Psychology Today Blog - Dr. John F. Kelly - Marijuana Legalization and Answers to Our -'Drug Problems'
July 13, 2017  | 

Psychology Today | Marijuana Legalization & Answers to Our ‘Drug Problems’

Psychology Today, July 11, 2017 Recovery Research Institute Founder & Director Dr. John F. Kelly

Like many of us, I have held lots of strong opinions about things in my life only for those opinions to be refined, altered, or even completely reversed by new knowledge. As a clinical scientist working in the addiction field for the past 25 years, I am asked a lot of questions about the complex issues of alcohol and other drug use and addiction. Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are often a potentially frustrating and annoyingly nuanced,

“Well, it depends on…” or,

“Yes, for some people, but….”

We all like and want straight, clear, and definitive answers. While alluring, however, such definitive answers are frequently inaccurate and misleading, based on a lack of knowledge and consideration of a larger context. As renowned journalist, Henry L. Mencken, once quipped,

“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

Drugs and drug policy are issues that most people have an opinion about, evoking strong feelings and fiery debate, especially when talking about marijuana legalization. “For” or “against” arguments turn a complex problem with multiple imperfect solutions into binary, right or wrong arguments that ignore wider possible variations in legislation and policy.

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