Testimony In Opposition to House 1632 An Act To Regulate And Tax The Cannabis Industry

Before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary

The Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) wishes to be recorded in opposition to House 1632 because it goes against established policies of the MMS in opposing recreational use of marijuana.  Just last week a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience connected marijuana use to brain abnormalities in young users. A 2012 study in New Zealand tested individuals over a 25 year period and found diminished IQ test results among those who used marijuana at a young age. 

The MMS has been active in the debate on medical marijuana and in trying to establish standards of care for physicians seeking to help but not harm patients whose unique circumstances may justify investigating the potential benefits of marijuana use.  Advocates for broad use of marijuana compare it favorably with alcohol and drugs with potential lethal toxicity.  This is a false standard of meaningful comparison. Marijuana should be judged on its own merits.  From a physician perspective, legalization of recreational marijuana sends a dangerous message, particularly to young people.  The message is that the state finds more benefit than risk in the use of this substance.  The benefits of medicinal use are hard to quantify and appear limited.  A risk benefit analysis of recreational use does not appear to warrant legalization and expanded use in the general population and our young people.

The concentration on the generation of tax revenue and infrastructure creation in this bill is cynical in the extreme. If tobacco, also a predominantly smoked substance, were illegal today would we allow its legalization based on projected tax revenues?  The MMS urges the members of the Judiciary Committee to oppose H 1632.

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