NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — With early voting underway, North Dakotans are deciding if adults can use marijuana recreationally.
Measure 2 would legalize personal use for adults 21 and over, allow individuals to possess up to one ounce, and grow up to three marijuana plants.
Your group is opposing Measure 2 or the legalization of recreational marijuana in North Dakota. And you know, a lot of people say it’s just weed. It’s not that addictive and it’s less harmful than alcohol. So what are your main public health concerns with the legalization of recreational marijuana?
“Yeah, so the big thing we got to know is that we are not voting on joints and Woodstock weed in North Dakota, when November 8 rolls around, we’re going to be voting on a new high-potency marijuana that we’ve never seen before. The potency back in the 70s, 80s, 90s, was 3% potency. Now we’ve got products that are up to 99% potency, okay, so it is a totally different drug. Everything you knew about marijuana, you can throw it out. So this new supercharge marijuana is coming in the forms of concentrates, candies, gummies, they’re targeting our kids with this stuff. And the harms are much worse now. So with this new high-potency THC, what we are seeing is an increase in addiction. So now, one in every three people who use marijuana, and last year, the new high-potency weed will develop an addiction. Now we’re seeing addiction rates skyrocket, we’re seeing a 25% increase in every state that’s legalized marijuana, for marijuana addiction among youth. So youth are more addicted than ever after legalizing and legal states. And then the other thing that we’re seeing is, with this new high potency marijuana, we are seeing increases in mental illness. So if you use today’s high-potency weed, you are five times more likely to develop schizophrenia or psychosis. And this is not just one study, folks, this is dozens of studies we’re seeing on this brand new drug right now that is telling us there are huge mental illness concerns. So those are two of the big concerns we’re seeing with today’s high-potency weed. And the reason why we’re seeing that is because big tobacco and big alcohol have invested more than $6 billion together into the marijuana industry. They’re changing this drug, they know what to do to make it more addictive. They want to make a profit. That’s what this is about, not about kind of taking care of patients or helping people,” said Healthy and Productive North Dakota spokesman Luke Niforatos.
Now there’s the concern that the legalization of recreational marijuana would put more impaired drivers on the road. What are the outcomes of recreational legalization elsewhere, such as in Colorado?
“Yep. So my state of Colorado, I live here in Colorado, just south of Denver. We were the first state to legalize marijuana. We have seen a doubling in the number of people dying from marijuana-impaired drivers on the road since legalization. Washington State saw the same thing happen. We just had a major national study done showing huge increases in deaths on the road across the entire country for marijuana-impaired drivers. Now that so many states have legalized it so definitely will increase impairment on your roads. I will tell you in Oregon, half of all the people they tested for marijuana on the roads last year tested positive for marijuana. So huge amount of impairment we’re seeing on the roads right now,” explained Niforatos.