*** NEWS RELEASE ***
For Immediate Release
November 10, 2014
Oregon, Alaska and D.C. Voted Yes; Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio Warns Next States Not to Rush to Legalize Pot
Philadelphia—Voters in Washington, D.C., Oregon and Alaska passed resolutions on Election Day that legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults there, joining Colorado and Washington State, which passed similar measures in 2012.
The next time voters head to the polls, several other states might also put the pot issue on the ballot, including California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada and Arizona, according to CNN.
Psychiatrist Karl Benzio, M.D., founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network (www.lighthousenetwork.org), an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says the rush for states to push through legalized marijuana legislation to keep up with trends could have detrimental and even devastating effects.
“States are now rushing to be added to the growing list of places where it’s legal to smoke, manufacture and even sell marijuana,” Benzio said. “As we’ve said time and time again, marijuana is not the harmless chemical people think it is. Pot injures the brain, diminishes physical, emotional, and cognitive functioning, and can be addicting. No evidence has ever shown marijuana is safe to the human body. Even the short-term studies of casual marijuana users show damage occurring to the brain.
“The term ‘gateway drug’ has been used over and over, but that’s exactly what marijuana is,” Benzio continued. “Once users are tired of the high or it’s not enough, many will turn to something more powerful, more potent and more dangerous. These marijuana laws might be geared toward regular, longtime users, but greater access attracts new users as well, who are unfamiliar with the drug’s dangerous effects. Additionally, these marijuana products are manufactured and packaged to look like candy and fruit snacks, so they are tempting for kids to pick up and try. They are also very concentrated, but with no instructions as to how much is a ‘normal’ dose.
“Haven’t we learned our lesson from the destruction resulting from the legalization of alcohol and prescription narcotics? In a very short time, we will see marijuana’s increased damages to individuals, families and society, and we will wonder why we legalized marijuana and gave our kids the message of endorsement that this dangerous drug is safe.”
Colorado is coming up on a year of legalized recreational marijuana use, and has seen several tragic headlines as a result. First, a Denver man, hours after buying a package of marijuana-infused candy and a pre-rolled joint, began ranting then shot and killed his wife. Then, a 17-year-old from Aurora who was planning to rob an out-of-state marijuana buyer instead accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend. Finally, a 19-year-old African exchange student at a college in Wyoming drove to Colorado with friends to try pot products; he ate marijuana-infused cookies, began acting wildly and leapt to his death from a hotel balcony.
In January, the Colorado State Patrol began tracking the number of people pulled over for driving while drugged. Since then, marijuana-impaired drivers have made up about one-eighth of all citations for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And according to a New York Times report about the effects of pot in Colorado, sheriffs from neighboring states say stoned drivers are streaming out of Colorado and through their towns.
Oregon’s and Alaska’s new laws make it legal for residents 21 and over to possess, manufacture and sell pot. Washington, D.C.’s measure allows a person over 21 to posses up to two ounces of marijuana and grow up to six cannabis plants.
Last week, Florida voted against the use of medical marijuana. The plant is still banned by the federal government, which classifies it as a Schedule I substance along with heroin and LSD.
Help is available for those struggling with drug addiction, and those concerned are encouraged to call the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Network Helpline at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242). 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. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a family member, friend or a loved one. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/im-family-a-friend.
Lighthouse Network representatives and counselors also help those in need navigate the complex health care system and complicated insurance processes, offering expertise to clients to maximize their insurance in order to obtain the best treatment option with minimal out-of-pocket cost. Lighthouse can also help those without insurance find treatment options.
Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/life-change-with-dr-karl/.
Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).
Lighthouse Network’s web site, www.lighthousenetwork.org, provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.
Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/stepping-stones/ to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.
For more information on Lighthouse Network, visit www.lighthousenetwork.org or call the Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).