Government Watch / Politics

Despite Flashing Alarm Bells, Pot Legalization Gains Steam

AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott


On Tuesday, two more states, Maryland and Missouri, voted to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults over the age of 21, bringing the total number of states to legalize weed to 21. But while public opinion has clearly turned in favor of legalized recreational marijuana use, there are still major concerns about the long-term health effects, particularly as modern science develops ever-more potent strains of the plant.

While the push to legalize marijuana began with deep-blue coastal states more than a decade ago, it has now spread throughout the country and even to deep red states like Montana and now Missouri. Although states like Arkansas also rejected marijuana ballot initiatives on Tuesday, the pro-legalization movement clearly has momentum. According to an October Politico poll, “3 in 5 voters say marijuana should be legal nationwide.” That number includes 47% of Republicans, compared to 41% who oppose legalization.

Proponents of legal recreational use have argued that cannabis is safer than cigarettes or alcohol, and therefore should not be viewed the same as other hard drugs. For decades, popular culture and the mainstream media have romanticized marijuana use, portraying it as a rite-of-passage of sorts for American youth.

Democrats, meanwhile, have insisted that marijuana must be legalized and all prior criminal charges for possession or sale dropped. In October, President Joe Biden answered that call by overturning “all prior federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana.” Progressives hailed the decision as an essential step toward “deincarceration” and “equitable” justice.

In a rare collaboration, some Republicans have even joined with progressive activists in arguing that cannabis could be America’s next “cash crop” and become a vital source of revenue for the government. In 2021, states reported a total of $10.4 billion in tax revenue from marijuana sales.

But despite the apparently broad wave of bipartisan support for legalized pot use, there are still a number of troubling questions about the drug that neither politicians nor the pharmaceutical companies who are eager to get into the cannabis game have been willing to answer.

Most importantly, medical experts still don’t know the long-term effects of new ultra-potent strands of marijuana that have been developed in recent years. Cannabis derives its effects largely from Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a chemical compound which activates the brain’s reward system. According to scientific studies, when pot first became popular in the 1960s, it was less than 2 percent THC. By the 90s, it was closer to 5 percent. Today, many strains contain more than 20 percent THC, and some are as high as 34 percent.

Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry has developed methods of separating THC from marijuana and creating a medley of new cannabis-based products with entirely unknown side effects. Young people don’t even need to “smoke” marijuana to get high anymore. Gummies, “edibles,” and wax products are all readily available in multiple states across the country. Some of these products have a THC potency as high as 80 percent, while others are over 99 percent.

So, while it might be true that low-potency strands of marijuana are indeed less harmful than heavy alcohol or cigarette use, medical experts have little data on the long-term effects of high-THC plants and products. The Daily Signal reported last month that in Colorado, doctors have started receiving patients with pot-induced psychosis, and what one doctor described as “the worst delusions I have ever seen.”

Psychosis and hallucinations from high-potency THC products increasingly appears to be the dirty little secret that the marijuana lobby doesn’t want Americans to know. All the way back in 2008, a study found that 35 percent of teenagers using high-potency marijuana “experience psychotic symptoms.” This study also found that “cannabis has by far the highest conversion rate to schizophrenia of any substance—higher than meth, higher than opioids, higher than LSD.” As cannabis and cannabis derivatives only grow more potent, these alarming trends are likely to continue.

Some have posited that marijuana legalization is one of the major reasons that many of America’s cities appear to be increasingly taken over by people experiencing psychotic breaks. One recent report in the New York Post stated that Emergency Rooms in San Diego now see 37 cannabis-related cases a day, most of them diagnosed with psychosis. An ER doctor interviewed by the Post said, “When I started in the 1990s, there was no such thing.”

There is more than sufficient evidence to, at minimum, caution people against regular marijuana use and strictly regulate what type of weed products can be sold. But doing so will go against decades of relentless activism on the part of Democrats and the mainstream media. Millions of Americans are now convinced that marijuana, even high potency marijuana, is completely safe. From 2019-2020, the number of pregnant women who reported using marijuana while pregnant increased by almost thirty percent.

Dr. Libby Stuyrt, a Colorado doctor who has treated dozens of patients for THC-induced psychosis, believes many misconceptions about marijuana come from the assertion that marijuana is “medicine.” She has stated that high-potency THC “has not been studied as medicine. But because it’s allowed to be heavily marketed and advertised as medicine, people believe it’s safe.”

She also notes that some of the most prominent players in the pharmaceutical industry are investing heavily in cannabis. In 2016, pharmaceutical executive John Stewart announced he had founded Emblem, a marijuana company aimed at producing the drug for medical uses. Before this, he was a senior executive at Perdue Pharma, the infamous manufacturer of oxycontin, the opiate responsible for the death of millions of Americans from addiction. Late last year, Pfizer also announced it was “entering the medicinal cannabis market” by spending $6.7 billion to acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals, a major player in the marijuana industry.

Sadly, with such relentless marketing, softening state laws, and Biden’s recent actions, the normalization of high-potency cannabis will likely continue for years. It took decades, thousands of lawsuits, and millions of ruined lives to awaken Americans to the risks of opioids—and even now, the epidemic remains with us. Now, Americans who care about the health of the country may have a new and even more politically difficult battle on their hands.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.   

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter
and Download the AMAC News App

Sign Up Today Download

If You Enjoy Articles Like This - Subscribe to the AMAC Daily Newsletter!

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 months ago

This is horrifying. The proponents of the legalization of high potency marijuana and any other type of marijuana ignore the science and give in to money. Even more horrifying is the prospect of the legalization of cocaine. Colombia’s narco president gave a speech before the UN in these past weeks and immediately The Economist published an article calling Biden ‘too timid to legalize cocaine’. The sad thing is that having this outrage right before the elections, no Republican politician said a word about this. It is well known that the narco terrorist group that Biden scratched of form the list of terrorist organization on Nov. 2021 is injecting a lot of money to accomplish this aberration. Cant even say may God help us, we are beyond that. How come we can’t get a Greta Thunberg that speaks like she does but about drugs? I would love to be that girl that screams to the recreational drug users: “How dare you steel our future, our brains, our health?”

2 months ago

Proponents of legal recreational use have argued that cannabis is safer than cigarettes or alcohol, and therefore should not be viewed the same as other hard drugs
What hogwash, it’s a drug therefore it’s dangerous to one’s health both physically and mentally. Smoking this trash is putting smoke into the lungs with its high tar content is still putting smoke into the lungs and smoke is not healthy for the lungs, It also alters the mind

This is from Huxley’s book, Brave New World, which keeps the fools drugged and controlled just what the corrupt government wants.
The clock is ticking toward this country’s demise.

2 months ago

Most articles I have read by doctors, law officers, etc. claim that marijuana is the “gateway drug” to something more potent later on- to get a greater “ high”. Praise God I have never needed an artificial high that also causes bodily side effects. Plus , I want to keep my brain cells as long as possible. I am in my mid 70s and have never needed a drop of liquor, a puff of anything, an illegal drug, etc. to enjoy my life! I am not even on any “ legal” drugs or meds at this time. I did not even let Covid isolate or depress me- nor did I take any “ unproven” vaccine. I used what freedoms I had left to enjoy my life and my family. What does a 70+ year old woman do for fun? I don’t sit in a chair with a can of beer and watch television!! I take my grandkids and a tent and go to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, or Acadia National Park, etc., and go hiking, tenting, sightseeing, etc. and enjoy what is good about America!! Do you need a real “high”? Make yourself a gratitude jar and write something you enjoyed about each day or about a person that you helped or one who was a blessing to you. Most importantly have a relationship with the Creator of all things. None of that has negative side effects. Don’t depend on the government or drugs (including alcohol) to give you any “permanent good feeling”. It won’t happen.

2 months ago

No matter how its smoked there is still the products of combustion which will ruin lungs. When all of these users get emphasyma or lung cancer are they then going to demand free health care (which is not free)?

USN Retired
2 months ago

The Bolsheviks used vodka in the early 1900’s to dumb down the masses during their internal communist takeover of Russia. History repeats itself, only now it’s the Democrats and marijuana.

2 months ago
Reply to  USN Retired


2 months ago

Pot, the “opioid” of the masses. Keep ’em glaze eyed and happy while we the politicians continue the destruction of the nation. Not different from the Romans and their colosseum’s… wine, cheese and death.

2 months ago

Some governors are using that for their platform. Imagine that with all that is going on and POT is their big issue . Now you know how the term dope head was created . Five years ago the nutjobs put it on ballots for medicinal see how the dope heads work . Next time will be for children like the whuan virus and Dr .Falsie.

2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Bootlicker,but the most dangerous drug alcohol stays level, hypocrite

anna hubert
2 months ago

Excellent idea Weed and games That should shut “them” up Just give it to them Good for the country

2 months ago

Boomer … they lost the war on drugs back in the 70’s when they put pot in the same category as heroin…… hard to believe any other claims going forward. Try both- no comparison . Now and back then

2 months ago

I am neither a “stoner” or a Lib. But I do see some positives in legalization of weed besides those mentioned previously. Maybe the biggest is the barely tapped use of pot as a source of medicines. “Street weed” is a big moneymaker for illegal drug dealers, and the quality and potency can be all over the map, not to mention that street weed can and is sometimes laced with dangerous drugs like opioids. Legalization could and should lead to control of the product, its quality and potency, and who can buy it. On the street, anyone with the money can buy it, no matter their age.
I agree that the potency of pot has dramatically increased since my college days (late 60’s), but it should be realized that it takes a LOT less to get the desired effect. What took smoking 2 or more joints of 60’s weed now only takes 2 puffs to get the same effect. Take alcohol (ethanol, the stuff they put in our gasoline) for example. Pure ethanol is 100% or 200 proof. My favorite bourbon is a little less than 35% or 70 proof. So pure ethanol is about 3 times as strong as my bourbon, and drinking the same amount would get me quite drunk.
Moderation in all things is the key. Smoke 2 packs of cigarettes a day, and you might end up with lung cancer, Eat a half gallon of ice cream every night and weight gains and possibly diabetes could result. You get the picture. Moderation. We tried making alcohol illegal, and that didn’t work. You cannot penalize the majority because of a few alcoholics. There will always be alcoholics and there will always be stoners. That doesn’t mean that either product should be banned.

John E Quest
2 months ago
Reply to  Joearcher

Here’s the ole ‘pot is no worse then alcohol’ argument. Sorry friend but did you not read the article? The marijuana of today is NOT the same as when you were smoking it in college. Moderation is not necessarily the issue here. There is an accumulative effect. Even back in your day, you could tell the people that were regular users (we called them dope-heads).

2 months ago

In ancient Rome this was known as placating the mob

2 months ago

Politicians see two huge benefits for them from the legalization of marijuana:

1) The tax revenue they expect to reap from imposing a tax on both its sale and from the state licensing fees from “state spproved” dispensaries. That is essentially “free money” (in their eyes anyway) to pretty much spend any way they wish at the end of the day to buy “favors”, votes, etc..

2) Anything that makes the public more docile and compliant is a BIG win for most politicians. So obviously when coupled with the financial benefit of Item 1, the legalization of marijuana makes perfect sense for a lot of politicians.

As for obvious medical issues associated with long-term, high potency marijuana use and the financial impact on the broader economy in states where it has been legalized for a few years and seen auto insurance rates skyrocket due to an increase in vehicular accident rates, neither of these two issues concern the politicians. They are instead completely focused on the two issues that benefit them. The United States is on a downward trend from a societal perspective, that few seem to care about. Meanwhile the enemies of our nation are all smiles as we become weaker and weaker each day.

2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

More vehicular accidents were because of cell phone use, not marijuana.

2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Not according the police incident reports on file in Colorado and other states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Insurance companies have all reviewed the data and adjusted their rates upward in states that have gone the legalization route.

JR Fox
2 months ago
Reply to  Ron

So, we want people smoking pot and also on cellphones?

John E Quest
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

You are spot on. After Colorado legalized marijuana, their impaired fatality rate increased by 100%. The insurance companies aren’t going to bear those costs; just pass it on to the consumer. As people continue to seek happiness through getting high, our country becomes weaker. So many people living in a fog. You are misled if you don’t believe that constantly using substances to alter your mind/mood doesn’t effect overall mental clarity. I hear constantly from people that work technical jobs that they have to work short handed because their companies have trouble hiring someone that can pass a drug test. Our country is in a societal downward trend. China, Russia and Iran are just smiling and preparing.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x