The Delaware governor insists that weeds are a “gateway drug”
Delaware may have a reputation for being a fairly liberal east coast state, but Democratic Governor John Carney’s views on cannabis are almost as outdated as those of Republican governors of Texas, South Dakota, or Nebraska.
In a recent interview with WHYY and Delaware Public Media, Carney was asked if he would sign a new adult legalization bill that is moving forward through state lawmakers. The governor replied that although he no longer had a medicinal pot, he was firmly against legalizing cannabis for adults.
“We’re spending all of this time and money getting people to quit smoking cigarettes, and now let’s say it’s okay to only smoke marijuana for leisure,” Carney told Delaware Public media. “Look, I don’t want to sound prude, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
Carney also referred to the weary “gateway drug” myth, arguing that cannabis users are at a higher risk of becoming dependent on opioids. “If you talk to the parents of some of these people who overdosed and passed away, they don’t think it’s a good idea because they remember the trajectory of their own sons and daughters,” he said.
Of course, clinical research studies have shown time and time again that the idea of the “gateway drug” is not based on reality. A 2018 study found that “street-participating teens” who smoked weed were actually less likely to use intravenous drugs than children who did not eat, and other studies have shown that there is no association between legal weed and increased rates of adolescents Drugs there use.
The governor also told reporters that he does not believe any states that use legalized adult cannabis will get any positive benefit from their decision. “When I look at other states that have it, it just doesn’t seem very positive to me because of the strength of the community and economy in their states,” he told Delaware Public Media.
These comments reiterate Carney’s ignorance about legalization. Research studies have confirmed that legal weeds do not increase drug use, crime, or accidents at work in teenagers. The cannabis industry has created over 250,000 jobs and added billions of dollars to the US economy. One study estimates that federal legalization would create an additional 1.6 million new jobs and $ 129 billion in tax revenue. Individual states used by adults have already generated an impressive $ 8 billion in tax revenue since Pot was legalized.
Overall, Carney’s comments reflect the views of the conservative Republicans of the South and Midwest and put him far out of step with the Democratic governors of neighboring states. Adult cannabis is now legal in New York, New Jersey, and Virginia, and the governors of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are all pushing for legal weeds to be brought into their own states.
However, the governor’s opposition to adult weeds parallels another famous Delaware politician. President Joe Biden has long spoken out against full federal legalization, and his cannabis reform proposal is far more conservative than what Congress or the American people are hoping for.