Health Official Urges Caution On Medical Marijuana, Legalization

Jun 16, 2017

This week in our Marijuana in Michigan series, we’ve heard from veterans and others who say that medical marijuana has changed their lives. However, traditional medicine in not yet ready to embrace marijuana, as WKAR’s Scott Pohl found out when he talked with a local health official.


Someone in Linda Vail’s position chooses their words very carefully when discussing marijuana…which is, it must be remembered, still listed as a schedule one narcotic by the federal government. Vail is the Ingham County Health Department’s Health Officer. She says medical marijuana is often associated with the treatment of cancer patients, and that the medical community in general is, in her words, “fairly mixed” on the issue.

"Though it's not typically considered to be addictive, there are people that can kind of get hooked on it." - Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail

Vail cautions that marijuana has been associated with problems such as with short-term memory and brain development, which leads her to worry about young people using it. She also is concerned about people potentially using marijuana too frequently.

One last area of concern voiced by Linda Vail has to do with smoking marijuana as opposed to other methods of consumption. Anything you smoke, Vail says, has an effect on your lungs.

As a public health official, Linda Vail says she has to urge proceeding with caution on expanding the use of marijuana for medical purposes and the idea of legalizing its use.