Jan 2018

Normalizing Addiction

By: Matthew Issent

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 prohibits marijuana, making it a Schedule 1 drug. Making marijuana listed along side the most dangerous drugs in our communities, along with heroin and other hard, addictive drugs. marijuana is prohibited with good reason.

Substance abuse in the US is a very serious issue, and marijuana legalization would only make it worse. Legalization would remove the stigma from use. This could lead users to use more often. Following legalization in Colorado, marijuana use increased in young adults aged 18 to 26 and adults 26 and older.

MarijuanaContrary to popular narrative, marijuana is actually addictive. Treatment specialists all over the US treat marijuana addiction every day.

Marijuana is often compared to alcohol. Proponents of legalization even go so far as to say marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol. Marijuana, unlike alcohol, is unsafe for recreational use at any amount. THC levels used to be 3 percent in marijuana decades ago. These days, testing shows average THC percentages in the drug is 9 percent, but some samples have tested as high as 25 percent, in significant variations. Use of the drug impairs the ability of the lungs to produce T cells and fight off infections.

The effects of Marijuana use on short term memory are undeniable. In study after study, researchers have found that short-term memory is impacted by even occasional use of marijuana. Those who use at a young age are more likely to experience memory loss. One study showed the loss of, on average, 8 IQ points as a result of use.

In the event of legalization, police would be tasked to regulate possession and use. Even under legalization, driving while intoxicated would be prohibited. There’s no way to quantify degree of impairment. With alcohol, law enforcement can measure BAC and react accordingly to any intoxicated individuals they encounter. No such measurement is possible with marijuana.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASupporters of legalization often point to Amsterdam as an example of marijuana legalization being a success. In recent months, politicians from three different parties have all agreed on the need to restrict access to the drug. Coffee shops in the city are being closed to restrict access to the drug. Robberies, assaults, and other crimes happen at higher rates around the shops.

On January 4th, 2018, media outlets reported that United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions would rescind the 2013 justice department rules that allow individual states to legalize marijuana in spite of federal law that prohibits the drug. AG Sessions, like political leaders all over the world, recognize the dangers associated with legalization.

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