CNN) — Last week, I joined the board of a new organization to oppose marijuana legalization: Smart Approaches to Marijuana. The group is headed by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy and includes Kevin Sabet, a veteran of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Obama.
The new group rejects the “war on drugs” model. It agrees that we don’t want to lock people up for casual marijuana use — or even stigmatize them with an arrest record. But what we do want to do is send a clear message: Marijuana use is a bad choice.
There are many excellent reasons to avoid marijuana. Marijuana use damages brain development in young people. Heavy users become socially isolated and perform worse in school and at work. Marijuana smoke harms the lungs. A growing body of evidence suggests that marijuana can trigger psychotic symptoms that otherwise would have remained latent. [Read full article]