Legalization Failure Sparks Public Health Crisis

( – A little over two decades ago, American high schoolers were by and large smoking the variety of grass that was grown cheaply in Mexico and then smuggled across the border in densely compacted brick form.

Marijuana’s decriminalization in many U.S. jurisdictions has flooded the market not only with strains that are far more potent than what was once available but also with problems many of its legalization advocates likely did not foresee.

New York legislators appear to be learning the hard way that the issue of marijuana legalization is not as simple as just allowing people to get high without fear of legal consequences. Despite lawmakers choosing to legalize its sale in 2021, the black market is still thriving.

The difference between then and now is that illegal sales that once took place in the shadows of someone’s incense-filled apartment have now moved to very public storefronts. When NY lawmakers voted to legalize cannabis, they either forgot or intentionally declined to include any measures that would impose prohibitive penalties on those caught dealing off the books.

According to a piece from the New York Post, unlicensed dispensaries are now “choking” city streets. During an October 30th hearing, State Senator Brad Holyman-Sigal said that almost a dozen illegal pot shops were openly operating in his district alone. The legislator appeared less concerned about the lack of tax revenue that was coming into the city’s coffers and more concerned about the implications on “public health.”

Whether one agrees with legalization or not, the legal cannabis industry is heavily regulated, perhaps much more so than even the alcohol industry. Buyers are required to be of age and Holyman-Sigal pointed out that unenforced laws give “young people” near-unfettered access to potentially dangerous mood-altering substances that have not been vetted by regulators.

A number of organizations have published data that suggest a correlation between the increase in diagnoses of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders and the increasing potency of marijuana.

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