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Pot Abuse Increases in States with Medical Marijuana Laws

According to a new study, people living in states with legalized medical marijuana are more likely to use and abuse cannabis than people living in states where pot remains completely illegal. Sixty-four percent of Americans now live in states permitting medical marijuana use for a variety of conditions. Nearly 205 million Americans can now seek a recommendation from a doctor to use marijuana, despite it remaining illegal at the federal level.

The study says marijuana use by people without a doctor’s note increased in states with medical marijuana laws from 2001-2013, as did the number of people considered to have a marijuana use disorder. While most people who use marijuana suffer no ill effects from casual use, heavy users can become dependent, and some people can experience psychosis, according to emergency room doctors and drug treatment experts. Deborah Hasin, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia, stated that her study should prompt legislators to consider all impacts of marijuana legalization, rather than just focusing on its popularity or potential tax revenue.

Debating the Dangers of Marijuana

Just how dangerous is it for a person to smoke marijuana? You will likely find a different answer depending on who you ask and which studies you read. While Hasin’s study was published in the highly reputable Journal of the American Medical Association, supporters of legalization claim that her study contradicts dozens of other studies and relied on a flawed survey.

“This researcher seems to be intent on showing some increase in marijuana use disorders, and yet every other researcher has come up with the exact opposite conclusion,” said Mason Tvert of the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project in USA Today. “This research is contradicted by years of data and every other study that’s been done on this subject.”

Still, there are some dangers that previous research has uncovered. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it’s especially dangerous for minors to use, as it may reduce cognitive function permanently because a young person’s mind is still developing. One study conducted by researchers from Duke University and New Zealand found that people who began smoking marijuana heavily as teenagers and had an ongoing marijuana use disorder lost an average of 8 IQ points between the ages of 13-38.

Frank T. Luciano Represents Clients Charged with NJ Drug Crimes

Perhaps the largest danger of smoking marijuana is that it is currently illegal federally and illegal to use recreationally in most U.S. states, including New Jersey. If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana or driving under the influence in NJ, you need immediate legal assistance to minimize the damage. Without it, you may face more jail time and fines than necessary.

New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Frank T. Luciano has built a near four-decade career helping clients defeat criminal charges related to marijuana and other drug crimes. He is prepared to help you or your loved one next. All you have to do is take the first step and contact him immediately at 973-471-0004 for an initial consultation. He serves clients throughout Northern New Jersey, including in Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties.

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From a former client charged with a serious weapons offense

"At the time, I was mortified because, having only worked against you in the Prosecutor’s Office, I couldn’t picture being on the same side. Frank, I want to thank you for the pleasure of having worked with you over the past years. I have learned a great deal from you. Most importantly, I learned that cases were not always as black and white as I thought they were when I worked for the Prosecutor’s Office. You are a wonderful attorney who not only works hard, but also cares deeply about his clients. Frank, I think you are the best."


From a former investigator of a county prosecutor’s office and retired private investigator

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