Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Is smoking pot harmless? The group called Legalize Kentucky Now would have us believe there's no downside to smoking pot. Some even claim that it's never led to any deaths. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana and in 2016 there were 51 traffic fatalities directly related to pot use. More than 450,000 emergency room visits are related to impairment from pot. And users have a six times higher rate of psychological illness like schizophrenia. Some say it’s not addictive. Consider a study by the NIH in 2012 that found that one in six kids who try pot will become addicted. Heavy pot use is also linked to an 8-point reduction of IQ later in life. So while there's a push to legalize pot in Kentucky, consider that the downside is real.