Delaware Public Media

Delaware's medical society renews opposition to legal weed in joint statement

Mar 24, 2019

The Medical Society of Delaware is doubling down on its stance against recreational marijuana.

Medical Society President Andrew Dahlke cosigned a joint statement opposing legal weed with Medical Society presidents from Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

Lawmakers in Connecticut and New Jersey may vote soon on legislation allowing recreational marijuana—a move 10 states across the country have already made.

But Dahlke says marijuana’s federal status as a Schedule I drug has made research difficult, and not enough is known about the negative effects it can have on people with preexisting mental health issues.

“Let’s say they’re paranoid schizophrenics or they have some other reason they’re not quite as balanced as the average individual; the marijuana can sometimes push them over the edge,” said Dahlke. “So psychiatrists will have to admit, say, three people on a weekend because they all end up getting so paranoid from smoking the dope.”

The joint statement supports changing marijuana’s Schedule I status to Schedule II so more research can be done.

But Dahlke says he also opposes recreational marijuana because it can be just as harmful as tobacco products.

“So we’re going to have lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, then we’re going to have hardening of the arteries which means people are going to have heart attacks and strokes,” he said.

Delaware’s Medical Society opposed legislation last year from former State Rep. Helene Keeley that would have legalized weed in the First State. That bill died in the House and no lawmakers have stepped forward this year to sponsor a renewed effort.