Should Marijuana Be Legal?

Voters across the country must soon decide, should marijuana be legal?  Marijuana’s harmful effects on physical and mental health have been well-documented.  Refer to “10 Marijuana Myths” on this website for specifics.  However, there are also other considerations when deciding should marijuana be legal.

Children:Boy Smoke

Pot is especially harmful to children as their brains and bodies are still developing.  Marijuana contributes to psychosis and schizophrenia(1).  Kids are easily addicted; 1 in 6 that try it even once(2). Pot reduces IQ (intelligence) among youths(3).

Prisons:Handcuffs

Legal marijuana will not reduce prison populations, contrary to popular belief.  Only 0.3% of prisoners are behind bars for marijuana-only crimes (4).  Furthermore, many of them “pled down” from more serious and violent crimes.  Also, 99.8% on federal inmates doing time for drug offenses were convicted of trafficking; not simple possession (5).  Finally, the risk of arrest for smoking a joint is estimated at only 1 in 12,000 (6)

Results From Holland and Colorado:seal_of_colorado-svg

Holland legalized marijuana.  Coffee shops sell it.  Usage among young adults increased 300% (7).  Since pot legalization in Colorado, children’s usage, crime, and traffic fatalities have risen substantially (8).  Consequently, Colorado now has more pot shops than McDonald’s or Starbucks (9).

“Medical” Marijuana Stalking Horse:stoner-with-bag

Proponents of marijuana have very successfully used “medical” marijuana as a stalking horse for outright decriminalization.  Voters pass “medical” marijuana out of compassion for seriously ill patients.  But the result is virtual decriminalization. For example, it only takes 93 seconds and $50 in California to get a “medical” marijuana card; it is harder to get a library card.  Less than 2% of “medical” marijuana cardholders have AIDs or Cancer (10).The average “medical” marijuana is a healthy male in his 30’s with a history of drug abuse (11).

Other:

Many other issues should be considered when deciding should marijuana be made legal.  For example, criminal drug cartels will not be greatly affected as only about 15-25% of their revenues come from pot (12).  Society pays out $10 in social costs (accidents, health damage, etc.) for every dollar of tax revenue received from alcohol and tobacco.  Can we expect marijuana to do better?

Consider the facts when you decide should marijuana be legal.

 

 

 

1. Andraeson, Cannabis and Schizophenea. 2. Anthony, Warner, Kessler, Comparative Epidemeology…3. Meir (2012) Persisyent cannabis users show neurological decline…4. Bureau of Justice (2004) www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&idd=275….5. Ibid…..6. Kilmer, Altered States? (2010)….7. MacCoun & Reuter (2001) British Journal of Psychiatry…8. http://www.rmhidta.org/html/2016%20FINAL%20Legalization%20of%20Marijuana%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impac…9. Ibid….10.Colorado Dept. of Public Health (2011)….11. O’Connell. & Bou-Matar, (2007) Harm Reduction Journal….12. Kilmer, Caulkins, Bond & Reuter (2010) www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP325…. 

 

 

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