In the last edition of The Beacon, Richard Sawyer wrote on the pros of legalizing marijuana, his observations are not far off from what I believe. However for the sake of fairness, I do believe both sides of this controversial issue should be evenly represented. Here’s my earnest attempt at that.
A big supporting argument used by “pro-leaferiats” (yeah, I just coined that term) is that “a lot of dangerous drug dealers and the shady sort, will be out of business if we just legalize pot.” However, if we do legalize pot we are going to tax it, maybe a lot, and so the consumer is more likely to buy from the source he or she has always received it from. The buyers will feel safe buying it from their original source with pot now being legal, and at least they won’t have to pay taxes to the dealer.
Another argument going around is that, “Legalizing weed will stop innocent cannabis users from being prosecuted.” In the State of Maine, it isn’t a felony to consume cannabis; you just can’t sell it, or have a particularly large amount of it on you. If you were caught “chiefing” in Maine, it would only be a misdemeanour. Although, it is important that we still take more steps, to further decriminalize the use of weed.
The biggest one I hear is, “Marijuana isn’t harmful, it just makes you feel relaxed.”
Let’s see some of the facts about the negative effects of marijuana usage:
Research shows marijuana may cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. Heavy marijuana users generally report lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, more relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to non-marijuana-using peers. For example, marijuana use is associated with a higher likelihood of dropping out of school. Several studies also associate workers’ marijuana smoking with increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover. – The National Institute on Drug Abuse
Other risks of lighting up are: lower libido, a longer state of being impaired (than being drunk), getting into harder drugs (it is a gateway drug), and its use is up 80% among teens; the list goes on.
Overall I personally take the libertarian standpoint of not hindering someone from doing something, that isn’t adversely affecting others. That is why I think it is important to get informed about subjects such as legalizing marijuana, so that we can make a judgment on whether its going to affect the public for the better or for the worse. However, in order to intelligently say whether or not something is good or bad for the public, we should first decide for ourselves, by exploring all views.
Sources for this article include: The National Institute on Drug Abuse. CBS News Report: Frequent marijuana smoking up 80 percent among teens. And She Knows: The effects of marijuana on sex, by Brie Gatchalian.