Well, we have another politician from NH making questionable claims regarding her public stance against the legalization of cannabis. In a recent article from Politico this past Tuesday (and on 420 of all days), US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) commented about her stance on cannabis legalization, stating that she doesn’t support legalizing “marijuana,” while also employing the disingenuous, and arguably discredited, rationale that cannabis legalization will lead to more drug use and abuse. Specifically, Senator Shaheen referenced NH’s ongoing battle against opioid addiction as her rationale: “We’re in the middle of an opioid epidemic, and the research that I’ve seen suggests that that is a way that more people get into drugs.”
Historically, the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug has hindered the ability of the medical and scientific communities to appropriately conduct research into the purported therapeutic benefits of cannabis as both a potential treatment for opioid use disorder and as an alternative to the use of opioids for the treatment of severe and chronic pain. Instead, the federal government has largely only funded research aimed at highlighting the deleterious personal and public health effects related to the use of cannabis, and has frequently suppressed and ignored any research findings that did not support these false narratives supporting prohibition. Surprisingly though, the federal government has itself long-operated a medical cannabis program–although it is strictly limited in scope. Now, this is not to say there are no potential negative effects from cannabis use, but simply to point out that many of the oft-employed arguments we hear from politicians in opposition to cannabis reform are largely based on these types of one-sided research studies and perspectives.
For us cannabis proponents in NH, Senator Shaheen’s comments may be frustrating, but more importantly, they underscore the fact that much more work needs to be done in educating our elected officials on the myriad benefits of cannabis legalization. Her comments also serve to highlight the importance of letting our elected officials know that we, the voting public, can and will hold them accountable when they do not serve the public’s interests and do not evolve in their positions on the issues that are important to us. They are elected to represent and serve their constituents, not to further their own political, financial, and personal interests.
If you want to share your passion and support for the federal legalization of cannabis, you can contact Senator Shaheen via her website: https://www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/contact-jeanne