Is Legalized Marijuana Off To A Bad Start?
Many people have expressed concern over the recent legalization of marijuana and what effect that will have on youth and society in general. Most proponents of legalization have historically been quick to dismiss critics’ concerns. Blogs and online chat rooms dedicated to defending marijuana often make bold claims including “no one can overdose on marijuana” as well as cringe-worthy remarks regarding the ability to “drive better” while under the influence of pot.
As has played out many times before, the interests of one group are pitted against the interests of another in a social war of wills about what is fair or what is best for its citizens. Marijuana proponents have rallied heavily around the inroad of “medical marijuana” citing its use in combating nausea in cancer patients as a singular justification for legalizing pot.
Right now, an industry is being created for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, and selling marijuana. A full throttle effort is underway to create a diverse array of food products containing thc (the ingredient in marijuana that causes a drug high).
Inevitable comparisons will continue to be made between alcohol & marijuana and nicotine & marijuana. All of these substances are addictive and have been damaging to society. All of these substances are also profitable. We must ask ourselves where is the line? Where is the line between individual rights and preserving the greater good?
Just highlighted in the news via DrugFree.org are recent overdose incidents in Colorado involving teens who ingested marijuana-laced edibles. There have already been two deaths and numerous emergency room admissions in 2014. A college student is reported to have consumed part of a marijuana cookie last month. After feeling no initial effect, he ate the rest of the cookie and is reported to have then jumped from a balcony to his death.
Childrens Colorado Hospital is reported to have seen a total of eight cases of marijuana intoxication in 2013. They have seen eight more cases already just this year with six of the children being admitted to critical care.
This is referred to as “the tip of the iceberg”. Common sense, fairness, logic, and safety are inconvenient obstacles for those that aspire to profit from selling drugs to people in America. Perhaps we should be just as critical of the alcohol manufacturers & distributors. The cigarette industry was rightfully castigated for selling a product that has killed millions of people. Are more drugs the answer? With addiction a deadly, ever-present cancer on society, how long do we remain complacent while a minority seek to profit off of drug users, the young, and the naive?
Aside from unclogging the courts, where will the widespread legalization of marijuana lead our communities? It’s a serious question with no clear answer yet in view. The larger issue at stake is how do we, as a society, advance opportunity for the millions of currently unemployed and the youth that will soon be entering the job market. How do you, as a parent, keep your child safe and provide him/her the best opportunity to succeed in life? Will more kids smoking pot, getting high, and ditching school interfere with their ability to compete in the job market? The reality is that drug use leads to drug abuse, and drug abuse leads to problems, failures, chronic irresponsibility and catastrophic losses. It’s not hyperbole, it’s the facts.
Children, teens, and young adults experience debilitating setbacks when drugs enter their lives. The stakes are very high. With Colorado already seeing tragedies from the increased accessibility of pot, what now?
The marijuana legalization issue is but a slice of America’s larger ongoing drug problem. Making drugs more readily available with cute names and colorful packaging will not help America’s dilemma with addiction. Yes, it’s complicated. But, it may be time to take a stand.