6 Cons to Marijuana Legalization
The first two states in the Union, Washington & Colorado to legalize recreational marijuana did so nearly 6 years ago. It was the first week of November 2012. We have come so far. Nine states are on the books to have legalized marijuana use and sales since then. Twenty more legalized Medical Marijuana use, but haven't put their finger on the recreational use issue just yet.
Our lovely United States (more than 50%) have declared one form or another legal, while our Federal Government is still hanging out in the clouds and lining up Marijuana use with that of heroine or cocaine.
All these states, in the right mind when it comes to marijuana obviously know the benefits it offers. But the federal government are clinging on for dear life to the list of disadvantages.
We have made it pretty apparent that, here at Emerald's, we are advocates but I find it necessary to run both routes to cover my bases and toss away the bias. Can ya dig it? Of course you can.
Here goes nothin'!
Cons of Legalizing Marijuana
(This hurts me as much as it hurts you. We will get through this together.)
Again, this is not a COMPREHENSIVE list of the cons of marijuana legalization. It is simply the most common arguments used to oppose the legal sale and use of cannabis products.
1) Marijuana Is Addictive
Scientists are still divided on the subject of addiction. Some claim cannabis is not as addictive as harder drugs like crack and meth. Others claim that one in ten marijuana users develop dependence over time.
They point to the fact that stopping marijuana cold turkey will lead to withdrawal symptoms like irritability and anxiety. The same, however, could be said of cigarette smoking (which is legal). More research will need to be done to determine if marijuana is truly as addictive as the opponents of cannabis legalization claim.
2) Second-Hand Smoke Could Become A Problem
We’re all familiar with the debate involving the negative health effects of second-hand smoke from cigarettes. The same debate swirls around cannabis smoke.
Could second-hand smoke from marijuana cause non-smokers to have lung problems? Can they accumulate THC in their bloodstream? Will they experience a contact high? These questions are still being studied to determine the efficacy of the opponents’ claims. We must admit - worth thinking about. It is worth considering.
3) Decreased Mental Health
Opponents of legalized recreational marijuana like to point to studies that show that marijuana smokers suffer from everything from restricted blood flow to the brain, to memory loss, to the increased likelihood of schizophrenia and depression.
But science is still not completely certain about these assertions. The schizophrenia and depression issue is particularly cloudy because researchers don’t know if the drug itself triggers the problem or if cannabis users use the drug to alleviate and deal with the symptoms. (See our previous segment directed primarily to this gray area)
4) Marijuana Users’ Lungs Are At Risk
This con claims that smoking marijuana is worse for your lungs than smoking a cigarette. It’s presumed that the marijuana smoker takes the smoke deeper into your lungs, and holds it there longer, than you would if you were smoking a cigarette.
This deeper, longer exposure to carcinogens can increase the likelihood of lung cancer. The theory, though, does not touch on the different frequencies with which cigarette and marijuana smokers partake. Nor does it take into account the alternate methods of administration like vaporizing, tinctures, and edibles. Recently had an interesting conversation with an individual on this topic. No matter how you ingest nicotine, it narrows the arteries and and poisons the blood cells. There is no way around that.
5) Marijuana Alters Your Perception
Like alcohol, marijuana alters your perception. And like alcohol, this altered perception could lead to problems of impaired driving. Driving under the influence of marijuana could compound the already major problem of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
So as more and more states legalize marijuana in one form or another, the question on everyone’s mind has changed from, “Is marijuana legal in my state?” to, “What kind of trouble can I get in if I drive while high?”
Safety is ALWAYS first people. We do not condone operating any kind of machinery or a vehicle while you're under the influence of anything that can impair your ability to do so! Don't be stupid with your life and your involvement in others' lives. I hear it all the time - I have driven just fine while high, it is much safer than if I had been drinking. I don't care. SafER and safe at all is not a line to straddle okay? No judgment here, pals. Just pure love and concern.
In every state, driving under the influence of marijuana is classified the same as driving under the influence of alcohol. It doesn’t matter if the pot you smoked, or dabbed, or consumed in edibles, recreational or medicinal.
If it impairs your ability to drive, it is illegal for you to be driving, even if the cannabis is prescribed by a doctor or legally acquired.
States use various terms to refer to driving while intoxicated (be it from alcohol, marijuana, or even prescription medication) including, but not limited to:
Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)
Driving While Ability Impaired Drugs
Driving While Ability Impaired Combined Influence
Driving Under [The] Influence (DUI)
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
These classifications often refer to the escalating seriousness of the infraction. For example, in Colorado, DWAI is driving after consuming a substance that affects you to the slightest degree so that you are less able to operate a vehicle (either mentally and physically) when compared with ordinary, unimpaired, operation.
DUI, on the other hand, is driving after consuming a substance that affects you to a degree that you are substantially incapable of operating a vehicle safely. In this case, DUI is more serious than DWAI and carries a stiffer penalty.
Penalties for driving under the influence (regardless of the substance consumed) vary from state to state and are subject to the judge’s discretion, but usually involve some combination of:
Jail time (e.g., 2 days – 180 days)
Fines (e.g., $200 – $500)
Public Service (24 hours – 48 hours)
The real kicker comes if you are charged in a state where marijuana is still illegal. Not only will you be charged with the DUI, DWI, or DWAI, but you will also be charged with possession of a Schedule 1 controlled substance (a felony).
Penalties for possession are much more serious. For example, in Kentucky, first-time offenders can receive 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
An important factor to keep in mind regarding DUI and marijuana is that, right now, there is no scientific field test to determine whether a driver is high—there is no breathalyzer for marijuana.
All the tests are a combination of subjective behavioral analysis (recite your ABCs, determine the number of quarters in $1.75) and physical requirements (balance on one foot for 15 seconds, close your eyes and touch your pointer finger to your nose).
The only numerical measure of impairment requires a blood test (states have arbitrarily set 5 nanograms as the cutoff for blood THC levels). And even that is not an accurate measure of impairment for all individuals. Some people can be severely impaired well below that number, while others show no signs whatsoever at much higher levels.
6) Marijuana Is A Gateway Drug
Marijuana has long been considered a gateway drug. It is thought that once a person tries marijuana, he is more susceptible to trying harder, more dangerous drugs. Specialists like to point to research that suggests that using marijuana might be linked to more serious illegal substances like heroin and prescription painkillers.
Legalizing marijuana would increase the number of individuals who try marijuana and then,eventually, move onto harder drugs. This could put more financial pressure on the medical system and the public coffers to provide treatment for these individuals when they have serious problems.
The weird part is over. You can breathe now.
Message to non-supporters and non-advocates for sales & use:
We are obviously supporters. We pick at some satire toward our opponents and point some sarcasm in your direction but we mean no harm! We certainly do not hold it against you if you feel differently! That's the beauty of this country - you don't have to agree! I have been pretty open to how this was odd for me because we primarily report on a somewhat bias level when it comes to legalizing vs not legalizing. So I appreciate your taking the time to consider our content and opening your mind to what I have to say and share!
Tomorrow's content will be the opposite. We will thoroughly touch base on 6 PROS to legalization, and we hope you would give that info a fair read as well. :)
Emerald's Triangle LLC
Shaman's Reach Inc.