CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -
The future of marijuana legalization in the U.S. is coming into focus for students, professors and hospital staff at the University of Virginia. Wednesday, experts weighed in on the slow disappearance of the prohibition of the drug.
UVA Professor of Medicine and Law Richard Bonnie says marijuana has been trending toward legality since the early 2000s. He says states that are considering making the drug legal need to make sure they take appropriate steps to regulate it.
"We do everything that we can to assess the effects of what is being done in order to find the best way to make the drug available while protecting the public health," Bonnie said.
"With more and more states legalizing marijuana, there is a perception that marijuana is safe to use," said psychiatrist Nassima Aitdaud.
Some people think states are adopting a form of marijuana legalization just for the revenue it can generate.
"Sales taxes are really good, and states will be looking for that," Aitdaud said.
Bonnie says states that simply decriminalize the use of the drug are not doing enough. He suggests states that legalize marijuana use adopt a regulation model similar to that of tobacco. Doing so would create guidelines for its commercialization, which includes; retail, distribution, promotion and even encouragement of marijuana use
Aitdaud says another big part of the debate is the efficiency of synthetic forms of THC, which is the natural ingredient in marijuana. She says with more people using actual cannabis, more questions and concerns are rising about whether researchers will have enough data to learn how effective synthetic forms really are.
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