Marijuana and Opioids

Marijuana is no more likely to be a “gateway” than alcohol, but using it puts people in contact with drug dealers who may be promoting more dangerous products as well as marijuana with unregulated quality.  Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol; it doesn’t work with marijuana. 

We are most concerned with adolescents using marijuana because of their immaturity in brain development and judgement.  Colorado has seen no increase, and even a small decline in use among young people since legalization.

We should aim for that as well.  SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that past-year use peaks at about 42% among 18-25 year olds and drops to 11% over 26. []

We are deeply concerned with the deadly opioid epidemic.  In states which have legalized medical marijuana, opioid prescriptions have dropped.  Since most people who become addicted to opioids start with prescription drugs, reducing opioid prescriptions is extremely important. We have initiated other programs, such as limiting initial prescriptions, reporting of prescriptions and academic detailing for doctors.  We have created new treatment beds.   But giving people another legal and less dangerous alternative is important.