“Smoke em if you got em,” words previously meaning a cigarette break, now send a different signal to the citizens of California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine to light off a tobacco or …
“Smoke em if you got em,” words previously meaning a cigarette break, now send a different signal to the citizens of California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine to light off a tobacco or marijuana cigarette. Voters in these states legalized recreational marijuana on Nov.8.
Did they make the right choice? The evidence, both scientific and law enforcement wise, says no.
First, marijuana users pay an extremely high price when they indulge in recreational marijuana.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana hammers the human brain with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinlaI (THC), a hallucinogenic agent, 30 minutes after its use. This chemical produces what marijuana users call a “high.”
Specifically, THC overactivates brain cells; consequently, several things happen — time warps ensue, massive mood swings occur, impaired body movements transpire, memory crashes follow and difficulty with thinking and problems solving arise. These adverse psychological effects in no way produce any appreciable benefit to the user.
Moreover, the long-term effects on the brain are no less damaging — memory and learning functions diminish for long periods or can even be lost permanently.
Secondly, marijuana users’ physical health suffers from its use — breathing problems, phlegm secretion in the lungs and the heartbeat ratchets up into unsafe territory. Most important, marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to the risk of both brain damage and behavioral problems in babies.
Also, “getting high” for the marijuana user opens the door to a horde of mental problems — extreme and unreasonable distrust of others, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Most important, the amount of THC in marijuana has been steadily increasing; to illustrate, growers who have a working knowledge of plant genetics and trait selection techniques have steadily increased the amount of THC in the plant.
For example, ditch weed, feral weed that occurs naturally in all states of the continental US, contains only of one-tenth of one percent THC. In stark contrast stands the 40-percent, brain-thrashing weed allegedly developed by growers in Australia. In layman’s terms, the higher the percentage of THC the greater damaging effects on the user.
Aside from the aforementioned problems associated with marijuana use, what personal manifestations will the user see in his/her life? NIDA states that the user will have a predisposition toward grouchiness, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and cravings. Is it a wonderful life for the user? Not hardly.
What problems are on the horizon for the new “reefer-legal” states?
In Colorado, where weed was legalized in 2012, police have been writing scads of citations for smoking marijuana in public. In addition, police and fire department personnel cite a sharp increase in home explosions, as “wildcat” chemists use flammable butane to make hashish oil.
According to the Colorado State Patrol, the number of drivers ticketed for marijuana-impaired drivers continues to climb.
In addition, other problems stem from pot-infused cookies, candies, and other edible treats. For example, a fourth grader on the school playground sold a few of his grandmother’s marijuana cookies to classmates.
If there is any benefit, it comes in the form of taxes; the Colorado marijuana industry generated $12.6 million in taxes in its infancy. Does this tax money outweigh the ruinous effects on its users and non-users alike? I say no.
Hopefully, the words “smoke em if you got em” for legalized marijuana use will not be heard in Alabama. And the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws states that one of the last states to legalize marijuana will be Alabama. May it be so.