Experts Warn Californians Against Legalizing Marijuana

By Staff Writer

Voters in California will soon cast their vote for whether or not they feel that marijuana should be legalized in the state through Proposition 19. While the decision will be left up to residents, experts are weighing in with their opinions in a last-ditch effort to sway voters away from supporting the referendum.

Michael Keitz, the district attorney for Madera County, recently wrote in the Sierra Star that marijuana can be far more addictive than most people are aware. These habit-forming properties may result in an increased need for substance abuse treatment among users. Additionally, he warned that legalizing marijuana may lead to increased use of other drugs.

“While it is true that marijuana use does not always lead to consumption of other illegal drugs, in my personal experience of more than 18 years as a prosecutor, almost all people who use methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and other drugs began by using marijuana,” he wrote in the news source. “Make no mistake about this: Marijuana is most definitely a ‘Gateway’ drug.”

A recent study from the California think-tank the RAND Corporation found that legalizing the drug could make it significantly less expensive, which may drive up consumption, according to the Christian Science Monitor.