Dr. David Nathan, a psychiatrist from New Jersey, responds to David Frum’s article which takes a firm stance against the legalization of marijuana. Frum supports the decriminalization of marijuana, but believes that due to the physical, developmental and social harms of the drug, it should not be legalized. In response to these arguments, Dr. Nathan suggests that the relative harms of marijuana are inferior to those of other legalized substances (e.g. alcohol) and the majority of harm associated with marijuana is due to the costs accrued by involvement in the justice system. Dr. Nathan also refutes the gateway hypothesis and suggests that legalizing marijuana for adults would reduce exposure to more harmful illicit drugs because obtaining marijuana would no longer be through a black market where dealers are also pushing drugs like heroin and cocaine. Dr. Nathan includes some of his personal observations through his experience as a psychiatrist supporting the idea that the devastation caused by marijuana among his clients is unlike that of alcohol and other drugs, because the suffering is not caused by the drug itself, but rather the consequences imposed by the justice system to combat marijuana use.
To read the original articles, click the links below:
Dr. David Nathan: Why marijuana should be legal for adults