California Lawmaker Called Out For Aiding Cannabis Industry

An anti-marijuana advocate is taking issue with California lawmakers of placing the cannabis industry’s profits over the health of Americans. Heidi Swan, a board member for Parents Opposed to Pot and a victim of marijuana-induced psychosis, also criticized the media as she argued that marijuana’s risks are kept hidden from the public.

“Where are the messages that say this can increase your risk for depression, anxiety, psychosis, schizophrenia, increases the risk of suicide? Where are those billboards? Where are those warning labels on the product? There are none,” Swan stated.

The idea of recreational use of marijuana has been spreading across the country. However, Swan is warning that people are not being made aware of the actual truth, as a Jan. 11 study by the health care data analytics firm Truveta shows that there is a “complex relationship between cannabis use and mental health disorders.”

A study from May published in Psychological Medicine discovered that up to 30% of schizophrenia diagnoses in men between ages 21 to 30 could not have happened if the individuals were not heavy users of marijuana.

Research and testimonies like these are covered up, according to Swan, who said they have been “dismissed by our elected leaders, have been dismissed by public health organizations, have been dismissed mostly by the media.”

Swan worked with California lawmakers to put out two bills that were aimed at adding regulations on the sales of cannabis. One of the bills, the Cannabis Right to Know Act, which was introduced in 2022, was designed to put warning labels on all THC products in order to inform buyers of its health and safety risks.

The second, the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act, introduced last year, was aimed at regulating cannabis candy packaging. The bill would have prohibited the manufacturing, distribution or sale of cannabis products with packaging that might attract children who are none the wiser.

However, the efforts failed, as the Cannabis Right to Know Act died while waiting for the House to vote on it. While the Cannabis Candy Child Safety Act passed the state’s Assembly, it was vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom after the state’s marijuana businesses urged him to kill the effort.

Speaking about the failure of the bills, Swan stated, “They were educated all along the way. All of them heard stories that I am sure they would rather not have heard. And in the end, the bill was pulled due to pressure from the industry. So, we have no protections in California. We have no warnings about the mental health harms.”

Pointing to the revelation last year by Los Angeles Times that cannabis businesses bribe some California lawmakers in order to get more lenient regulations and even licenses, Swan said that the state’s lawmakers are not considering the impacts of marijuana of users. Instead, “they’re looking at tax revenue,” she said.

“The state of California is more interested in the health of the marijuana industry than they are of their own citizens,” she added.