New York doctor says states shouldn't legalize marijuana 'until we have a lot more data'

A New York doctor is warning that states shouldn’t take steps toward legalizing marijuana until more research is done on the potential dangers of cannabis use, particularly among young people.

“If I was a policymaker, which I’m not, I would simply say let’s not legalize until we have a lot more data,” Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek, who is a senior attending physician at Rockefeller University, told Hill.TV on Tuesday.

“We can certainly benefit from carrying out rigorous studies supported by states or the federal government in each of the states where legalization has occurred,” she added.

Kreek joined “Rising” to discuss concerns surrounding the use of marijuana use among young people and its impact their brains.

In a New York Times op-ed published along a fellow physician, Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, Kirk argued that cannabis use among those 25 years old and younger is dangerous because their brains are still developing. They also recommended that states only legalize cannabis use for adults 25 and over.

“Dr. Davis and I decided to write this op-ed article because the information continues to show us the impact — the negative impact — on the developing brain and with more legalization, we think it’s important that people know,” she told Hill.TV.

New York lawmakers earlier this month failed to pass a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in the state before the end of the legislative session.

“It is clear now that [the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act] is not going to pass this session,” state Sen. Liz Krueger (D) said in a statement. at the time “This is not the end of the road, it is only a delay.”

Lawmakers did, however, vote to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession of up to two ounces.

Though marijuana remains illegal under federal law, more and more states are moving to legalize it, whether for medical or recreational use. 

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) just signed a bill making recreational marijuana legal in the state starting in 2020.

The new bill will allow licensed growth, sales, possession and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and over.

—Tess Bonn