By Will Hall, Baptist Message executive editor
BATON ROUGE La. (LBM)—The Drug Policy Board within the Louisiana Office of the Governor has adopted a resolution stating it “opposes efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Louisiana.”
The January 27 vote was 8-0-6, a reversal of the 6-0-8 vote by the Board in October.
The minutes from the January meeting indicate that during the interim Warren Montgomery, district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington Parishes and the sponsor of the resolution, had opportunities to make presentations to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy and the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, whose representatives on the Drug Policy Board had abstained in the October vote because their organizations had not spoken to the issue.
Their representatives voted in favor of the resolution in January. The vote took place as smoking pot and consuming THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, became legal in Louisiana in January if a licensed Louisiana physician “recommends” either as “therapeutic use by any patient clinically diagnosed as suffering from a debilitating medical condition,” which includes 31 specific or broad categories.
Meanwhile, Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2010 and recreational marijuana in 2014, passed historic legislation last year, H.B. 21-1317, to create a scientific review council to make recommendations to address the surging public health crisis in the state due to marijuana, especially the dramatic rise in psychotic and suicidal victims.
Public health expert, Dr. Chris Rogers, medical director of child and adolescent services at the Medical Center of Aurora, Colorado, testified before the Colorado legislature that person after person was being duped about the effects of pot.
“They’ve been taught to believe this is a harmless plant and a medicine that is good for everything from headaches to cancer to anxiety – [that] it’s natural, without side effects without the risk of addiction. This s the lie that is ruining the lives of far too many people in our state.”
Colorado Attorney General Philip J. Weiser, a Democrat, blamed medical marijuana laws for a “rise in teenage use of high-potency concentration THC marijuana” that he described as “alarming.” He cited a statewide survey showing student use of THC leapt from 4.3 percent in 2014 to more than 20 percent in 2019.
If so, the Colorado situation would suggest a potential disaster looms for Louisiana youth because of the legalization of so-called medical marijuana this year. Already high school students in the state lead their peers in the nation in alcohol use and the injection of illicit drugs, according to national data compiled by ProjectKnow.com. They only rank 14 out of 50 in marijuana use, for now.