MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES: Pot advocates are blowing smoke — defeat them with the facts!


The legalization of marijuana (pot) for recreational use in the United States has been hotly debated since well before the sex, drugs, and rock & roll days of Woodstock in 1969. Recently, pro-legalization forces won two battles: recreational use of marijuana POTnowas legalized in Colorado and Washington.  More states are likely to follow.  Why is this happening?  Because pot proponents are allowed to offer opinions (that is, blow smoke) without being opposed effectively by the facts. Some pro-legalization activists, such as the NAACP and the ACLU, view marijuana legalization as a civil rights issue.  Other pro-pot activists, such as Students for Sensible Drug Policy, fight for “the rights of individuals to make decisions about their own health.”  For parents, teachers, police officers, and others to defeat the legalization of marijuana in the United States, pro-pot arguments need to be consistently countered with facts, including:

1. Marijuana is NOT harmless.  The American Medical Association, American Academy of PediatricsAmerican Lung Association and  Surgeon General are all against marijuana legalization, citing such health risks as depression and schizophrenia; lung disease; heart disease; cancer; short term memory loss; poor learning; and behavior problems.

2. Legalizing Marijuana will INCREASE crime. Legalizing marijuana will increase its use, and 9% of pot smokers become addicted to it. Addicts commit most of the crime in America.  Almost all child abuse and domestic violence is done by people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

3. The government IS NOT putting large numbers of people in jail for marijuana use. There are very few people in state or Federal prison for marijuana-related crimes. One tenth of one percent of state prisoners are marijuana possession offenders with no prior sentences.

Activists will target your state soon in their bid to expand marijuana legalization. Arm yourself with the facts and fight against legalization!


7 Responses to “MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES: Pot advocates are blowing smoke — defeat them with the facts!”

  1. roshinigeorge Says:

    Timely post! The questions I have had as I listen to the debate is the damage that is done with making pot illegal because of the black market and illegal pot distribution that then means no regulation in terms of quality or substance abuse. Also, one can make the same arguments for alcohol or tobacco consumption but the law steps in when it comes to effecting other people (drunk driving or second hand smoke) but people have the right to manage their own health within limits…the question is, where do we draw the line as a society and as a public health community. What were the repercussions of the prohibition era in terms of reducing alcohol consumption and improving public health? Is pot a similar situation or is it different because it is worse for our health? Also, on the issue of increased crime, as 9% of crimes are committed by those under the influence of alcohol/ drugs, does legalizing pot increase its use by criminals or do criminals find ways to access these drugs whether they are legal or not? It would be interesting to see if removing alcohol prohibition increased the number of crimes committed because of alcohol consumption.
    Many sides to this debate. Thanks for raising the topic.

  2. bhuangjhsph Says:

    This is an interesting topic. I remember they tried to legalize marijuana in California a few years ago but the bill did not pass. I think it is very important for voters to understand the true risks and harms of marijuana. Unfortunately, this is challenged by the glamorization of marijuana by activists and pop culture. I agree that we should be more active in promoting the true facts of marijuana use.

    I was wondering if your group came across this in your research: The Colorado state government released a new set of commercials that acknowledge the legalization of marijuana, but remind citizens that driving under its influence is still illegal. I think they’re pretty humorous and memorable, which should hopefully prevent people from driving while high.

  3. sjackofsky Says:

    I am actually surprised that I did not think of this topic for my group blog.

    My mother in law has Multiple Sclerosis and she uses marijuana, because it helps her with her daily aches and pains related to her condition. When I first met her and found this out I was outraged and appalled that my husband and his father did not condone this action. But, my husband made me realize that I was not the one living with this disease. I am not the one who has the leg pains and the constant spasms in the arms. So, why should I judge her.

    I think we should all learn a lesson from that. Who are we to judge other people. Is it wrong that my friend who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer and used marijuana to help with the nausea?

    I think it is society who is wrong here. Unless, we can live a day in their shoes why should we tell someone what they should and shouldn’t use to help with the pain.

  4. Ray Sensing Says:

    I think the law is much worse than the plant.People have smoked it for thousands of years and not one case of a overdose death was noted.However someone dies every 19 minutes from a perscription drug. I bet big pharma is funding this site.

  5. kygahagan Says:

    Heavily debated topic. Glad someone decided to address this. While you undoubtedly make a great argument for anti-marijuana legislation, the argument is simply not as black and white as it is often made out to be. To say crime will increase as a result of marijuana legislation seems a bit premature. I have heard from the perspective of law enforcement officers that legalization has potential to reduce crime rates. The argument is that you will feel less compelled to associate yourself with the violence that can stem from drug deals, and instead, opt to visit a licensed dispensary instead. It should be noted that each of the points above can be countered with an argument. When you have medical organizations such as those listed above against legalization, and some for legalization, it makes it easy to be on the fence about such issue. There is inconsistency in opinions among members of the medical and public health community that makes it difficult to see this debate in black or white. Most notably CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, recently was thrown in the national spotlight for issuing a public apology regarding his former opinion on weed. After an in-depth documentary weighing both risks and rewards, Dr. Gupta retracted his original belief that marijuana does more harm than good. I really enjoy discussions relating to this topic because there are many loopholes that need to be addressed in order to take a stance on the issue.

  6. rachellcurrie Says:

    Thanks for arguing this side. It is very interesting that another group in the class posted the opposite view on the topic, certainly a worthwhile debate!

    I do not think there is enough data presented for the argument that crime will increase with the legalization of marijuana. It will be interesting to see the data as it accumulates in Washington and Colorado, and it is imperative going forward that we track crimes committed during marijuana use to determine if its legalization is contributing to other crimes.

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the behavioral side effects seem to be increased work absences and tardiness. I think decreased motivation and activity level are also problems. These problems do not a criminal make, so I don’t think we can conclude that increased marijuana use in the general public will increase crime.

    The points that addicts commit most crimes, including child abuse and domestic violence, are not specific to marijuana use alone, so those problems might be driven by the use of other drugs.

  7. Says:

    MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES: Pot advocates are blowing smoke – defeat them with the facts! | SBFPHC Policy Advocacy

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