Decriminalizing the sale of pot in the United States is definitely a divisive issue. While many addiction treatment professionals work hard to break the stigma of substance abuse and educate the public about the disease of addiction, increased access is worrisome.
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington is a move the DEA’s Chief of Operations James L. Capra calls “a bad experiment” and “reckless and irresponsible,” the Washington Post reported. He went on to warn that the move will have severe consequences. (Colorado pot sales began in January 2014 with Washington slated to follow soon after.) Officials in several other states are contemplating similar changes to their laws.
His strong words have many wondering if the federal government will move to over rule these new state laws, laws which proponents say will generate tax revenue and boost tourism.
Addiction treatment typically involves a withdrawal from the addictive substance followed by counseling and other services to develop a healthy support system and maintain a lifestyle free from addiction.
To date, the Justice Department has said it will not challenge state laws passed in Colorado and Washington after voters supported proposals to decriminalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. The sale and use of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but President Obama has indicated that he will not push for the prosecution of recreational users in states where consumption is legal.
Still, senior agents at the Drug Enforcement Agency are watching these state changes with dismay. At a time when heroin is seeing a surge in popularity, with overdoses related to the drug on the rise, the DEA is having a hard time explaining our country’s loosening drug laws.
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