What will the wholesale legalization of marijuana cost this country in both the short and long term?
As the New Year dawned, 29 American States as well as the district of Columbia began 2017 with some sort of legislation allowing for the use of marijuana. With various decriminalization laws ranging from limited medical access to unrestricted recreational use, advocates in all 50 states are now pushing to repeal criminal penalties for using marijuana.
This new reality leaves those of us with a first hand knowledge and understanding of how marijuana really affects a person's health with an obligation to set the record straight. And while some have naively been fooled into thinking that the media's lack of transparent reporting on this issue, means there is little in the way of credible evidence to refute the calls for legalization, overwhelming evidence does exist, and underscores that the argument has only just begun and not ended as some would have you believe.
Thousands upon thousands of men and women who were formerly marijuana users and are today living examples of how marijuana damages the human body, provide a starkly different picture of what a future with legalized marijuana will really look like. Reduced cognative function, severe memory loss, as well as mental illness are among the list of possible conditions attributed to marijuana use.
Beyond the predictable promises of a bonanza in taxes generated by the sales of marijuana, little seems to be said publicly about how we might expect legalized marijuana to affect American culture. For instance how might unfettered access to marijuana affect road safety. While Anti drink and driving campaigns by local authorities are ubiquitous in many areas, how might a legally obtained substance causing immediate impairment when used properly and as intended impact that effort?
Sadly the rush to be seen aboard the legalization band wagon assigns little time to answering these and the myriad of other public health questions.
The full affects of these sweeping changes will undoubtedly be felt in the years to come, and perhaps even by those who choose themselves to not avail of these new laws.