Letter: Legalizing pot hurts mental health

 
Updated 7/5/2022 2:47 PM

The DuPage County Finance Committee Board voted to amend an ordinance to allow marijuana businesses in unincorporated parts of the county on June 14, right before the primary. It's a bad decision for mental health.

Like Deb Conroy who is running for County Board chairman, I am a strong advocate for mental health. In 2019, Conroy voted as a state legislator to legalize marijuana in Illinois. There is a huge cognitive dissonance between improving mental health care and legalizing marijuana.

 

Mental health treatment has not advanced in the last 50 years the same way other medical treatments have improved. It is often hit or miss. There are no easy solutions to mental health problems, but there are ways to safeguard mental health -- like staying away from marijuana and addictive substances. Many tragedies occur when people treat mental health issues with cannabis.

It is an advancement that Adverse Childhood Experiences are now recognized as a root cause of physical and mental health problems. However, this progress is negated when we legalize drugs and create the condition for more traumatized children with drug-using parents who contribute to ACEs.

We've thrown a monkey wrench into the whole problem of mental health in this country by legalizing marijuana. National legalization isn't inevitable, as the American Medical Association upheld its opposition to marijuana recently. Pot sales in Colorado are down this year by about 20 percent and they went down in Illinois three of five months this year.

We should not elect politicians who think that the tax money is worth the harm marijuana does on an individual and societal level.

Traffic deaths were up 33% in Illinois in the first two years after legalization.

Julie Schauer

Glen Ellyn

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