Don’t Criminalize Cannabis, Focus on Research, Expert Says

Article ID: 687538

Released: 5-Jan-2018 11:05 AM EST

Source Newsroom: Northwestern University

Expert Pitch

CHICAGO --- Focus on research to better understand cannabis, don’t reverse voter-approved cannabis legalization, said Northwestern University professor Hans Breiter of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind Obama-era directives that eased federal enforcement of state-legalized recreational marijuana.

“As a scientist, I am impressed by how little we understand about cannabis, or any other potential addictive compound, whether cocaine or alcohol,” said Breiter, a nationally known cannabis researcher. “The work of my colleagues and I points to negative effects of cannabis on young adults. This suggests a need for increased funding for research into cannabis, rather than wholesale reversal of voter-approved decriminalization and legalization of cannabis.

“I would like to remind AG Sessions that to date there is much more consistency in the scientific literature of findings about the detrimental effects of alcohol, which is legal within a strong regulatory framework. We need to focus on science, so I would like to remind AG Sessions of Elisha [a prophet in the Hebrew Bible]: ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’”

Hans Breiter is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine, a psychiatrist at Northwestern Medicine and director of the Warren Wright Adolescent Center for psychiatric illness in young adults. Breiter is interested in the impact of recreational marijuana use in the brains of young adults. He can be reached at h-breiter@northwestern.edu.

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