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Should We Think Twice Before Legalizing Pot?

First we see Colorado and Washington start decriminalizing the use of Marijuana.  Later we’re seeing California and Nevada along with Maine and Alaska all starting to allow the recreational smoking of it.  Marijuana, Pot, Weed, Cannabis, whatever you call it, maybe we need to think twice.  Like a swing set, the further you push one way, the faster and further it’ll swing back.

But what about the benefits?

That’s exactly my point.  Marijuana has been proven to be of help for pain and possibly other symptoms.  Sometimes marijuana can be overwhelmingly the cheapest and best choice for chronic pain.  Orrin Hatch – as conservative as you can get – has even said that “It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana”.

But that stereotype still remains of the pothead with bloodshot eyes and the munchies.  There are tons of people that hail marijuana as a “cure-all”.  I mean just look at Bob Marley.  He practiced Rastafarianism which practically institutionalized use of Cannabis in Jamaica.  Just because Marijuana is useful for some practical purposes, isn’t a justifiable reason to legalize it everywhere without further research.

Addiction

Believe it or not, it is impossible to overdose on marijuana.  It is also impossible to become physically addicted to marijuana by most definitions.  That doesn’t mean you cannot be addicted to it.  Roughly ten percent of marijuana users eventually become addicted.  These people come to rely on marijuana to help destress.  The truth is, marijuana is just not a good solution to treat issues that need to come out and be dealt with in therapy.  Marijuana abuse is also linked to higher likelihoods of trying harder drugs.

Negatives we’ve seen from Colorado

People are quick to cite Colorado as a great example of why legalization works.  I mean they’ve already made quite a bit of money going straight into the school system right?  But the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area has compiled some data showing the negative sides of legalization including…

  • Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 32 percent.
  • Almost 20 percent of all traffic deaths were marijuana related compared to only.
  • Marijuana-related emergency department visits increased 29 percent.
  • Marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 38 percent.
  • Marijuana-related calls to the rocky mountain poison center increased 72 percent.
  • Diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states increased 25 percent.

I’ve heard some people even tell me they drive better – although slower – when they’re under the influence of marijuana.  I mean, at the time I was still pro marijuana but even that seems a bit far fetched.  The data shows that legalization puts the public in harm’s way.

The Harsh Truth

Having a relaxed attitude about this is not the correct approach.   Marijuana is a drug.  Comparing it to Cocaine or Heroin is not the right approach.  Just because it might not be as bad as something else doesn’t make it good.  Contacting your representatives or senators is always an option if you’re particularly outspoken about this.  Just think twice before you join the bandwagon.  Pot may have benefits, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without its downfalls.

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