For years, a vocal minority has clamored for the legalization of marijuana. And that’s fine. That’s what we do in this country. When we feel that the law is unfairly limiting our freedoms, we make some noise to shake things up and change the law. It always starts as a minority. And it doesn’t matter if the majority ever agrees. It is a matter of what’s right. If a group can make the case that they’re right, then they can change the law of the land.
Marijuana rights advocates are actively participating in their government. And that’s the way it should be. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, this is how government is supposed to work. That said, in our enthusiasm to stand up for our beliefs, regardless of what those beliefs may be, there are still some things about legalizing marijuana that need to be considered lest enthusiasm dulls our better judgment. Any push for legalization has to include these hard truths:
Marijuana Is a Dangerous Drug
Having known marijuana users all my life, one thing has been consistent throughout: Those who insist marijuana is not dangerous are the ones who most suffer from its ill-effects. Some even go as far as to insist that the drug is not addictive. But recovery experts disagree.
You can see from this blog post in the section on Risks and Rewards that there are reasons to advise caution:
However, like prescription painkillers, sedatives, and stimulants that also offer medical benefits to patients, marijuana can be abused. It is an addictive substance, and even if patients initially gain some benefit from use of the drug, they can develop a tolerance, cravings, and withdrawal symptoms when they are without the drug – all signs of addiction.
To be clear, something being dangerous is not reason enough to ban it. There doesn’t need to be any particular benefit either in an effort to make the case, marijuana advocates are making the same mistakes as the alcohol and tobacco industries. It is not necessary to overstate the benefits, nor understate the dangers. Like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is dangerous. It should be regulated not banned. But it will never get there if we try to obfuscate the ill effects.
Marijuana is Not Yet Legal
Many are confused about this point, and for good reason. A handful of states have legalized marijuana. Surely, if the states legalize something, then it’s legal, right? Wrong! Remember slavery was legalized by a handful of states. The federal government, and a successfully prosecuted war said otherwise. More recently, there was a prohibition against gay marriage in a handful of states. The Supreme Court said otherwise.
A handful of states have legalized marijuana. But according to Americans for Safe Access, the federal law says otherwise. Even in those legalization states, using marijuana is still against federal law, and can land you in a lot of trouble. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin and cocaine. At the federal level, the battle has not been won, and the status of all state marijuana laws are still in question.
How Will Legalization Effect Our Children?
No discussion about legalization should end without the topic of children at least coming up as a part of the discussion. What should not happen is for children to be used as a weapon in a war of words. We are surrounded by dangerous substances that are legal and deadly. Children have to navigate a world where unhealthy foods are available, along with cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and prescription drugs. There is much to consider with regard to children and marijuana. It is not a simple matter. And neither side can afford to be dismissive of the subject.
It seems unlikely that the state of affairs regarding legalization will stay the same for much longer. At some point, the courts will weigh in on the matter. They will consider the same things we must: Marijuana is a dangerous drug. It is currently illegal at the federal level. And the effect on our children will be a factor.
Photo is Wikimedia Public Domain
Guest Author Bio
Jenna is a freelance blogger who is mainly focused on business innovation and breaking stories in business. Jenna has been blogging since college where she studied marketing and has merged her love of keying stories into copy writing work as well as plenty of reading and writing for fun! Find and follow on her new Twitter here!