Why to Give Cannabis a NO Vote
1 Cannabis is an Addictive Drug
In the DSM 5, the diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals, Cannabis Use Disorder is a new diagnosis, since legalization in just a few states makes the drug widely available across our nation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 25-50% of daily marijuana users will become addicted, 17% of teens who use will become addicts, and 9.1% of users will become dependent (these stats are from the 1990’s and today could be much higher due to much higher THC levels). Cannabis legal states are seeing skyrocketing addiction problems and it could be because there are more daily users now.
Documentary filmmaker Jody Belsher, The Other Side of Cannabis – The Risks and Harms of Marijuana to our Youth says, “the notion that marijuana is safe and natural, combined with the lack of education about risk and today’s increase in potency is creating a perfect storm for a national health epidemic. The collateral damage will be huge.”
2 Use of a Drug for Recreation is Self-Destructive
Are there other drugs that people use recreationally with wild abandon? No. There is a reason for this. Drugs have a powerful effect on the human person. Even cough syrup if used for recreation can cause permanent injury. Imagine if people started using chemotherapy recreationally! Because of cannabis’ powerful effects on the brain, it clouds judgement. For example, statistics out of Colorado and studies conducted by the state show that users think they are not impaired while driving high.
A survey by the Colorado Department of Transportation showed disturbing trends in the adult population of Colorado. The survey revealed that 57% of people who reported using marijuana drove within two hours after consumption. Participants who reported consuming and then driving said they did so on 11.7 days a month. By comparison, 38% of respondents who drank alcoholic beverages reported driving within two hours of consumption. They did it on 2.8 days a month.
The drug’s proponents are so willing to conflate medical and recreational cannabis simply because medical use is the nose of the camel. Their ultimate goal is full recreational enjoyment or the right to get ‘high,’ the entire stinking camel inside the tent.
3 Teens and Young Adults are the Target Market
Youth and their innocence and lack of experience are the perfect seeding ground for the lies of the legalizers. “It’s not addictive” is the lie drug dealers have been telling since the 1960’s. Young people, with their lack of responsibility and free time easily can make drug use a priority. Whereas, adults who work and need to meet financial obligations less likely to indulge. The human brain doesn’t stop developing until age 25. The developing brain is most vulnerable to the damage that brain-changing drugs wreak. So, the marketing objectives of this industry are diametrically opposed to public safety.
4 Mental Health Impacts are Quite Serious
Cannabis doesn’t just cause euphoria. It also triggers mood disorders: depression, anxiety, paranoia, agitation, anger. In the most serious cases, it can lead to suicide. Please visit MomsStrong.org, a website put up by two mothers who lost their sons to cannabis related suicide. Cannabis can also result in psychosis, which can cause someone to hallucinate and act out violently toward self or others. Amongst heavy users, the psychosis leads to permanent schizophrenia. In one long term study of first incident psychosis cases, 46 % of cannabis users subsequently received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. In the cases involving alcohol, only 5% of the time ended in schizophrenia. This contradicts another lie, that marijuana is safer than alcohol.
5 Detrimental Environmental Impacts
In California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana (1996) rivers are drying up, wildlife is being poisoned by toxic pesticides and armed men guarding illegal grow sites are all over the national forests, making it unsafe to traverse the wilderness on a hike or camping trip. Silent Poison, a report by Calaveras County documents this ecological nightmare.
6 Community Degradation
U.S. states that have legalized the drug for medical or recreational use are seeing a rise in homelessness, crime, home invasions, DUID auto crashes/fatalities, and illegal drug cartel activity. It is difficult to rent a hotel room or ride in an Uber that doesn’t have the pungent odor of marijuana. City dwellers and those who live in multi-unit buildings can’t escape the smell, either. Apartment building owners are told that if someone has a medical marijuana card they must be allowed to smoke on their property. Restaurants and smoothie bars are starting to infuse THC and CBD into food and drinks, and can result in accidental intoxication to an unsuspecting patron. Even the neighborhood pot luck can be hazardous, when a fun loving drug user thinks it cool to bring pot brownies to the event. Schools are flooded with all forms of the drug: edibles, THC laced sodas, vape pens, and smoked marijuana. Students are definitely being persuaded by the political debate that marijuana is safe, harmless and their perceived risk of danger is lessened.
Economically depressed communities are easy prey for this industry’s promises of economic salvation. Read about how the small town of Pueblo, Colorado is now worse off because of marijuana taking over the town, Pueblo, Colorado a Cautionary Tale. The former ‘most desirable place to live’ is overrun with crime, cartels and homeless and the medical and social services are taxed to the breaking point.
7 Accidental Poisonings
In Washington state there were 378 cases of toxic exposure to marijuana, 82 of the calls to Poison Control concerned tiny children, age 5 and under, who ingested marijuana. The state made an attempt to outlaw marijuana laced treats like gummy bears but backed down due to stiff resistance from the industry. See report by Parents Opposed to Pot on Washington State Pot Poisonings. The same is happening in all states with liberal cannabis policies. A new illness, Cannabis Hyperemesis is being seen daily in emergency rooms. The sufferer is experiencing out of control nausea and vomiting. One doctor coined the name “Scromiting” because it is often accompanied by screaming.
8- Industry Anarchy and Irresponsibility
The marijuana industry won’t tolerate any restrictions on potency, or type of products. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, these cannabis products do not offer any guidance on dosing, contraindications and side effects. Instead of licensed pharmacists, dispensaries are staffed by young drug users called ‘budtenders.’ These young addicts have no medical background or qualifications. The marijuana industry lobbyists even want the industry to have the right to hire ex-drug offenders and demand that the government offer cannabis smoking lounges at taxpayer expense. Tests of California medical marijuana found dangerous levels of mold, fungus and pesticides, yet the state allowed them to sell out their inventory before having to comply with stricter standards. California and Colorado currently export marijuana illegally all across the country. One group of concerned doctors called Colorado dispensaries and found that 70% of them were recommending cannabis to pregnant women for morning sickness. Doula Pamela McColl explains in this blog why pregnant women should not use marijuana.
9- Hash Oil Explosions and Home Grows
To property owners and landlords, the risk of property damage from homemade butane hash oil is a new concern. Please read my opinion piece which ran in the Washington Post, Dope is the Bomb. Home grows means drug trafficking and home based drug dealers right in your neighborhood. They mean more access for teens, more child poisonings. Home grows create noxious fumes and can attract home invasions. Some home growers have even been murdered for their stash.
10- Normalizing Drug Use is Abnormal
People are not choosing one intoxicating substance over another. They are using all of the above. Poly-substance abuse is now the norm in states that have legalized cannabis. Pueblo, Colorado now has a methamphetamine and heroin problem, in addition to cannabis abuse. It is wrong to deceive the public on so many points about cannabis and to sucker a whole generation into drug abuse as a lifestyle.
When I envision the kind of world we want to live in, mass substance abuse and it’s predictable fallout is not in the picture.
Please see these resources for more information:
CBD Oil-What No One is Telling You -Healthy Home Economist Blog
Kimberly Hartke blogs about health and wellness.