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Pot in the Checkout Aisle

Marketing Marijuana-Infused Drink is Edge of Dangerous Cliff

A pot-infused drink is the newest way to get high for residents of Washington, where recreational marijuana use is legal.

The fizzy drink, called “Legal,” is infused with 10 milligrams of liquid marijuana and comes in three flavors: cherry, lemon and pomegranate. Washington-based Mirth Provisions, the creator of the drink, charges about $10 retail and has plans to begin selling a pot-laced iced coffee drink as well. The soda-like product is marketed to those curious about pot but leery of smoking a joint. In fact, one marketing tagline reads, “so ridiculously relaxing that you may find yourself becoming one with your furniture.”

Marketing marijuana through fruity, colorful drinks is a dangerous experiment for adults, and especially children, that has addictive implications.

In the late 1800s, cocaine was the wonder drug that was supposed to be medicinally helpful in many over the counter medical remedies and drinks, specifically Coca-Cola but soon after its infusion into the marketplace, cocaine addiction ran rampant, leading President Theodore Roosevelt to hire the first Drug Czar and declare cocaine use an emergent epidemic.

We are headed down the same path to the same destination with the legalization of marijuana and the readily available products laced with pot. Many who are proponents of the legalization of marijuana and cannabis products will say that alcohol is more addicting and might even be more toxic to our bodies. I would agree that alcohol shouldn’t be legal either. But two wrongs don’t make a right. We made a mistake with cocaine and still have a mistake with alcohol making it so accessible that it’s now an addiction problem for many. Not too hard to predict where we are headed with cannabis legalization so let’s not narrowly view it on its own demerits.

For now, the fizzy pot-infused drinks will be sold only in Washington’s certified cannabis dispensaries. Recreational marijuana use became legal in Washington in 2014, second to Colorado, which made pot sales legal in January. Voters will consider the same issue in Alaska and Oregon this fall.

The risks of the cannabis chemical, as well as the terrible message given to teens that cannabis products are safe and helpful, will undoubtedly become a nightmare of future calamities on individuals, marriages, families, communities and societies. The minimal amount of money made today on the sale of pot products will pale in comparison to the huge costs at all levels of our society.

This new drink is indeed dangerous, as no one knows how much tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the principal psychoactive element in cannabis, it contains. We also don’t know the potency of the cannabis in the drink. We are on a slippery slope and so close to the edge of going over the cliff. The line is quickly being re-drawn to allow more access and less oversight with no science showing a significant benefit from cannabis, let alone outweighing the significant data about its dangers and addictive potential.

Those who are concerned about a friend or loved one and their struggles with drugs, alcohol or other addictive substances should reach out for help through a trusted Behavioral Health specialist, their pastor, or local hospital. The most effective help will incorporate God into the healing process, because without Him, no amount of rehab, treatment or medication can bring lasting healing and transformation.

karl-benzio-1Dr. Karl Benzio MD, Christian Psychiatrist, writer, speaker, media guest expert, social issue activist, and the founder and clinical director of Lighthouse Network. Benzio brings scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s storms. His experiences include teaching pastors, ministry leaders and students about counseling, leadership, parenting, marriage, and conflict resolution skills in traumatized areas like Uganda, Kenya and post-Hussein Iraq. He is currently a member of Focus on the Family’s Physicians Resource Council, the Pennsylvania Director of the American Academy of Medical Ethics, and serves on many other social policy task forces. His specialties include adolescents, addictions, decision-making and infusing spirituality into treatment. Benzio shares psycho-spiritual insights via his Stepping Stones daily devotional, on his one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” on 425 Christian radio stations and on iDisciple.org.

Email: KBenzio@LighthouseNetwork.org

Twitter: @drkarlb