Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. Although it is contrary to common belief, marijuana is also addictive. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases to about 17 percent among those who start young and increases to 25-50 percent among those who use marijuana on a daily basis.
In 1970, Proposition 215, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was signed into law which divided substances in 5 Schedules. Schedule I being the most heavily restricted which prohibits any use, medicinal or not. Marijuana landed itself as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin, ecstasy, LSD, etc. It wasn’t until 1996 that the CSA was challenged. California lead the way by passing the Compassionate Use Act that prevents a patient, a patient’s primary caregiver, or a physician from being prosecuted or sanctioned for “the use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.” Proposition 215 sparked a nationwide debate as to whether the rewards outweigh the risks of the decriminalizing and legalization of marijuana. Today that debate continues.
Currently the States of Colorado and Washington have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. In addition, Twenty-two other States and the District of Colombia have laws that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is more public support now than ever before showing that more than half the country is in favor to reform current laws prohibiting the recreational use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana.
With so many supporters for a reform, one must ask “What implications or consequences will be caused if marijuana is legalized across the country?” Firstly, marijuana, like many other substances is a gateway drug that has a strong potential to lead to other dangerous addictions. According to SAMSHA, there are already 23.5 million people in need of treatment for a substance abuse addiction. Currently only 2.6 million or 11.2% of them actually receive the treatment they require. Will legalizing marijuana potentially cause a dangerous spike in the amount of individuals that need substance abuse treatment? Much needed treatment that is already incapable of accommodating current demands.
Secondly, what social impacts will occur if marijuana is legalized and freely marketed ti the public? When we think about the power of marketing and what alcohol and nicotine companies have accomplished through it, we can see how quickly adolescents and other at risk individuals such as recovering addicts will be exposed and persuaded to the recreational use of marijuana. Products that are driven by profit motivation have a profound and powerful effect on consumers. Like mentioned above, this type of persuasion driven by profit motivation can cause many individuals to start an addictive cycle that could have been avoided.
Lastly, what dangerous driving conditions does legalizing marijuana create? THC, the active ingredient in marijuana impairs the users judgment and motor skills. However, multiple studies have been conducted to analyze the effects marijuana has on drivers and the extent of the impairment remains inconclusive. Although the extent of impairment on drivers that have marijuana in their system is moderate compared to alcohol, serious risks and dangers are still present.
Your Voice, Your Opinion
Like previously mentioned, decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana has become a heated debate. Everyone has their own voice and opinion. Zion Recovery Center stands firm in its belief that marijuana is a harmful and addictive substance. Addiction is a progressive disease which means that marijuana will only hasten the destructive cycle of addiction. We believe that real and lasting recovery is achieved by abstaining from all substances. This includes illicit drugs and alcohol to marijuana and nicotine. What do you believe? Do you support the legalization of marijuana? 385-207-2029