent attention to the California experiment, which has legalized recreational marijuana 2016. This state is now considering another kind of lesson: a lesson about mental health risks.

A Democratic legislator has a pediatrician Introduce state legislation They may require “product labels and inserts to include a clear and prominent warning” that “cannabis use may contribute to mental health problems.” The legislature will hold a hearing on it this week.

The bill, written by Senator Richard Bane with two Liberal Democratic Assembly sponsors, Jackie Irwin and Kevin McCarty, refers to chilling language reminiscent of cancer warnings on cigarette packs. One caveat: cannabis use may contribute to “psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. The risks are greater for frequent users.”

California Senator Richard Ban wrote the bill, which pushes for warnings about drug-induced psychotic disorders.
AFP/Rich Pedroncelli

This is not a contemporary version of the infamous 1936 movie “Reefer Madness.” Auckland Institute of Public Health Such legislation, he says, “would address a regulatory gap by requiring clearer and more accurate health warnings about cannabis products.”

To this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has nothing positive to say about fate — and confirms his connection for mental illness. “People who use marijuana are more likely to have temporary psychosis (not knowing what’s real, hallucinations, paranoia) and long-term mental disorders, including schizophrenia.” What’s more, the CDC continues, “The association between marijuana and schizophrenia is stronger in people who start using marijuana at a young age.”

State law may limit pot sales to those at least 21, but in California, the supporting text in Ban’s bill notes, “The percentage of California teens ages 12-17 who use cannabis increased significantly between 2016 and 2019 in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health These are the first three years after certification.

This is true not only because pot became legal – but because it was marketed. As in the past with cigarette makers, pot marketers can promote their use. Anyone who thought such messages would reach only those 21 or older has been smoking something. As the bill notes, “perceptions of the harm caused by cannabis use by consumers of all ages, including adolescents, have declined significantly.”

Hochul and the Cannabis Control Commission need to stop encouraging the emergence of a legal pot. This does not mean that the rationing genie can be put back into the tube. This means focusing on mitigating the looming damages of legalization. Legalization should not mean encouragement — not when drug overdose deaths exceed 100,000 per year and the CDC warns that marijuana use is linked to addiction.

State hospital data shows that three years after legalization, emergency room visits for cannabis-induced psychosis rose 54% across California, from 682 to 1,053. These are potential mass shooters and subway psychics.

New York Governor Cathy Hochhol speaks to reporters in the red room of the state capitol, July 1, 2022, about legislation passed during a special legislative session, in Albany, New York
Governor Cathy Hochhol praised the legalization of marijuana.
AFP / Hans Beininck

The cannabis watchdog should be busy producing advertisements warning of mental health risks in a bowl. The state needs to give up its dream of tax revenue and instead put in place low taxes so that adulterated black-market weed doesn’t flood the market and lead to overdoses. In California, illegal suppliers still “account for between two-thirds and three-quarters of sales” thanks largely to higher taxes, Jacob Sollom recently observed in these pages.

Public health is more important than feeding the public — in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and all 19 states that have passed a recreational bowl. It is simply wrong for state and local governments to rely on a risky product that is detrimental to the health of their citizens. Let’s heed California’s warning.

Howard Hoseok is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.


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