Skip to comments.Legalizing Marijuana is a Terrible Idea
Posted on 11/05/2017 3:15:14 PM PST by Antoninus
It seems that many states, my home state of New Jersey included, are hell-bent on legalizing recreational use of cannabis. The arguments in favor of this, though loud and dominant in the media, are not particularly convincing.
Most of the advocates tout the desire to legalize the drug so that the state can raise additional tax revenue off of the sales. Enhancing the ability of an over-bearing confiscatory high-tax state like New Jersey to extract even more revenue from its citizens is never going to be a compelling argument for me.
Slightly better is the argument that legalizing the drug will result in fewer individuals in prison for usage. While I agree that we have far too many individuals in jail for such petty crimes, full-scale legalization of recreational usage seems like an over-reaction to a problem which may be fixed by simply reducing the penalties involved.
But the absolute worst argument in favor of legalization is that cannabis is harmless or somehow beneficial to users. You will find these types of claims all over websites which market marijuana-related products, and they are absolutely false and extremely dangerous. If there are any mild benefits for a healthy person using cannabis, they are far outweighed by the negatives. Sadly, the proponents of marijuana usage will often laugh off any suggestion that using their drug of choice can do harm as a return to "Reefer Madness," a supposedly comical early 20th century belief that using cannabis can cause you to go crazy.
The sad facts are these: the more research that's done, the more science has realized that cannabis usage for healthy people is detrimental, both on a personal neuro-cognitive level, and on a societal level. It is particularly bad for youth as the impact of the active ingredient in cannabis--tetrahydrocannabinol or TCH--on the developing brain can be profound and long-lasting. Here is a list of articles detailing some of these findings. I would encourage anyone interested in this issue to at least skim over these studies:
Cannabis as a Neuro-Toxin:
Does Cannabis Cause Lasting Brain Damage? (2012)
"Recent studies using high-resolution imaging techniques, combined with more robust delineations of specific brain regions in very heavy cannabis users, have revealed evidence of dose-related alterations, mostly in the hippocampal and parahippocampal regions."
Is Cannabis Neurotoxic for the Healthy Brain? (2013)
"Our results suggest that in the healthy brain, chronic and long-term cannabis exposure may exert significant effects in brain areas enriched with cannabinoid receptors, such as the hippocampus, which could be related to a neurotoxic action."
Long-term Effects of Marijuana Use on the Brain (2014)
"Our findings of negative correlations between connectivity indexes and measures of marijuana use suggest a cumulative deleterious effect of marijuana on OFC (orbitofrontal cortex of the brain) connectivity."
Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Midlife (2012)
"Persistent cannabis use was associated with neuropsychological decline broadly across domains of functioning, even after controlling for years of education. Informants also reported noticing more cognitive problems for persistent cannabis users."
Impact of Cannabis on Memory
Effects of Cannabis on Memory and Cognitive Function
"Cannabinoids appear to disrupt short-term memory by interfering with the filtering of information, such that a greater volume of information reaches consciousness, overwhelming the ability to store, or prioritise such information for storage in memory."
The Chronic Effects of of Cannabis on Memory in Humans: A Review (2008)
"Sufficient evidence has accumulated from recent studies of cannabis users in the unintoxicated state to conclude that long-term heavy cannabis use is associated with impaired memory function."
Study Shows Memory Loss Due to Cannabis Related Harm to Mitochondria (2016)
"Acute cannabinoid intoxication induces amnesia in humans and animals, and the activation of type-1 cannabinoid receptors present at brain mitochondria membranes (mtCB1) can directly alter mitochondrial energetic activity."
Even pro-cannabis sites admit that the substance impacts memory in a negative way...
9 Ways to Prevent Cannabis-induced Memory Loss
Impact of Cannabis on Executive Function
(Note: Executive function is the set of mental skills that govern time management, attention, planning and the ability to cope with multiple tasks at the same time.)
Cannabis Use Before age 15 and Subsequent Executive Functioning (2011)
"The results suggest that chronic cannabis users process complex information more slowly and performance worsens in cognitive overload tasks as lifetime consumption increases."
Executive Function Deficits in Short Term Abstinent Cannabis Users (2008)
"The cannabis users, compared to both control groups, had deficits on verbal fluency, visual recognition, delayed visual recall, and short- and long-interval prospective memory....These findings suggest that cannabis use leads to impaired executive function."
Cannabis and Cognition: Short- and Long Term Effects (2011)
"A range of cognitive functions, encompassing attentional, memory and executive and inhibitory processes, are impaired both during the acute intoxication period and following long-term use of cannabis."
Impact of Cannabis Usage on the Developing Brain
Cannabis and Neurodevelopment: Implications for Psychiatric Disorders (2006)
"The effect of cannabinoids in the adolescent suggest long-term deleterious outcomes in cognition, depressive symptoms, schizophrenia and substance use disorders."
Effects of Cannabis on the Adolescent Brain (2014)
"Teens who engage in heavy marijuana use often show disadvantages in neurocognitive performance, macrostructural and microstructural brain development, and alterations in brain functioning."
Cannabis and Adolescent Brain Development (2014)
"Accumulating evidence from both animal and human studies suggests that regular heavy use during this period is associated with more severe and persistent negative outcomes than use during adulthood, suggesting that the adolescent brain may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cannabis exposure."
Adverse Effects of Cannabis on Adolescent Brain Development (2016)
"These data provide compelling longitudinal evidence suggesting that repeated exposure to cannabis during adolescence may have detrimental effects on brain resting functional connectivity, intelligence, and cognitive function."
Societal Impact of Cannabis Legalization
While the above articles are mostly from scholarly journals, here are some news stories on the impact of cannabis legalization is having on society, largely from mainstream media sources that are otherwise favorable toward legalization:
Vagrants Overrun Colorado Town. Residents Cite Legalized Marijuana as Reason. (2017)
Pot Fuels a Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths. (2014)
Traffic Fatalities Linked to Marijuana are Up Sharply in Colorado. (2017)
Legalized Pot Sends More Teens to the ER in Colorado. (2017)
Is Colorado's Homeless Surge Tied to Legalized Marijuana? (2017)
Colorado Drug Overdoses Up in Almost Every County and Ahead of National Average (2016)
Survey: Colorado Stands Out for Consuming Drugs, Alcohol (2016)
Marijuana-related Fatal Car Accidents Surge in Washington State after Legalization (2016)
Fatal Road Crashes Involving Marijuana Double after State Legalizes Drug (2016)
How Big is Colorado's Drug Problem? (2017)
The message here is that even if voters and state legislatures are stupid enough to legalize this substance, if you care about the health of your brain, you would do well to avoid smoking weed. Fears of "reefer madness" may be overblown, but the conventional wisdom regarding the degraded behavior and reduced prospects of "pot heads" is pretty much on the money.
And let's not forget the ulterior motives of politicians and businesses who are looking to reap the benefits of legalization. Do they really care about the health and safety of the people they supposedly serve? Or are they simply looking for a way to make society more docile, stupid and ultimately easier to rule, while raking in big money? On this question, history is instructive:
A Disgraceful Little War -- The Opium War and Commissioner Lin
Might as well argue the merits of alcohol legalization.That horse left the barn a few years ago.
The same government that conditions tobacco is counting on cannibas for new revenues.
And citizens that are easier to control.
I call for legalization for the same reason we ended Prohibition; because it was an abject failure that resulted mainly in increasing the power of the government.
Conditions = condemns
Thank GOD for GOVERNMENT because LORD KNOWS I just can't deal with these things myself.
George Soros will be happy.
Heroin should be legal and available to everyone. People have a right to decide for themselves, right?????
So New Jersey will get legal weed but they won’t let you legally buy a slingshot. Hey man, that makes sense, man.
Colorado is in for BIG trouble.
Better that MJ be exposed to the white light.
It is addictive and wastes good minds.
This thread is very revealing—about the posters.
There is money to be madne by the state.
Ergo, pot will be legalized.
No matter how terrible weed is, it pales to insignificance when compared to the evils of the “war on drugs” and the cost it has levied on our constitutional rights.
We can start with asset forfeiture....whether you are guilty or not, you property and your money can be seized for the slightest of reasons....and you must bear the legal cost of getting it back.
Then there are no knock raids at the wrong address. The increased cost of drugs which makes selling them profitable and increases the money pool available to corrupt government officials.
The war on drugs is the greatest evil ever foisted on the American people.
Yep follow the money. Up to 45% tax in some areas of California.
If a few lives are ruined along the way, no big deal to the political.
Criminalizing it is worse!
I shall self report to the re-education camp immediately.
Chump change. Lars Larson ran Oregon’s numbers. I believe he said it amounted to someone making $70K a year getting a $50 bonus.
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