The Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys sent a letter to the chairman of the state Commission to Combat Drug Abuse asking the body to “formally oppose the legalization of marijuana in any form, for any purpose” claiming cannabis is “not medicine,” that its use increases opioid abuse risk, and legalization has had “devastating effects in other states.”
The association cites three studies they say show that legalization “could further exacerbate Indiana’s opioid epidemic” – one from the National Academy of Sciences, another from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and another from Columbia University published in the American Journal of Psychiatry which concludes “cannabis use appears to increase rather than decrease the risk of developing nonmedical prescription opioid use and opioid use disorder.”
The letter, dated Nov. 3, does not include references to the National Institute on Drug Abuse research that led the agency to conclude that their studies “cumulatively suggest that medical marijuana products may have a role in reducing the use of opioids needed to control pain.”
Taking aim at medical cannabis, the prosecutors argue that there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that “whole plant” cannabis is medicine and that current information purporting as such is “based on half-truths and anecdotal evidence.” They argue further against medical cannabis because it is not recognized by the Food and Drug Administration.
Further, the attorneys argue that legalization has led to workforce issues, an increase in car accidents, and an uptick in youth use in legal states.
However, a study published in June found that 91 percent of cannabis consumers are employed full-time; studies concerning traffic safety in legal states are far from conclusive; and the National Survey on Drug Abuse released a study in September which concluded that teen cannabis use is at its lowest point since 1994.