It’s legal, but is it healthy? Legal retail marijuana and public health

Retail outlets selling newly legal marijuana are enjoying brisk business.  Anyone over 21 can buy and use marijuana for recreational purposes, a loosening of the previous Oregon law that allowed marijuana as a treatment for certain medical conditions.  Of course, federally marijuana remains a schedule 1 controlled substance, the same class as heroin, meth, and cocaine, with potentially the same penalties for growing, possessing, and selling.  So consuming your sticky icky could still be tricky.  But as more states pass laws legalizing pot the federal laws may change.

Kitschy image of man with a marijuana joint captioned "Marijuana!  At least it's not crack!" by  Juha Ristolainen on flickr

So if adults can, does that mean they should? The next challenge is examining the health effects of marijuana and communicating that to the public in a convincing way.  In September, 2015, on the eve of full retail sales, the Multnomah County Health Department released a report on public health and marijuana.  The ten-page report offers data on how many and what age people use marijuana right now, confirmed and potential effects of marijuana on adults and youth, and recommendations for further research and policy directions.   The extensive reference section will also offer you plenty of sources to consult for your debate or persuasive argument paper.

T ake a look at some of  the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. Also look at Librarian Joanna’s June, 2015 post on deciphering the nitty gritty of Measure 91.

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