Marijuana Mythbuster百合丁 02/19 496
Isn’t marijuana safer than alcohol? No. Over 60% of American adults drink alcohol regularly. Only about 10% drink to get drunk. Less than 10% of Americans use marijuana and virtually all use it to get high. However, when marijuana and alcohol or other drugs are used together (cross fading), the impairment from the marijuana is much greater. On-site consumption is allowed in recreational pot outlets and can easily lead to driving under the influence, this is especially true in California because there is no clear legal standard as to what constitutes DUI marijuana.
Isn’t marijuana safer than cigarettes? No. Marijuana smoke has nearly all the same carcinogens as cigarette smoke and is just as addictive. Marijuana smoke has 20 times more ammonia than tobacco smoke and marijuana users typically breathe the smoke deeper. And, marijuana impairs judgment and perception, making driving under the influence very dangerous. Cannabis has immediate adverse effects on cardiovascular and pulmonary function. Work done at UCSF shows that just 1 minute of exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke, like secondhand tobacco smoke, blocks normal functioning of arteries, with the adverse effects of marijuana secondhand smoke lasting much longer than tobacco smoke.
Won’t the black market go away if we legalize marijuana? No. In Colorado about 40% of the marijuana being sold is black market marijuana. Drug cartels don’t go away; they move into other businesses such as heroin and human trafficking. And, California currently produces about 60% of all the marijuana in America, making California the largest “drug cartel”.
Marijuana hasn’t killed anyone. What is the harm? Marijuana is a dangerous, psychoactive, addictive drug that impacts the brain. The marijuana of today is 15-40 times stronger than the marijuana of the 1960’s. The brain isn’t fully developed until about age 25, and marijuana impacts brain development. Alarmingly, the vast majority of marijuana users are young adults and teens. Marijuana use increases the risk of psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, thoughts of suicide. The negative impact on individuals and particularly teens is significant. Many violent psychotic acts have been committed by regular marijuana smokers such as Jared Loughner (shooter of Gabby Giffords, killed 6, injured 13), James Holmes (Colorado theater shooter killed 12 injured 70) and the Tsarnaev brothers (Boston bombers). Children of marijuana users also suffer neglect. And, each day approximately 125 Americans die of an overdose of drugs. Virtually all used, or are still using marijuana when they overdose. Marijuana is a gateway drug.
What has happened in other places that have legalized marijuanabefore us? Teen use has increased. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2013, it now leads the nation in teen use. Traffic fatalities associated with marijuana have doubled in states that have legalized. Homelessness and other social ills have become worse. A previously pot friendly rural California county, Calaveras, has reversed course and banned commercial marijuana farms. The economically struggling county initially embraced legalized marijuana as a way to generate revenue and recover from a devastating 2015 wildfire. The poisons, fertilizers and pesticides used, together with human waste from squatters are killing wildlife and fish seriously, as well as contaminating the soil and leeching into water tables that supply domestic water. It is because the chemicals are toxic and hazardous, the cost to clean up these sites in compliance with OSHA and Forestry standards is estimated to be as much as $2 billion. Sheriff DiBasilio estimated the county has more than 1,000 illegal farms in addition to the 200 licensed farmers and the hundreds more who had their applications pending. The influx dramatically changed the region’s makeup and damaged the environment, which has caused a backlash among residents and led to the ouster of some leaders who approved marijuana cultivation. Because of the lack of state or federal enforcement, the entire burden to protect public safety and the environment has fallen on local governments and law enforcement. They are overwhelmed. Siskiyou and Yuba counties have declared states of emergency.
Isn’t marijuana still classified as a Schedule 1 illegal drug under federal law? Yes. Another example of substances listed in Schedule 1 is heroin. A legitimate licensed doctor cannot prescribe (can only recommend) and FDA isn’t a part of the regulation so there’d be no oversight. Banks cannot accept pot money or fund such businesses. The Obama administration deemphasized enforcement in states that have “medical” marijuana laws or where full legalization has occurred followed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of Obama-era marijuana directive on 1/4/2018. Some federal enforcement continues against cultivation and distribution but it is not consistent. Consequently, we have created a highly inconsistent and lawless marijuana drug industry.