Washington State legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and four years later on December 6, 2012, Washington became the first U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana and the first to allow recreational marijuana sales.

The vote didn't go down easily in Yakima County

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The Yakima City Council put a moratorium on marijuana shops and there was much debate over the health and safety of area residents.  Crime was a concern as was the potential for the high cost of personal addiction.  Those concerns were routinely mocked by proponents and brushed away by promises of all the good that could be done by marijuana tax revenue.

Medical marijuana users extolled the medical benefits and relief they received from marijuana.  The majority of the city council weren't convinced.

But the council makeup was changed following the ACLU voting rights case and one of the first orders of new business for the new council was to allow for pot shops within city limits.

The multi-million dollar tax revenue windfall hasn't really materialized but a Harvard study shows many of the negative effects have.

According to a United Press International report on a Harvard study shows:

Many people given a medical marijuana card to ease pain, anxiety, or depression symptoms become addicted to the drug, a study published Friday by JAMA Network Open found...in addition, those in the study who use marijuana to treat those symptoms did not see any improvement, though some with insomnia experienced improved sleep, the data showed.

Ironically, those at greatest risk for developing the symptoms of cannabis addiction were patients suffering from anxiety and depression.  Despite the fact that "Medical"  marijuana has been cleared for use in 36 states and the District of Columbia, researchers say there is limited scientific evidence supporting its use for a number of conditions.

Jodi Gilman, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.says:

Our study underscores the need for better decision-making about whether to begin to use cannabis for specific medical complaints, particularly mood and anxiety disorders, which are associated with an increased risk of cannabis use disorder...

 

Gilman concludes there needs to be better guidance for patients who choose to use marijuana and often receive no professional follow-up care.

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