New York Times Questions Gratuitous Medical Marijuana in California—Novus Medical Detox Says Increased Availability Encourages Overuse, Advises Against Movement

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Novus Medical Detox responds to a recent New York Times article which highlighted the recent announcement that marijuana dispensaries in Berkeley, CA, would be required to provide low-income residents with free cannabis.

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Marijuana’s potency has doubled in comparison to its strength in the ’60s and ’70s, and the drug is now more available than ever before—that’s a dangerous combination in a nation which has yet to control the abuse of addictive substances.

According to a recent New York Times article, “medical marijuana dispensaries in [Berkeley] will be required to donate at least 2 percent of their cannabis to low-income residents” beginning in August, 2015. (1) Novus Medical Detox, one of the only Florida-based detox centers serving high-dosage drug abuse patients, discourages the new regulation, which they say will likely only further contribute to the nation’s already rampant drug use and high levels of addiction.

In early September, Berkeley’s city council unanimously approved a requirement mandating that marijuana dispensaries to provide a set amount of free marijuana to low-income residents—an effort designed to make the drug affordable for all residents, but one that prompted almost immediate backlash from critics. (1) According to Novus executive director Kent Runyon, the requirement could encourage other U.S. cities to follow suit and bring about a trend which Runyon maintains will only further contribute to the nation’s drug epidemic. Additionally, further reports have highlighted California’s haphazard policies with regard to marijuana and call into question the lack of testing and evaluation of the free marijuana, which is also lacking with regard to purchased marijuana. Guarantees of purity, potency and basic safety are missing. (2)

“While I don’t misunderstand that medical marijuana has gained notoriety recently, the best solution moving forward is for healthcare professionals to conduct responsible research into the medicinal properties of marijuana that could result in the use of non-smoked, non-psychoactive, pharmacy-attainable medications,” stated Runyon. “Marijuana’s potency has doubled in comparison to its strength in the ’60s and ’70s, and the drug is now more available than ever before—that’s a dangerous combination in a nation which has yet to control the abuse of addictive substances.”

While some say that the associated risks of marijuana use are minimal when compared to those of illicit substances, a 2014 study showed that fatal car crashes involving cannabis use have tripled during the previous decade, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes compared to 4 percent in 1999. The inherent danger of marijuana, as indicated by the report’s data, prompted Dr. Guohua Li, Director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia, to make a grim prediction:

“Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana. If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving.” (3)

Novus has remained vocal in the fight against substance abuse, and its officials maintain that comprehensive drug education for all U.S. residents can help to significantly reduce the number of Americans using drugs. With regard to the use of medical marijuana, Novus is pushing for further research into cannabis’ medical attributes, as well as strict policies that prohibit the sale of the drug to minors—much like the laws currently in place for cigarettes and alcohol.

Because marijuana users can suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and drug cravings, detox can be a critical first step for those looking to overcome addiction as the number of people seeking treatment continues to grow. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 1993, marijuana comprised approximately 8 percent of all treatment admissions; by 2009, that number had increased to 18 percent. (4)

Novus encourages those who are struggling with any abusive substance(s) to seek out safe, medically-supervised detox programs with integrated medicine that allows the detox process to be as comfortable as possible.

For more information on Novus Medical Detox’s addiction and detox programs, visit http://www.NovusDetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families as an inpatient medical detox facility. Novus is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient, incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment—putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television, and high-speed Internet access. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

1.    Lovett, Ian. “Berkeley Pushes a Boundary on Medical Marijuana.” The New York Times, 2 Sept. 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. nytimes.com/2014/09/03/us/03berkeley.html?_r=1.

2.    “Berkeley’s Free Medical Pot for the Poor Is a Terrible Idea.” SFGate. N.p., 18 July 2014. Web. 4 Sept. 2014. sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Berkeley-s-free-medical-pot-for-the-poor-is-a-5631481.php.

3.    Thompson, Dennis. “Fatal Car Crashes Involving Pot Use Have Tripled.” Webmd.com. N.p., 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 6 Feb. 2014. webmd.com/mental-health/news/20140204/fatal-car-crashes-involving-pot-use-have-tripled-in-us-study-finds.

4.    “Marijuana & Public Health.” Learnaboutsam.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2014. learnaboutsam.com/public-health/#_ftn14.

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