By Doris J. Gayles ( image from the cannaclusive library)
I speak to the issue of recreational marijuana as a mother, grandmother, educator and community health worker with pregnant moms.
I understand the medical use of cannabis for alleviating particular medical issues. My concern is with the effect of recreational marijuana upon the general population and the more vulnerable population of children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Recreational drug use will make it much easier for young people to access marijuana. We know that drugs have the greatest negative affect upon the young, developing brain. What will be the effect of marijuana production and smoke upon their cognitive ability if people in their household are using it? What kind of containers will it be in so that children can’t access it? How will it affect their ability to focus and do critical thinking both inside and outside of the classroom? Will we be responsible for adding to the growing number of children with learning disabilities? Will the profit from the sale of marijuana compensate for the great loss in intellect?
Erie County has a high prematurity rate, resulting in astronomical cost to the healthcare system. Will cannabis affect the pregnant mom and her unborn baby? The mortality (death rate) for African-American mothers and babies in their first year of life is 2-4 times higher than in other races. Will marijuana make this situation even worse? Does it pass through the umbilical cord to the baby? If so, what is the result? Health organizations around the world (CDC, WHO, NIH) are encouraging mothers to breastfeed their babies for optimum health. Does cannabis go into the mother’s milk? If so, what is the affect?
Another issue is public safety and employment. Employers must deal with testing potential employees for drug use. Will there be a large enough pool of people to hire if recreational use of marijuana is legalized? What will be the requirement for those who operate machinery, busses and trains? What will be acceptable for pilots, doctors and hospital personnel disseminating medications?
I understand the injustice that has been perpetrated upon Afro Americans for possessing small amounts of marijuana and the high incarceration rates as a result. Are we intelligent enough to correct this injustice without inflicting an equally harmful practice upon us all?
As far as entrepreneurship is concerned, surely our representatives can find opportunities for Afro-Americans in Buffalo’s flourishing economy other than growing or selling cannabis. Remember when the tobacco industry lied to us about the effects of tobacco upon our health and the drug companies told us that opioids were harmless and non-addictive?
Lets not use hindsight but foresight in deal-ing with recreational marijuana.
Besides monetary profit, what has been the effect in other cities and states upon the general population’s health and institutions?
Let’s look at the research from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), NIH (National Institute of Health) WHO (World Health Organization) and the Cochrane Studies. What can we learn from the neuroscientist like Dr. Norman Doidge in “The Brain’s Way Of Healing?” Let’s have a public forum in layman’s terms to answer the questions I have present-ed so that we can decide if the profits and pleasure of recreational cannabis is worth the problems it will cause to the public.
At least, whatever decision we make, it will be made consciously with short and longterm scientific studies putting the concerns of the people above profits.