FACT: No prescription is required to obtain medical marijuana. A patient only needs a “physician certification” from a physician licensed to practice medicine. Physician certifications are not formal prescriptions accepted by reputable pharmacies; they are simply written recommendations that can be used to buy marijuana at storefront dispensaries.
MYTH: Smoking marijuana is the only way to receive the medicinal properties of the plant.
FACT: Some components in marijuana have medicinal properties, but we shouldn’t smoke the plant in order to derive those benefits; just as we do not smoke opium to get the benefits of morphine. In states with medical marijuana laws, the average user is a male in his 30s with no terminal illness and a history of drug abuse (TJ O’Connel, Long term marijuana users seeking medical cannabis in California). Less than 5% of registered users in states allowing medical marijuana have cancer or AIDS (Who’s Really Smoking, Save Our Society From Drugs, April 2014 ). Residents of states with medical marijuana laws have abuse and dependence rates nearly twice as high as states with no such laws (M. Cerda, Medical marijuana laws in 50 states).
MYTH: Marijuana is harmless.
FACT: Today’s marijuana is far more potent than in decades past. In the 1960s and 70s, THC levels of marijuana smoked by baby boomers averaged around 1%, increasing to just under 4% in 1983, and almost tripling in the subsequent 30 years to around 11% in 2011. Regular marijuana use, started in adolescence and continued into adulthood, can result in a loss of up to 8 IQ points. (Meier, et al. Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.)
MYTH: Marijuana legalization will help the economy.
FACT: Marijuana legalization will increase public costs. For every $1 in alcohol and tobacco tax revenue, society loses $10 in social costs from accidents all the way to health damage (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). States such as Colorado have projected tax revenue of $134 million for the fiscal year but have only produced 3.5 million in the first month, prompting the Governor to ratchet back his projection to $20 million.