If you tap in to the rhetoric that promotes the medicalization of marijuana or the legalization of recreational use, you’ll see the same complaints repeated endlessly. And that is that marijuana was seriously and wantonly demonized, apparently by terrible people who wanted to keep it out of people’s hands.
It’s unfortunate that someone was misguided enough to produce this movie that contained so many untruths because once it was proven to be largely false, it gave pro-marijuana advocates something they could crow about.
Other early accusations about marijuana was that ethics groups like Mexicans or African-Americans would go insane if they smoked the drug and rise up to slaughter Caucasian families.
To those who want to use these early anti-marijuana propaganda pieces as weapons to show that marijuana should never have been outlawed, I say this: Get over it. They were fifty and sixty years ago.
The right way to judge the drug is by its real life effects. If you’re going to push this drug into American households, it’s only fair that those households have accurate – not completely outdated and misguided – information on the effects of the drug.
I think it’s pretty obvious that if there is more legal marijuana in our towns, either for medical users or for adults who wish to use it recreationally, that there is going to be plenty around for underage citizens as well. Youth have shown that they can get their hands on pills and alcohol when they want so it won’t be any different with pot.
Marijuana abuse hits these individuals harder. Is it because their bodies are not done developing, especially their brains? Is it because they lack sufficient perspective to control their use? I don’t know. I do know that the statistic of teens who start smoking weed and eventually become addicted is 50% higher than it is for adults. That’s according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Here’s one of the most complete compilations of the harm done by this drug. It appears on the Public Broadcasting System site for the show Frontline.
The list includes these points and more:
- Impaired attention, memory and learning, even after quitting use of the drug
- Impaired driving and psychomotor skills, slowed reaction time, altered peripheral vision
- Tendency to forget what a conversation was about before it has ended
- Anxiety, panic attacks or paranoia
- Increase risk of lung cancer
- Disruption of hormones and fertility
- Loss of motivation, poor judgment, high distractibility
So go ahead and toss out the early propaganda. Just don’t ever forget the real harm done to those who use the drug. If you are making this drug out to be so harmless that it should be available to everyone, this harm and more is what you are actually wishing on them.