Legalization of Marijuana and What It Means to Addiction Treatment

Published on March 6, 2014
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Canaan, CT—Newly released data from Colorado revealing the lucrative nature of the state’s legalized marijuana industry may prove tempting to other states considering the legalization of cannabis. Mountainside, one of the nation’s leading addiction treatment centers, has concerns that lawmakers may only be looking at one side of this equation.

According to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the state is predicting tax revenue from the sale of medicinal and recreational marijuana to reach $51 million by the end of its current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2014. Estimates for the state’s upcoming fiscal year are set to eclipse $134 million, far exceeding the state’s original expectations. With these numbers, legalized marijuana could easily become a billion-dollar business should more states approve its medicinal and recreational use. Currently, 15 states have approved the use of marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes while recreational use of the drug has thus far only been legalized in Washington and Colorado.

The economic potential of legalized marijuana, as proven by the higher than expected revenues in Colorado, could be very attractive to state leaders looking for ways to improve their regional economies. But, despite the lucrative possibilities, there also resides an increased potential for the development of serious drug addictions in those who use the drug for recreational purposes.

“In reviewing the data released by the state of Colorado, of primary concern are the numbers estimated for the recreational sale of marijuana over those assigned to medicinal sales,” stated a Mountainside spokesperson. “With recreational purchases making up nearly ninety percent of all marijuana sales in Colorado, we can almost certainly expect an increase in other, more dangerously addictive drugs being used as more and more people become introduced to marijuana via legalized recreational consumption.”

In a 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it was estimated that “individuals who use cannabis by the age of 17 are 2.1 to 5.2 times more likely to try other drugs or suffer from alcohol dependence and/or drug dependence compared to those who do not use cannabis before age 17.” This study went on to note that while there is minimal scientific evidence of marijuana being a gateway drug, “early access to and use of cannabis may reduce perceived barriers against the use of other illegal drugs and provide access to these drugs.”

“Over the last sixteen years, Mountainside has helped more than six thousand individuals improve their lives through the use of advanced, customized treatment plans. In order to determine the exact needs of each client, we conduct thorough pre-admission consultations and in doing so, we have found that the recreational use of marijuana has persistently proven to be among the most common instigating factors in the progression to using stronger, more addictive drugs,” explained the Mountainside spokesperson. “It is our hope that state legislators carefully consider all aspects concerning the legalization of marijuana rather than making decisions based simply on revenue potential.”

If you or someone you love is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, Mountainside Treatment Center can help. Mountainside utilizes evidence-based treatment programs and holistic mind, body, spirit wellness techniques to help encourage longer-lasting, more effective recoveries. Drug addiction is a progressive disease and it will worsen the longer it goes untreated. Get the help you need now – call Mountainside today at 888-200-6106.