- Posted October 17, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Why Marijuana Should not Legalized
As more and more baby boomers are coming of age, the cry for legalization of not just marijuana but all outlawed controlled substances has become louder. recently In an article published by the Los Angeles Times, Norm Stamper, a recently retired chief of police in Seattle Washington, said due to the billions of dollars wasted on the war against drugs, and the tens of thousands of people incarcerated for drug offenses in our prison system, these drugs should be legalized. His idea is to legalize it, charge taxes for it, and regulate it, not unlike a state liquor store. While I am sure that this right would be seriously abused, in time the abuse might taper off and we might possibly have a drastic reduction in both violent crime and theft.
I am diametrically opposed to this for several reasons. First, for several years we have been hearing what cigarette companies have been doing to their product, the addition of nearly lethal chemicals to tobacco has cost millions of people their very livelihood. I am not so jaded to believe that the tobacco companies once given the green light to commence growing operations wouldn't conduct business any differently with marijuana than they have with tobacco.
I am in agreement that smoking marijuana can, and does cause an increased likelihood that young adults might try harder drugs. But is this due to our social structure where all people that smoke marijuana are identified with all the other drug users, putting them higher at risk through interaction with these people. I also agree that marijuana can cause serious motivational problems and can be an impediment to learning capabilities. I however cannot for any reason think of a redeeming value for the recreational use of crack cocaine, meth amphetamine, or heroin. The addictive nature of these drugs being both chronicled and substantiated, have shown that serious medical problems and eventual death is in store for these users. Not to mention open access to these drugs would create tens of thousands of new addicts. Health providers would subsidize the costs of these additional addicts onto the consumer. While in a few years the in-house treatment boom might cause a rise in employment if this legalization ever occurs, the social costs would outweigh this benefit.
What should happen is a decriminalization of marijuana, which would leave enough control to local and federal governments to go after those that pose a threat instead of the individual casual consumer. Holland and British Columbia have decriminalized marijuana with no harsh effects. Millions are attracted to Amsterdam yearly in search of legal hashish bars; Vancouver's gas lamp district has become a Mecca for thousands in search of super-pot bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenues for the Canadian government.
The billions of dollars wasted on incarcerating tens of thousands of people for simple possession could be spent on standardizing healthcare in America. The billions of dollars spent on adjudicating these charges could be spent on eradicating our need for fossil fuels. Perhaps some of these funds could be used to address our deplorable public school systems, cure cancer or eliminate hunger in the world. Not being a proponent of legalization all I can say is I wouldn't mind having to pay a stupidity fee if I was stupid enough to get caught smoking marijuana in public, but me being no more credible than the hundreds of other people that have championed this cause, I doubt the government will listen to me.
Marijuana has been portrayed by the drug culture, with enormous funding from George Soros and his billionaire pot-smoking buddies, as an innocuous substance when, in fact, it is insidiously and extremely dangerous.
In the past fifteen years there have been numerous studies from all over the globe reporting on the significant role that marijuana plays in causing or exacerbating psychosis. It has become a leading reason for those seeking or assigned to drug treatment, and is a leading cause of drug-related emergency room episodes.
One well-designed and controlled study found that pilots trained on a flight simulator could not land a plane even 24 hours after smoking one 3.5% THC joint. Today's pot is much more potent than that. And did you know that it is also a leading factor in male infertility? It causes premature apoptosis of sperm and egg cells. And the list goes on and on and on.
Those who advocate for pot legalization insist that they can "handle" the drug. Likely most heroin addicts and meth addicts thought that they could handle the drug as well. The cost to society of their addiction, violence and crime, unemployment, under-employment, increased illness,etc., is borne by the rest of us - and it is in the hundreds of billions annually.
As for your libertarian view that this is a right, when our children were small I told them that the only time they had absolute freedom to do as they please would be if they lived alone on a desert island. If another individual came along then they would likely have to devise rules to live together in peace and safety. And the more people that came to the island then then more rules they would have to make. Having rules is what makes a civil society work.
Without them you have anarchy. Surely you do not support anarchy? And surely you would not advocate that just because a person believes themselves to be the world's best driver they should be free to drive at whatever speed they choose whenever and wherever they want? I thought not. You are dead wrong on this one. There currently exists controversy concerning smoking
Many well-intentioned leaders and members of the public have been misled, by the well financed and organized pro-drug legalization lobby, into believing there is merit to their argument that smoking marijuana is a safe and effective medicine. A review of the scientific research, expert medical testimony and government agency findings shows this to be erroneous. There is no justification for using marijuana as medicine.
The California Narcotics Officers' Association consists of over 7,000 criminal justice professionals who are dedicated to protecting the public from the devastating effects of substance abuse, whether cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana. We have seen firsthand the debilitating and often tragic results, both psychologically aand physically, for those who choose intoxication as part of their lifestyles. We have studied the medicinal use of marijuana issue, compiling information from medical experts to present to those we are sworn to protect. It is our firm belief that any movement that liberalizes or legalizes substance abuse laws would set us back to the days of the '70s, when we experienced this country's worst drug problem and the subsequent consequences. In the '80s, through the combined and concerted efforts of law enforcement and prevention and treatment professionals, illicit drug use was reduced by 50 percent. Teenagers graduating from the class of 1992 had a 50 percent lesser chance of using drugs than did those who graduated in the class of 1979.
Substance abuse rises whenever public attitude is more tolerant towards drugs, such as when people say that they are safe and harmless. Other factors that contribute to a rise in use include increased availability, reduced risk with using or selling and lower prices. In 1993, for the first time in 12 years of steady decline, illicit drug use rose and continues to climb. A major contributing factor is a message that drugs "aren't so bad." To counter this "just say yes" campaign, some feel compelled to provide the facts on the use of marijuana as medicine. These well-documented facts will prove beyond a doubt that marijuana is not a medicine.
Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug on the basis that is has “a high potential for abuse.” This means that the perception is that people get on marijuana, then become hooked and it begins to dominate their lives. This unquestionably happens in some cases, but is about as common as alcohol abuse. Marijuana may seem to yield considerable medical benefits for many Americans with ailments ranging from glaucoma to cancer, but these benefits have not been accepted well enough, on a national level. Medical use of marijuana remains a serious national controversy. Making marijuana legal to tax it may put us worth off economically. $14.5 billion in taxes are generated from alcohol but $185 billion are lost due to alcohol-related costs. The same with tobacco as $25 billion is collected in tax revenue, but $200 billion is lost.
Rapidly accumulating new research shows that marijuana use is associated with increases in a range of serious mental and physical problems. In a recent weekend accident survey, 8.6% tested positive for marijuana. That’s nearly four times the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 dl/dl (2.2 percent). In another study of seriously injured drivers admitted a Level-1 shock trauma center, more than a quarter of all drivers tested positive for marijuana. In Washington 12.7 % of fatally injured drivers tested positive for marijuana.
Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-inducing chemicals, which are stored in fat cells for long periods of time. Scientific research relates marijuana use to damaged bran cells and respiratory systems, decreased hormone production in both sexes, acute memory loss, lowered immune systems, and impaired motor skills. THC and marijuana smoke have been directly linked to miscarriage, in-utero fetal death, stillbirth, and infant death just after birth, along with behavioral and biological abnormalities of offspring. Also, contrary to reports concerning medical use of marijuana, there are no reliable scientific studies showing that marijuana is an effective drug for treating nausea and vomiting. Although some studies show that pure THC, one of the many chemicals in marijuana, has some effect in controlling nausea and vomiting, this chemical is available in a pharmaceutical capsule for use by the medical community.
Within minutes of taking the first drag, THC enters the bloodstream and gets down to work on a part of the brain called the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory function. Citing research from McLeanHospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, the ODEA says that regular users of marijuana “had impaired skills related to attention, memory, and learning for up to 24 hours after they last used the drug. These students had difficulty sustaining and shifting attention and in registering, organizing and using information than the control group”
Long-term cigarette smoking is bad for your lungs, but unlike for pot, there are not millions of people who believe that tobacco makes you intoxicated, lowers your IQ, and makes you slow and stupid. While studies conflict, many confirm what millions have perceived, that routine pot use leads to serious mental health issues. On the other hand, a nightly glass of red wine has the opposite reputation, of not making anyone slow or stupid, but of sustaining health and even decreasing the likelihood of dementia.
Many studies show serious problems, for example, with schizoid psychosis while smoking. Marijuana can also act as a cancer-causing carcinogen and cause DNA damage, for pot smoke contains higher levels of certain toxins than tobacco, which is why pot smokers face rapid lung destruction, with the impact on lungs from one joint equalling up to five cigarettes. Pot also opens the door for the virus that causes Kaposi’s sarcoma. For pregnant moms, it can harm their unborn child by impairing growth and by causing long-lasting neuro-behavioral problems. For habitual use is strongly associated with car crash injuries and smoking marijuana doubles the risk of fatal accidents.
Studies show that chemicals in marijuana cause the body to kick its production of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC’s) into overdrive. Like the United Nations of the human body, the job of these cells is to keep the rest of the immune system in check. They make sure that just enough force is used to fight off infection, but not too much. An increased amount of MDSC’s basically causes them to abuse their power so to speak and suppress the immune system to the point where it can’t effectively fight off infections. Kind of like bringing a knife to a gun fight.
Researchers and scientists have had a difficult time finding a direct correlation between smoking weed and lung cancer. The reason being they have a hard time finding people who have smoked marijuana and marijuana only. Generally, weed smokers also tend to indulge in tobacco which is proven to be a leading cause of lung cancer. What scientists have been able to nail down are the similarities in tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke, and the results are surprising. A 2007 study by the American Chemical Society compared the chemical make up of tobacco smoke to marijuana smoke and revealed they share similarities in their make up including the existence of ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and nitric oxide. The startling difference was that marijuana smoke contained 20 times the levels of ammonia, and three to five times the levels of hydrogen cyanide and nitric oxide to that of tobacco smoke. A slightly more recent study in 2009 showed that since marijuana users typically tend to take longer drags and hold the smoke in for an extended period of time before exhaling, smoking 3-4 joints a day is equal to “the same degree of damage to bronchial mucus membranes as 20 or more tobacco cigarettes a day.”
To those who believe marijuana will stimulate the economy, you are wrong. Any tax revenue will be counteracted by the cost of industry regulation. Marijuana will have to meet certain quality standards. Any plant that does not meet these standards is a waste of money in terms of water, food, land, workers, electricity, screening the plant for contaminants, and the technology needed to check for certain standards, such as THC concentration. The list goes on and on because you are going to need to add the cost to regulate the substance either through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or the Food and Drug Administration, which means opening up a new division in one of the organizations and paying each agent’s salary. On top of this is the cost to revolutionize laws, making sure underage sales do not occur and establishing drug influenced driving laws and technology to enforce that law. Employers are still going to have to pay for pre-employment drug tests, as I suspect a majority would still do drug screens. This will counteract legalization from the economic standpoint because people who would otherwise buy it will choose not to out of fear of employer-mandated drug tests.
Comparing marijuana users to alcohol or tobacco users should not be done. The comparisons are of people who spent years of chain-smoking or decades of heavy drinking to moderate weed use. Also the comparisons never compensate for the number of users. 100 pot smokers are always going to cause fewer real problem cases than a million people using alcohol.
We have made significant progress in fighting drug use and drug trafficking in America. Now is not the time to abandon our efforts. The Legalization Lobby claims that the fight against drugs cannot be won. However, overall drug use is down by more than a third in the last twenty years. The amount of good that can come from legalizing marijuana is far outweighed by the amount of harm it would bring. It is time the self proclaimed, elf appointed and self anointed custodians of society stop catering to demands of addicts or would be addicts and all talk of legalizing this narcotic is stone-walled without any let or delay.