I probably shouldn’t share this again at “What’s the Diehl?” – prospective clients and employers might stumble upon this blog – but I can’t help it. I support the legalization of marijuana and think you should too.
Why am I disclosing this again now? (I’ve written about the ganja before; see “Just Say No to Listening to the People,” October 12, 2011; “Let’s Par-tay!,” January 9, 2012; or “What I’ve Learned in 50 Years,” March 15, 2012.) It seems like dope is in the news a lot lately.
announced his support of the initiative.
I lived in Lansing from 1983 until 2009, when I officially gave up my downtown apartment and moved in with Anita and the kids in a southern suburb. You couldn’t have collected your signatures a little sooner, Coalition for a Safer Lansing?
Let that sink in for a second. Alexandria was stolen from her parents because they would fire up a joint after she was asleep – not because they abused, neglected or molested her or she was sickly or malnourished but because they smoked grass after she was tucked safely in her crib. And now this beautiful child is a statistic, a manila file, a memory, a photo in a frame on her grieving parents’ mantel.
|Dr. Sanjay Gupta|
If this doesn’t disturb you, you’re an idiot.
Third, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the eminent neurosurgeon and Emmy award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, is hosting “Weed,” a one-hour documentary that premieres this Sunday, August 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET. According to TheWeedBlog.com, Dr. Gupta spent nearly a year traveling around the world to shed light on the marijuana debate. Should be interesting.
All this news about reefer spurred me to pull together some interesting facts that support legalization:
- Pot has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million of us have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use.
- Contrary to popular opinion, young people don't smoke any more pot in states where medical marijuana is legal than in ones where it's not. Legalization advocates argue that the best way to reduce pot use by minors is to legalize and regulate it.
- About 750,000 people are arrested every year for marijuana offenses in the U.S.
- Although pot smoke, like tobacco smoke, contains carcinogens, a 2006 UCLA study concluded that even heavy marijuana use does not lead to lung cancer.
- Pot, unlike alcohol, doesn't generally unleash aggression, so it's much harder to link it to violent crime.
- According to National Institutes of Health research, just nine percent of marijuana users became clinically dependent at some point.
- An Institute of Medicine report found "no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs."
- Study after study has found that pot is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
- Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 750,000 individuals per year – far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
- Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that its medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors.
If weed’s not your thing, that’s cool. I know not everyone’s comfortable altering their state in order to escape, relax or cure what ails ‘em. And pot can be abused just like any drug if one isn’t careful and responsible. The purpose of this post is just to provide readers with food for thought on an unnecessarily contentious issue. To me, it’s a no-brainer: legalize, regulate, tax and raise much-needed revenue while saving the trainloads of money we currently waste on prosecution and punishment.
Let’s do it in memory of Alexandria.
Click here to read, Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2012).
Sources: TheWeedBlog.com, Reason.com, OpposingViews.com, MLive.com, Rolling Stone, NORML.