Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued an updated policy statement about the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medical use in the United States. Since its last statement about the matter in 2004, many states have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medical use, and a small number, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized it for recreational use also. The AAP has policy positions about all manner of issues related to the health and well-being of children and adolescents, and an update to its stance on marijuana policy taking into account the changes in legal status around the country was clearly due.
As a proud AAP member myself, I tend to agree with its policy statements almost all of the time. Indeed, there is a lot in this new policy statement (PDF) that I agree with, too. It calls for the decriminalization of pot, and an end to the life-altering ill effects for youth that can follow felony convictions for possession and use. It urges limitations on medical-marijuana use to those that have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and encourages investigation of means for delivering the active ingredients that bypass the ill effects of smoking weed. The technical report that accompanies the policy statement (PDF) contains further information debunking the notion that marijuana is a benign substance, particularly for those whose brains are still developing.
I am down with all of that. However, there is one significant area where my opinion and the AAP’s part ways: It opposes outright legalization of marijuana use, and I do not.