The Marijuana Policy Project, which is a proponent of legalization, has branded the drug as being harmless, safe and also healthy. But the problem is that marijuana is not harmless. Some proponents of decriminalization have likened the use of marijuana to a car: that like a car, it is only a threat when used improperly. The public should not trivialize or deny marijuanas harmful effects. The dangers are real and they include addiction. Proponents claim that marijuana can treat glaucoma but an ophthalmologist points out that marijuana can make the vision loss that is caused by glaucoma to worsen. Another danger of the drug is its causing of hallucinations and delusions which may interfere with the way the brain creates memories. Its use can also double the risk of users developing disorders for example schizophrenia. A percentage of those who regularly smoke marijuana become addicted to it and they are more likely to start using harder drugs.
Teenagers who use the drug regularly could also have a drop in their IQ and are likely to have problems with their memory. Although those who are 21 years old and above can legally purchase marijuana, peer-review research shows that the use of a lot of marijuana is linked to long-term memory problems and other health issues in adults. The drug is also dangerous for pregnant women with lower birth rates being recorded in their children, impaired brain development and behavioral problems as adolescents. Some deaths do occur from edible marijuana and from car accidents where drivers are impaired by the drug. Americans have become more accepting of marijuana use as more states move to decriminalize the drug. But the growing acceptance and easy access to the drug, together with the advertisements put out by the proponents of marijuana; make the public think that marijuana is not risky to use. There are many good reasons to decriminalize marijuana but the negative effects of the drug should not be ignored.
Scientific research has clearly shown that the use of marijuana impairs bodily and mental functions. Even in the states in which it has been decriminalized, marijuana sales and use remain a source of crime and social dysfunction. But the proponents of decriminalization say that the drug is safe and non-addictive. They say that marijuana prohibition is as senseless as the prohibition of alcohol was in the 1900s. To them, the governments efforts to defeat illegal drugs have failed and the money spent on the illegal drugs campaign should be spent on the treatment of marijuana abuse. But none of the people involved know exactly how marijuanas decriminalization would be effected or what steps would be taken to prevent teenagers, children, criminals and addicts from getting the drug.
The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Acts purpose is to regulate marijuana in the same way the government regulates alcohol. The law would allow anyone over 21 year to purchase, possess, share or transport marijuana for personal use. The public could have an unlimited supply of marijuana and they could cultivate the plant for personal consumption. The Act would make drug-related items legal and give licenses to establishments for smoking and other consumption of the drug. There are restrictions for smoking marijuana while operating machinery. The Act will also authorize the imposing and collection of taxes and fees associated with the legalization of the drug.
Marijuana trafficking is linked to assault, murder, money laundering and drug smuggling. Decriminalization of the drug would increase its demand and make the drug-related crimes worse. Many criminals are marijuana users; marijuana residue is found in arrested offenders urine more frequently than any other drug. Although the drug inhibits aggressive behavior and violence, long-term use of marijuana may alter the nervous system, making it easier for a user to be more violent. The Netherlands is a good country with relaxed rules towards drugs but Amsterdam is a very violent city. The citys officials have been in the process of closing marijuana dispensaries or coffee shops, as they are called, because of the crime that is associated with their operations.
Decriminalization of marijuana would also have negative consequences on communities. The powerful odor of the drug has been complained about by those living near marijuana cultivators. More than the smell of the drug, crime is increasing near the growers of the drug. This is associated with the theft of the drug from the farms in which it is grown. As a result, the price of houses near the growers is going down. The public should also be aware of the greater harm of decriminalization of the drug, which is a higher addiction to the drug leading to the use of harder drugs. Marijuana is the starter drug for most criminals. Marijuana use and cocaine use are strongly linked, with their prices also being linked. Legalization will cause the price of marijuana to fall and increase the use of cocaine.
The use of marijuana is associated with cognitive difficulties. It wreaks havoc on concentration, attention and short-term memory. This affects a users ability to work. Even if critical workers like police officers, machine operators and airline pilots only used the drug recreationally and remained sober while at work, the long-term effects would reduce their productivity and place many people in danger. Further research has shown that the drug reduces concentration and weakens motor coordination. It also makes it hard for a person to be able to quickly scan his surroundings for deterrents or blockages. In driving simulations, people using marijuana are slower to hit their car brakes and cannot change lanes properly. Even if the drug was legalized, many black-market dealers would prefer not to be legalized in order to avoid taxes and regulation. If marijuana is legalized, more young people would use it. The drugs illegal status scares potential users from using it because they fear being arrested while others are embarrassed about getting caught. The more marijuana is used, the more it is abused because the fear of being arrested will diminish. Medical marijuana patients are at risk of being stigmatized because of this practice. Many patients go behind their own physicians to obtain permission to use medicinal marijuana. Others use many different strategies in order to justify their medicinal use to their families, friends and colleagues because of the stigma associated with the drugs use. This stigma has a huge effect on how patients look for treatment and whether they get the medical marijuana treatment at all.
For many centuries, marijuana has been used throughout the world medically, spiritually and recreationally. It has been used as a folk medicine to treat many human problems, but under cultural controls. Its first use as a medicine was in the central part of Asia and then it started being used in China and India. Greeks and Romans made use of the plant because of the hemp for manufacture of ropes. The medieval Europeans ate its seeds because they were full of nutrition and used its fibers to make paper for many centuries. The American Declaration of Independence was supposedly drafted on hemp paper. The 19th-century American physicians commonly carried with them marijuana tinctures for diseases like lack of sleep, anorexia, headaches and some types of sexual dysfunction. Remedies containing the drug were used for whooping cough, pain, and asthma. Some Americans who do not like mainstream medical treatments but embrace herbal treatments advocate this 19th-century use of the drug.
Considering that the drug has been used worldwide as a medicine and for spiritual purposes for thousands of years, it seems that Americas worry over medical marijuana is an overreaction. Despite being illegal, marijuana has become the most abused illegal drug in the US. For many people, recreational marijuana is basically harmless and is used as a rite of passage. This right of passage ends when these young people get careers and get into adult relationships. However, the drug becomes addictive for a number of the users with its properties of relaxation turning into a constant desire that interferes with their development. It may also bring about an early emergence of psychosis if a user has a predisposition towards psychotic illness. Medical users of marijuana have more access to the drug as more states endorse the drug. But without federal backing, there are no blanket regulations for all the states about what are acceptable symptoms for the use of marijuana, the exact prescriptions a patient can receive, or the legal means of obtaining the drug. In those states with no federal guidance, a physician who prescribes medical marijuana can be prosecuted under the same statutes as a drug dealer. Because of the prohibition, the opportunities that can be used to study the drugs risks and benefits and to develop new theories in its use and treatments become wasted. Marijuana should be reclassified to have the same class as some soporific drugs and stimulants. This reclassification would help to reconcile the federal government and the state law and permit research into many therapeutic uses of the drug.