Today, April 20, is what marijuana users call 420 day and it is embraced by pot smokers as “weed day” each year. Classy. The origin of the name supposedly goes back to the 1970s when a police code for marijuana use was 420.
For years, there’s been a call to legalize marijuana use and it’s been mentioned in the presidential campaign this year. Ron Paul has advocated decriminalizing it at the federal level. But, there’s plenty of reasons to keep it illegal.
The Prevention Resources & Information on Drug Education company has a informative list of reasons to not legalize marijuana.
1. Marijuana legalization would bring increased marijuana use, especially by children.
– Legalization of any illicit drug increases its availability. Increased availability results in increased use, lower risk of transport, and lower costs of that drug. Children are especially vulnerable to low prices and increased availability of any drug. Many children now think marijuana cannot hurt them because it is “medicine” and because so many of their pop idols use it and promote its use in movies and music.
2. Use and distribution of marijuana is clearly against federal law under the Controlled Substances Act.
– The use and distribution of marijuana is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. Recently, several states’ Attorneys General have warned that people who assist in the distribution of marijuana, including drug dealers, dispensaries, landlords, and even doctors or state employees who help facilitate “recommendations” for marijuana can be vigorously prosecuted as federal laws are enforced. This is true, even if such activities are permitted under state law.
3. Marijuana is a harmful, addictive and dangerous drug.
– Marijuana harms the body and the mind. It contains more cancer-causing ingredients than tobacco, and is especially harmful to the respiratory system. Marijuana makes the heart beat faster, and research has found that marijuana users’ risk for a heart attack is four times higher within the first hour after smoking marijuana. The drug compromises the immune system and lowers the level of white blood cells that fight infection. Marijuana can cause acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks, flashbacks, paranoia, and depression. It can trigger attacks of schizophrenia and bi-polar psychosis.
4. Marijuana is NOT medicine.
– Marijuana is a dangerous, addictive drug that can compromise the human immune system and make sick people sicker. We Americans take our medications many ways, but we don’t smoke them. In states that have allowed marijuana to be declared medicine, many criminal, social, political, and economic problems have been created.
5. Marijuana use has, indeed, caused death.
– The marijuana lobby is not honest when it tells us no one has ever died from marijuana use. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reports consistently list deaths by marijuana overdose in their lists of the top American cities’ drug statistics.
6. Marijuana-related traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths would increase, as they have in “medical” marijuana states.
– One 2008 study found that 1,240 persons were killed in California (the first state to legalize marijuana under the guise of “medicine”) in marijuana-related traffic crashes in the 5 years since marijuana was legalized in that state. In the five years before marijuana was legalized, 631 people were killed in marijuana-related crashes in California – an increase of almost 100%! Intoxicating drugs cause impaired drivers. Also, there is no known test to determine levels of intoxication from marijuana, thus making enforcement of our laws extremely difficult for law enforcement personnel.
7. Crime would increase as it has in “medical” marijuana states.
– Increased crime, including robbery and murder, surround the increased distribution of “medical” marijuana. Pot dispensaries are special magnets for crime. Neighbors often complain of open marijuana sales, vandalism, open pot smoking, public urination and sex acts near marijuana dispensaries. Drugs and money attract crime.
8. Our prisons are not filled with “low level” marijuana users.
– The marijuana users and promoters want us to believe that our jails are filled with prisoners whose only crime has been to smoke marijuana. The truth is, studies have found that less than 1% of prisoners are jailed for simple possession of marijuana. Even then, many of them have pleaded down from other charges, including drug trafficking.
9. Hemp will not save our environment.
– Marijuana hemp is not a “cousin” to illicit marijuana; it is the exact same plant. The only way to tell the difference is to conduct scientific testing on each plant. It is very easy to conceal high-grade, smokeable marijuana in low-THC hemp fields where hemp is legal. No law enforcement agency can afford to test every plant in a field. Hemp can only be profitable if there is abundant cheap labor or where governments subsidize its production. Canada legalized hemp in 1998, and many hemp farmers have gone bankrupt because the market for hemp is so small.
10. Legalizing and then taxing and regulating marijuana would not offset the cost to society associated with increased use.
– Even if marijuana were legalized, taxed and regulated, there would always be an illegal black market to undercut the cost of the drug to the user. With legalization would come increased use, more accidents, more healthcare costs incurred, and a decrease in workplace productivity. Legal alcohol serves as a good example: The $8 billion in tax revenue generated by this widely-used drug does little to offset the nearly $200 billion in social costs attributed to its use in America.