Like pretty much everything Congressman Joe Kennedy does, there’s a lot of thought behind his op-ed in STAT today. Kennedy explores how and why his thinking has changed on cannabis and he doesn’t dismiss the risks. And his comments touch a lot of the issues that have been discussed here on Village 14 and across Newton in recent months. Here’s a except but you really should read the whole piece.
My reluctance to embrace legalization stems primarily from one place: my ongoing work with the mental health and addiction communities. I’ve seen the devastating effects of drugs that are used and abused. I’ve met family after family torn apart by addiction. And I’ve heard — repeatedly — from mental health advocates on the frontlines who have grave concerns about what access to marijuana might do for those prone to abuse. They worry about research showing marijuana can be addictive, particularly for adolescents.
At the same time, I’ve heard from others who see marijuana quite differently. The parent whose epileptic child needs marijuana to calm her seizures. The veteran whose trauma it eases. The black teen arrested for smoking a joint while his white friends did the same with impunity.