This post is the personal opinion of Elspeth Crawford. The Wellness coalition encourages personal opinion and links to other sites, to enable open discussion, but it does not endorse nor take responsibility for such opinions and information on other sites. Information that the Wellness Coalition does believe to be accurate is given on our website under “What drugs and Alcohol Do“
Two recent events brought the issue of “Legalization of Marijuana” back to my attention.
I’ll declare my position right here – I would like to see not just marijuana, but all drugs, legalized, with licensing, age limits, etc. drawn up according to best current knowledge of their effects. I want to see criminalization of use stopped (though not criminalization of supply outside whatever the licenses deem lawful) because criminalization also ruins lives.
But, the recent events made me look again. To say “which is worse, criminalization or marijuana use?” is a stupid question – I do not want young people using marijuana, nor do I want young people entering the criminal justice system.
First event – communication from other coalition members that “Portsmouth opposes legalization of recreational marijuana“.
Second event – presentation at Block Island School by psychologist/comedian Matt Bellace on”Natural Highs”. This presentation is very much in line with “The Wellness Coalition” view that the best prevention is a combination of enabling young people to find ways to live well, and at the same time giving them the information about the effects of drugs and alcohol. As every young person will do, they will then make their own choice. However, Bellace’s presentation included a graph that showed use of marijuana had increased in those states where legalization had passed.
Should I rethink?
I searched a lot more. I do not want young people living in a culture where marijuana use is normalized, “the everyone tries it, its pretty harmless, it is good for stress” sort of culture that completely ignores the science that Marijuana use is HARMFUL in many many ways. [There are lots of other ways to tackle stress, many much more lasting than the short-term false ‘relax’ of marijuana.]
However – look at what Portugal decided to do – Portugal decriminalised the possession of all drugs for personal use in 2001, and there now exists a significant body of evidence on the positive outcomes following the move. But, they also complemented the policy of decriminalisation by allocating greater resources across the drugs field, expanding and improving prevention, treatment, harm reduction and social reintegration programmes. The introduction of these measures coincided with an expansion of the Portuguese welfare state, which included a guaranteed minimum income. While decriminalisation played an important role, it is likely that the positive outcomes described would not have been achieved without these wider health and social reforms. [my editing and italics]
If only… here…
In the meantime, hoping for “greater resources” in RI or USA, I will carry on with Wellness.
I have not changed my view, I would like to see all drug use decriminalised. I would also like everyone to know that Marijuana use, especially to young people, is harmful to being well.
We are very fortunate that there are many other ways here on Block Island to get ‘high’ naturally. Bellace affirmed this from his knowledge of neuroscience, clinical psychology and sociology.
Related info on states that legalized
It would seem that Wellness is definitely the way to go, and society and government wellness is part of that – see also the Rat Park Experiment.