Seven Important Reasons to NOT Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Arizona

1. Proponents of legalization tell us that legalization does not cause an increase in youth use. That is incorrect. Colorado, where medical and recreational marijuana are both legal, has the highest youth use in the nation. Arizona, with only medical marijuana legalization, has the 12th highest youth use in the nation (Source: National Survey of Drug Use and Health).

2. Colorado's legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana has seen the following consequences: auto-related fatalities doubled between 2013 and 2016 when the driver tested positive for THC, Emergency Room visits increased 35% and hospitalizations increased 70% since legalization, seizure of “pot” in the outgoing mail has increased more than 900% since 2013, there are 491 pot dispensaries in Colorado compared to 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonald as of June 2017, Sargent Jim Gerhardt, Denver law enforcement, advised that taxes have NOT been a windfall for schools, there are increased regulation costs, Co. jails are not “freed up”, the criminal cartels have not ceased to do business, there is a thriving black market, and Colorado kids are “dabbing” high THC potency oils, and consuming high potency edibles and ending up in ER's and Psychiatric Hospitals. (Source: Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Study, 2017-and- a speech in September 2017 by Sargent Jim Gerhardt.)

3. California's unintended consequences of  legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has resulted in cartels growing in California national forests (Yosemite and the Sierras), cartels killing endangered species with high amounts of rat poisons and carbofurans left at grow/camp sites, toxic chemicals at grow sites seeping into streams/ watersheds and flowing into local city water systems, hunter's game being compromised by animal's licking/eating toxins and poisons left at illegal grow sites,  gunfire in national forests aimed at curious scientists and tourists, and dead human cartel members left behind in forest turf wars. (Source: speech by Dr. Mourad Gabriel, Wildlife Biologist, Ecologist, Pathologist, Veterinary Medicine expert, University of California at Davis, September 2017)

4. After passing Prop. 203 (legalizing medical marijuana) in Arizona, our state has seen a 652% increase in the number of cardholder patients and a 2,769% increase of dispensary agents (source: Arizona Department of Health Services, 2017/18)

5. After legalization of medical pot, Arizona has seen illegal indoor seizures increase 133% since 2011, metric tons of pot produced has increased from 9 to 24 tons as of 2016, an increase in illegal dispensaries, teens and adults are buying illegally from medical card holders,  3,550 pounds of dangerous high potency edibles were sold in Arizona in 2016, positive drugs tests by employers increased by 300%, THC exposure poison/emergency calls have increased, THC-related ER visits have increased, most arrestees in Maricopa county were using pot at the time of arrest. (Source: Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Study, 2017).

6.  61% of our AZ medical pot cardholder patients are under 50 years old, and 45 % are under 40 years old, most (62%) are young males patients and the most utilized reason for presenting for a pot card was “chronic pain”. Most sales of medical pot are on Fridays and the most active month of purchase is December.  (Source: Arizona Department of Health Services report, 2017, 2018)

7. “Pot” proponents say that legalizing recreational marijuana will “cure” the opioid crisis in AZ.  According to AZ Psychiatrist, Addiction Specialist and Prison Physician for 30 years, Edward Gogek, MD, “No, this is not true. Marijuana makes the opioid crisis worse.  There is good evidence that marijuana increases opioid use. Research published in the September 2017, American Journal of Psychiatry, found that teenage marijuana users are at least twice as likely to abuse opioids later in life. This is the “gateway effect” and the “gateway effect” is real. When adolescent rats are given pot, the opioid pathways in the brain change. When these same rats are later given heroin, they use it more often and use more of it. This is a biological effect that pot has on the teenage brain. I work with heroin addicts and almost all used pot daily in their early teens. That is not a coincidence. Marijuana makes teens more likely to use opioids. Where do kids use pot? The 20 states with the highest rates of teen use have all legalized medicinal and/or recreational marijuana.” (Source: Marijuana Debunked, By Edward Gogek, MD, Speech by Dr. Gogek, September 2017)
What can you do to stop a second attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in AZ?  Save, forward, and print/distribute this flyer; give it to family and friends.  Stay informed by following Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy's and MATFORCE'S FACEBOOK pages and websites. Educate yourself by reading Dr. Edward Gogek, MD's book, MARIJUANA DEBUNKED.