The top HHS official in charge of preventing substance abuse called for a grassroots effort to inform states of the long-term health risks of marijuana as more states pursue legalization.
Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistance secretary for mental health and substance use within HHS, implored attendees at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Prevention Day event to work with states on the health risks of marijuana. Katz, who heads up SAMHSA, said that marijuana today has a higher count of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that creates its mind-altering effect, compared to 20 years ago.
“It is taking time to get attention to the issue, but you all can help with that,” McCance-Katz told the audience of addition prevention advocates and community leaders. “There has to be a huge sea change in order for this to be altered at this point.”