The article Health care — House passes marijuana decriminalization reported that on 1st April 2022, the House of Representatives in Congress passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act which will remove marijuana from the list of banned substances on federal soil (Sullivan et al., 2022). This legislation was passed to create taxes and grants on marijuana up to 5%. The figure will ultimately rise to 8%. The bill was passed alongside party lines with a 220-204. Just two Democrats were against it, while three Republicans voted in support. Hence, according to the House of Representatives, this will be a good move to increase revenue for the Federal Government. The bill comes after several states in the US passed marijuana legalization laws, and surveys also indicated a growing shift in public attitudes toward marijuana (Sullivan et al., 2022).
The MORE Act will affect minors, who will now access marijuana through drug diversion. Since marijuana has been removed from the list of banned substances, it only means that adults will now have access to it either for recreation or medical purposes. Through these adults, marijuana may find its way into the hands of minors. A survey conducted in Colorado showed that more than half of minors who took part in outpatient substance abuse treatment obtained the drugs through drug diversion (Wilkinson, et al. 2016). A comparison is drawn between those who had used diverted medical marijuana and those who had not. Those who had used it reported that it was so easy to access marijuana. Another study also revealed a higher similarity rate. In fact, 74% of minors who took part in substance abuse treatment had indicated that they obtained marijuana through drug diversion (Wilkinson, et al. 2016). Ever since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, many pediatric cases of involuntary ingestion of marijuana have been reported. A few years ago, emergency room visits associated with marijuana use were unheard of. However, since its legalization, 14 pediatric cases of involuntary ingestion involving marijuana products have been reported (Wilkinson, et al. 2016). This accounts for 2.4% of all involuntary ingestion cases reported in the state.
Medical practitioners should care about this policy. The reason is that this policy could have severe health implications in the near future. One of the implications is that the policy is legalizing a psychoactive drug that is known to bring severe psychological impairments. Marijuana is highly addictive, and having such a law that makes it easily accessible to the youth will present the entire nation with a health crisis (Aston et al., 2019). Since they are the first people required to act when such a crisis happens, they should consider how the policy will affect them. Aside from the psychological impairments, marijuana use has been highly linked to schizophrenia, especially for young users. Schizophrenia is a genetic disorder that, when it affects an individual, it will likely be passed on to the coming generations. Therefore, when framing their health campaigns aimed at sensitizing people on the effects of marijuana, they should consider the implications brought about by this policy.
Therefore, I disagree with this policy as I believe it will bring more harm to the nation than good. It is a fact that when used for medicinal purposes, marijuana may have some benefits. However, when used for recreational purposes such as smoking, marijuana can lead to severe health conditions. Making it legal through the MORE will increase its recreational use more than medicinal use. This will increase the infection rate of most diseases, such as schizophrenia, lung cancer, and any other infectious diseases. Therefore, the House should reconsider its decision to pass the legislation and help the US stay a healthy nation.
Aston, E. R., Farris, S. G., Metrik, J., & Rosen, R. K. (2019). Vaporization of marijuana among recreational users: A qualitative study. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 80(1), 56-62.
Sullivan P., Weixel N., & Choi J. (2022, April 1). Health care — House passes marijuana decriminalization. The Hill. https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/3256902-health-care-house-passes-marijuana-decriminalization/
Wilkinson, S. T., Yarnell, S., Radhakrishnan, R., Ball, S. A., & D’Souza, D. C. (2016). Marijuana legalization: Impact on physicians and public health. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4900958/