If there is a way to hone in on those properties and remove the psychedelic and addictive nature of marijuana, Huisenga is confident that she and the coalition could get on board to support those medications.
“We’re not trying to demonize or criminalize the medical properties but the chemicals that help don’t have to be smoked or eaten,” Huisenga said. “Scientists and the FDA recognize some of the properties that are beneficial so the coalition would support those things as well.”
In addition to arguing the harmful affects of marijuana use, the coalition is also facing advocates who say the government would not only benefit from taxing the substance but also by reducing the number of people incarcerated from marijuana crimes.
To combat those supporters, Huisenga has a variety of facts and figures she plans on showcasing to show that those benefits are not as strong as people perceive them to be.
“In Colorado for instance, every $1 gained, there is $10 lost in legal, health, social and regulatory costs,” Huisenga said. “And only .4 percent of prisoners without prior convictions are in prison for marijuana-related charges. It’s not really a good argument.”
As attitudes toward marijuana use, whether medical or recreational, continue to soften, the Gateway ImpACT Coalition knows its battles are becoming increasingly more difficult.
But Huisenga is feeling confident that the coalition’s Smart Approach to Marijuana is a strong defense against the growing number of marijuana advocates.
“I think this approach about being honest about marijuana and discussing the facts to counteract the other arguments is really the best method for us,” Huisenga said.