A United Nations (UN) report published on Thursday warned that legalizing the non-medical use of cannabis can lead to higher consumption, a lower perception of risk and other health problems.
Data show that cannabis legalization and the general availability of legalized cannabis products can cause increased use and trivialization of the drug’s negative consequences, especially among young people, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the UN body for enforcing international drug control conventions, said in its annual report for 2022.
“In the United States, it has been shown that adolescents and young adults consume significantly more cannabis in federal states where cannabis has been legalized compared to other states where recreational use remains illegal,” the report said.
Itsaid that cannabis legalization has also caused more cannabis-related medical emergencies and traffic accidents.
“Statistical evidence from Colorado (United States) shows that fatal traffic accidents with drivers under the influence of cannabis nearly doubled from 2013 to 2020.”
The INCB report also noted that governments have failed to achieve their main objectives for legalizing cannabis, such as to reduce criminal activities and improve public health and safety.
“Evidence suggests that cannabis legalization has not been successful in dissuading young people from using cannabis, and illicit markets persist,” INCB President Jagjit Pavadia said.
TheINCB report also pointed out that cannabis legalization and the industry’s growth potential have prompted companies to expand business and lobby to lift controls on cannabis.
Thelegal sale of cannabis products in the United States generated 25 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, 43 percent more than in 2020, according to the report.
Accordingto the INCB, the trend to legalize the non-medical use of cannabis contravenes the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.