Why are states around the country, including Massachusetts, legalizing marijuana when it’s considered a gateway drug to harder drugs and even addiction?
Is this really a good idea?
Not to former heroin addict and NBA player Chris Herren. In an eye-opening interview on “Trending Now” yesterday, the founder of The Herren Project expressed his concerns about marijuana legalization. “I think it’s a problem. I think our kids have enough out there to worry about, they don’t need another drug so readily available to them.”
So what may seem like an “innocent” drug is not so innocent to the 30 million Americans who presently suffer with addiction. Herren explained that 90 percent of addicts first started using pot or alcohol as teenagers. That led to much more dangerous and addictive drugs such as OxyContin, meth, cocaine, heroin, etc. So when President Obama says pot is “no more dangerous than alcohol,” as he did in a New Yorker interview this past January, think again.
We’ve made enormous progress getting millions of people to quit smoking thanks to a massive education campaign spearheaded by the American Cancer Society and other health organizations. These groups have taught the public of the dangers of cigarette smoking.
So why are we legalizing marijuana, encouraging the public to smoke pot? With respect to public health, we’re going backward.
Smoking is smoking. I don’t care if you’re inhaling tobacco or a mind-altering substance. You’re smoking. Let’s not ignore the health impact.
I’m not saying we ban marijuana for sick people who sincerely need marijuana for pain management. I’m talking about all those people — including teenagers — who will inevitably find it easier to get marijuana and abuse it for recreational use.
What kind of message does legalizing marijuana send to the public, especially young kids? On one hand, cigarettes have been vilified and banned virtually everywhere, including the Boston Public Garden, yet Massachusetts is presently in the midst of approving 20 pot dispensaries throughout the state.
So are kids now learning that cigarettes are bad, but pot is good?
Clearly, that’s malarkey, as Joe Biden likes to say.
Bottom line: Pot isn’t as innocent as President Obama claims. It’s a gateway drug to harder drugs. Just ask 90 percent of the drug addicts in our country today struggling to get sober.
Adriana Cohen is co-host of “Trending Now” on Boston Herald Radio.