The most common reason many are against the legalization of marijuana is because this natural substance is prominently viewed as being a 'gateway' drug, meaning that it encourages users to move onto harder, more serious, and harmful drugs due to it's mild yet extremely euphoric effects. However, statistically speaking- only one user out of 104 marijuana smokers turn to cocaine, and less than one user turns to heroin. Of course the possibility of a marijuana smoker trying harder drugs is there due to free will and personal preference, but there is absolutely no conclusive proof that marijuana leads to the experimentation of harder substances. Environment also plays a big role in this 'gateway' theory; many users of hard hitting, highly damaging drugs grow up and dwell in areas where these drugs are a prominent part of their everyday life, making it more attainable and commonplace; they also turn to these drugs in order to numb overwhelming emotional/mental pain. With weed, however, this is not the case; smoking marijuana delivers a pleasant feeling through the body, causing a feeling of extreme relaxation and euphoria, and although this feeling is amazing, it is not strong enough to distract one from deep pain and mental torment like cocaine/heroin are; this fact proves that marijuana plays no role in the use of hard drugs, if someone chooses to use drugs as an emotional pain reliever, they were going to use these drugs anyway; people don't smoke weed for that reason. How often have you seen someone say "Oh gosh, my life is falling apart, I need a joint!" More often a roll up of the sleeve accompanied by a needle to the vein is the more common scenario in such a situation.
Another common misconception of marijuana is that it is very harmful to your health; admittedly, this all natural plant does contain 420 different chemicals (hence 420, heehee), however, cigarettes contain over 2000! Remember the creepy commercial from a few years back with the old lady with the hole in her throat? Yeah, that was caused by cigarettes, not weed; amusing how that's legal. While the habitual use of marijuana can obviously irritate the lungs due to the practice of holding the smoke in your pipes, there is absolutely no proof of marijuana causing cancer. It has also been noted that smoking marijuana causes the heart to speed up, sometimes even up to 50%, however, as long as the user is free of preexisting heart conditions such as high cholesterol or blood pressure, this effect is harmless; and as we all know-the same thing cannot be said of cigarettes (proven to cause heart disease, lung/colon cancer, and subsequently-death). Never in my life have I heard of a person being killed by second hand marijuana smoke or 'high' driving for that matter. The fact that alcohol is legal while marijuana is not, is mind boggling. In year 2006- 13,470 lives were unjustly taken due to accidents caused by alcohol impaired drivers while not one fatal incident has been reported due to marijuana. Aside from drunk driving, alcohol is the cause of many horrific, unpleasant, and shameful events; from the alcoholic father that ruined his family's life in one way or another, the rape victim who's assailant wasn't charged because she had been drinking, to the valedictorian that thought it'd be fun to jump over a cliff just this once- only to never make it back up. Alcohol causes people to do and say all kinds of crazy things; while weed on the other hand, has a calming effect- one that often times fills the user with joy, relaxation, and peace.
How irritating are those 'Above the Influence' commercials, meant to exemplify the degradation and negativity that weed produces. "I made my mother cry today", a girl says gleefully. "I left my friends at a party", says a boy, the same doofus smile plastered on his face. Why not show the flip side, shall we? The girl that made her whole family cry because she died of alcohol poisoning; and what about the guy that remembered to take his friends home after the party and killed all of them because he was drunk? On that same note, when did marijuana ever make you mean? When did it ever cause you to forget your friends? Your IPOD or cellphone yes, but c'mon...whatever these kids are smoking, it's not marijuana.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
With "4-20" coming up in less than a month (National Weed Smoking Day, celebrated April 20th) it isn't surprising that the discussion of marijuana legalization is becoming increasingly popular in recent news and media; even President Barack Obama has spoken about Assembly Bill 390, which proposes that marijuana be legalized and treated in a fashion much like that of alcohol. The idea of legalizing marijuana is not a new one and although the issue has been pressed and pressed for quite some time now, there are still many misconceptions that the world has regarding marijuana that disallows it from legalization. Many of the ideas people have about the danger and negativity of marijuana and the reasons they feel it should be illegal hold little to no truth; many nay-sayers know this, however, regardless of that, they stubbornly hold tight to their weightless and uneducated stereotypes.
My biggest problem with the world's view of marijuana and probably its #1 misconception is that it makes you stupid and that it is used by stupid people. President Obama offended many of his supporters Thursday, March 26th at a Townhall meeting where he was asked if he would support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence. President Obama responded "There was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation, and I don't know what that says about the online audience." He then laughed and continued "The answer is no, I don't think that [is] a good strategy." It seems as if President Obama was implying that there was something wrong with people that would like to see this bill passed, his comment felt demeaning and arrogant. The president seems to have fallen prey to the hype that marijuana is a negative, production prohibiting drug. Yes, the THC in marijuana triggers the happy part of your brain into a euphoric state, sending that message to the rest of your body causing you to feel 'high'; however, the decision to sit around all day and not shower or go to class is not an effect of smoking weed, it's an effect of a person who has no true desire to accomplish anything, adding fuel to their already fatal fire. In other words, weed can make you feel like not doing anything if you don't want to do anything, if you are a motivated person, smoking marijuana won't slow you down any more than a wine cooler might. In fact, it has been often stated that weed actually improves brain function in a way that allows you to look at life in a more raw form, suddenly seeing everyone and everything for what it really is, and coming up with ideas that had never before crossed your mind (damn good ideas at that). Olympic gold medal winner Michael Phelps was unfortunately dropped from his endorsement deal with Kellogg's when he was seen smoking a bong at a party. It's a shame, he's so talented yet due to society's false, negative view of marijuana, this very common activity was seen as an atrocity. What does that tell us about weed? Hmm...I guess not only stupid people smoke it right? I mean Phelps is a six gold medal winner, am I right? I definitely sense motivation and intelligence there. Oh and Kristin Stewart, the rising star who made millions playing Bella in the much raved about drama Twilight, yes, she was caught smoking weed as well; she couldn't be too stupid making all that money in Hollywood and growing more famous by the second; in fact, many celebrities (as well as doctors/lawyers) smoke weed.
Even after much research and reading, it is still unclear as to why marijuana is illegal in our country. Surely many people notice the tragic trends of alcohol and tobacco use; why is it that the absence of this horror in marijuana use is overlooked? It is very possible that the main reason marijuana is not being legalized in our country is because due to it's all natural components, it is very easy to grow in the comfort and privacy of your own home, preventing the government from controlling it and therefore taxing it in order to receive finance. Proof of this theory is found in the contradiction of medical marijuana. In many states citizens are allowed use of marijuana if they own a medical card stating that they are permitted to use marijuana for medical purposes. While marijuana is very helpful for alleviating pain in glaucoma and cancer patients, a card can also be obtained for insomnia, headaches, and even stress; making it virtually accessible to everyone. However, there is a catch- after receiving consent from a physician, it cost at least one hundred dollars to buy a medical card and then there is the pricey fee of purchasing the marijuana products. So why not just approve Assembly Bill 390 and tax weed? Well, the government makes more money this way (medical card/product fee, marijuana related arrests...) and money is the type of green that even they enjoy.