The legalization of marijuana in four states and the District of Columbia has led to increased use and problems in the other 46 states. That’s the focus of a meeting in Marathon County Tuesday.
Melissa Dotter is with the Drug Free Communities Program, and she says research from Colorado and Washington is showing that the unintended consequences of legalization have sparked the discussion on whether to decriminalize, allow medicinal use, permit recreational use, and how to regulate the growing “Big Marijuana” industry behind the drug’s commercialization into a myriad of edible products. “What we’ve been hearing is just all of this discussion about the impact of the legalization of both recreational use as well as medicinal use, and you know, how that really has impacted use rates across the country, and how there’s some confusion about what decriminalization means versus some of those legalization terms.”
Dotter says marijuana now is not the same as it was years ago. Today, she says the product is stronger, and the products made from marijuana are extremely potent. “Whether it’s the edibles, which could be 40-to-60 percent THC, or the different concentrates that are out there like hash oils. Those are between 80-to-90 percent THC. They’re extremely strong and potent. When you look at the run of the mill street pot off the street to smoke, it was about 12 percent.”
Dotter says the edible items with marijuana or marijuana extracts are making their way into Wisconsin from states where they are legal, and many users risk overdosing because of their high THC concentration. “When you look at a brownie, and it’s six servings in a brownie the size of a deck of cards, and I don’t know very many people that would cut themselves off at one-sixth of a brownie. It’s something that people don’t necessarily realize what’s out there, and you know these products are coming into the state of Wisconsin although they are illegal, they are being shipped that have it legalized already.”
The Marathon County Drug Free Communities monthly meeting is from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at 212 River Drive in Wausau. The public is welcome to attend the free informational meeting.