Legalization in US states is advancing but there are expert alerts on public health effects. In defense, we point out the millions in taxes and the brake on crime.
With tobacco regulation becoming increasingly strict and prohibitive, cannabis now appears as an alternative, often even embellished as healthier.
In the United States of America, there are already eight states where recreational use of marijuana has been approved. In California, where tobacco has the most restrictive laws, drug legalization is now on the way, leading public health experts to issue alerts. Will this, especially among the younger generation, lead to cigarette substitution or even the renormalization of tobacco?
Considering that you may be moving from one to the other may be excessive, says a skeptic regarding the legalization of cannabis, which he describes as being a heavy drug.
The concern in California, where the smoking rate of tobacco decreased by 50 percent between 1988 and 2014, is summarized by Michael Ong, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “What’s important is to make sure we do not go back after we’ve done so much to clean the air and reduce the harmful effects of tobacco.” On the other side, in a statement to California Healthline, Ethan Naldemann, pro – legalization and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, disagrees: “There is no evidence that legalization will lead to increased consumption. than the advertising of adults. ”
Most consumed in Portugal
In Portugal and the world, cannabis consumption has always been high. “Cannabis is the most widely consumed substance in Portugal. In the last two years, the number of requests for aid in centers is already superior to other substances, whether heroin, which was once our public enemy No. 1, or cocaine “, points out João Goulão, noting that the signs of addition are not so socially evident. “It is a dependency that is not so flowery, it does not have the physical wear and tear of heroin.” Most cannabis users are “tobacco smokers” and rely on medical support services to “get help to stop the compulsion to use and physical dependence.”
In the SICAD Director’s concerns, the drug’s potency is still a subject that has been highlighted in recent years. “There is a significant increase in herbaceous cannabis instead of hashish, which was the predominant one, and in the herbaceous there is the addition of synthetic and genetic manipulation with new forms of cultivation.In the original THC, the psychoactive principle was counterbalanced by other alkaloids Today the herb has THC as a loose horse. ”
This consumption of cannabis, especially among the youngest, is also reflected in the increasingly common “recourse to urgencies, with psychotic outbreaks, panic attacks and bouts of tachycardia,” warns João Goulão. Also in the US, despite restrictions on purchase by minors, there have been more cases of intoxication with cannabis, some even with children who inadvertently consume products with the drug, since legalization allows a wide range of herbaceous products for smoking, drinking or eating .
In the United States, critics point out that statistics indicate a large increase in teen drug use, the number of road traffic accidents involving drivers under cannabis influence, and the alarming rise in hospital treatments for overdoses. “If this happened with a virus or alcohol and someone looked at these numbers, I would be alarmed. Why are not we alarmed by this?” Asks Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federal anti-drug agency that operates in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
In this discussion, there are always pros and cons, with marijuana addicts now being exalted in the new media, even with scientific data on its benefits. “Today there is an exaltation of the virtues of marijuana, an exaltation based on therapeutic virtues.” I admit that there are benefits and that is up to the regular drug agencies. the Trojan horse for the generalization of recreation, “says João Goulão, calling again, as he did when he was heard in Parliament,” to be in no hurry to change at all costs “, since Portugal since decriminalization in 1999 has been on the right track and “it is better to see what gives” the course of North American experiences and Uruguay, where it is also legal.
Revenues in millions
Other situations that trigger different perspectives are the business, with tobacco smokers being seen as the future leaders of the cannabis trade. They have not advanced because the federal level remains illegal. It is not a new debate. In 2014, in the paper “Waiting for Timing: The Tobacco Industry and the Legalization of Marijuana,” researchers Rachel Ann Barry, Heikki Hiilamo and Stanton A. Glantz pointed out that since the 1970s the tobacco industry has been studying this market. “Proponents of legalization have not considered the potential effects of multinational tobacco companies entering the market (or other corporations such as the food and beverage industries) with their substantial marketing power and ability to manufacture,” they write.
Proponents of legalization point out that tobacco companies are industries, not organized crime groups, as is the case today. And there is always the question of revenue, but even here in the United States there are those who are not convinced. In Colorado revenues this year hit record highs and are expected to top $ 1.3 billion, with most sales being for recreational use. The resulting taxes are over one hundred million euros, which should go to the construction of schools. It seems correct, but there are those who are concerned that, in order to obtain more revenue, they must have more consumers. This is in a country where, at the federal level, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, equal to heroin and LSD.
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