Ten Reasons Why Marijuana Should Not Be Legalized!
1. Marijuana legalization will usher in America’s new version of “Big Tobacco.”
- Already, private holding groups and financiers have raised millions of start-up dollars to promote businesses that will sell marijuana and marijuana-related merchandise.
- Marijuana food and candy, with names such as “Ring Pots” and “Pot Tarts,” are being marketed to children and are already responsible for a growing number of marijuana-related ER visits. [i]
- Marijuana vending machines, containing products such as marijuana brownies and candies, are popping up across the country. [ii]
- The former head of Strategy for Microsoft has said that he wants to “mint more millionaires than Microsoft” with marijuana and that he wants to create the “Starbucks of marijuana.” [iii]
2. Marijuana use will increase under legalization
- Because they are accessible and available, our legal drugs are used far more than our illegal ones. According to recent surveys, alcohol is used by 52% of Americans and tobacco is used by 27% of Americans. Marijuana is used by 8% of Americans. [iv]
- When RAND researchers analyzed California’s 2010 effort to legalize marijuana, they concluded that the price of the drug could plummet and therefore, marijuana consumption could increase. [v]
3. Marijuana is especially harmful to kids and adolescents.
- Marijuana contributes to psychosis and schizophrenia. [vi]
- 1 in 6 kids who try marijuana will become addicted to it. [vii]
- Heavy marijuana use in adolescence leads to an average IQ loss of 8 points later in life. [viii]
- According to data from the 2012 National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse, alcohol and cigarettes were the most readily accessible substances for youth 12 to 17, with 50% and 44% reporting that they could obtain them within a day, respectively. Youth were least likely to report that they could get marijuana within a day; 45% reported that they would be unable to get marijuana at all. [ix]
4. Today’s marijuana is NOT your Woodstock weed.
- In the 1960s and ‘70s, THC levels of smoked marijuana averaged around 1%, increasing to just under 4% in 1983, and almost tripling in the subsequent 30 years to around 11% in 2011. Some marijuana concentrates today contain 95% THC. [x]
5. Marijuana legalization will increase public costs.
- For every $1 we collect in alcohol and tobacco tax revenues, we lose $10 in social costs. [xi]
- Current alcohol-related arrest rates are over three times higher than marijuana arrest rates.[xiii]
6. People are not in prison for small time marijuana use.
- Statistics on state-level prisoners reveal that 0.3% of all state inmates were behind bars for marijuana possession only (with many of them pleading down from more serious crimes). [xiv]
- 99.8% of federal prisoners sentenced for drug offenses were incarcerated for drug trafficking. [xv]
- The risk of arrest for each joint smoked is 1 in 12,000. [xvi]
7. Drug cartels and the black market will continue to thrive under legalization.
- A recent RAND report showed that Mexican drug trafficking groups earn only 15-25% of their revenues from marijuana. For them, the big money is in human trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, piracy, and other illicit drugs. [xvii]
- Under legalization, a black market will still sell tax-free marijuana to adults and youth.
8. Neither Portugal nor Holland provide any successful example of legalization.
- Independent research reveals that in the Netherlands, where marijuana was commercialized and sold openly at “coffee shops,” marijuana use among young adults increased almost 300%. [xviii]
- There are signs that tolerance for marijuana in the Netherlands is receding. They have recently closed hundreds of coffee shops.
- Today Dutch citizens have a higher likelihood of being admitted to marijuana treatment than citizens of nearly all other countries in Europe. [xix]
- In Portugal, drug use levels are mixed, and despite reports to the contrary, they have not legalized drugs. In 2001, Portugal started to refer drug users to three-person “panels of social workers” that recommend treatment or another course of action. As the European Monitoring Center’s findings concluded: “the country does not show specific developments in its drug situation that would clearly distinguish it from other European countries that have a different policy.” [xx]
9. Marijuana has medicinal properties, but we shouldn’t smoke the plant in order to derive those benefits, just like we do not smoke opium to get the benefits of morphine.
- In states with medical marijuana laws, the average medical marijuana user is a male in his 30′s with no terminal illness and a history of drug abuse. [xxi]
- Less than 3% of users have cancer or AIDS. [xxii]
- Residents of states with medical marijuana laws have abuse and dependence rates almost twice as high as states with no such laws. [xxiii]
- Research should be conducted to produce pharmacy-attainable, non-smoked medications based on marijuana.
10. Experience from Colorado is not promising.
- Two independent reports released in August 2013 document how Colorado’s supposedly regulated system is not well regulated at all. [xxiv]
- Currently, the marijuana use rate among Colorado teens is 50% above the national average. Marijuana has been widely available in stores since 2009 (to Coloradans 18+ with a medical card). [xxv]
- Since 2009, drug-related referrals for high school students testing positive for marijuana has increased. [xxvi]
- Medical marijuana is easily diverted to youth.[xxvii]
- While the total number of car crashes declined from 2007 to 2011, the number of fatal car crashes with drivers testing positive for marijuana rose sharply.[xxviii]
[i] Alface, I. (2013, May 27). Children Poisoned by Candy-looking Marijuana Products. Nature World News. Retrieved from owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/; Jaslow, R. (2013, 28 May). Laxer marijuana laws linked to increase in kids’ accidental poisonings CBS News. Retrieved from www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57586408/laxer-marijuana-laws-linked-to-increase-in-kids-accidental-poisonings/
[ii] Gruley, B. (2013, May 9). Medbox: Dawn of the Marijuana Vending Machine. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-09/medbox-dawn-of-the-marijuana-vending-machine
[iii] Ex-Microsoft exec plans ‘Starbucks’ of marijuana. (2013, May 31). United Press International. Retrieved from www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/05/31/VIDEO-Ex-Microsoft-exec-plans-Starbucks-of-marijuana/UPI-41161369985400/
[iv] NSDUH, Summary of National Findings, 2012. Retrieved from www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.pdf
[v] Kilmer, B., Caulkins, J.P., Pacula, R.L., MacCoun, R.J., & Reuter, P.H. Altered State? Assessing How Marijuana Legalization in California Could Influence Marijuana Consumption and Public Budgets. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2010. www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP315
[vi] Andréasson S, et al. (1987). Cannabis and Schizophrenia: A longitudinal study of Swedish conscripts. Lancet, 2(8574).
[vii] Anthony, J.C., Warner, L.A., & Kessler, R.C. (1994). Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experiential and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2.
[viii] Meier, M.H. (2012). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
[ix] Adapted by CESAR from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVII: Teens, 2012. Retrieved from www.casacolumbia.org/upload/2012/20120822teensurvey.pdf
[x] Mehmedic, Z., et al. (2010). Potency Trends of D9-THC and Other Cannabinoids in Confiscated Cannabis Preparations from 1993 to 2008. The Journal of Forensic Sciences, 55(5).
[xi] Updating estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States: Estimates, update methods, and data. Report prepared for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Retrieved from pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/economic-2000/; Urban Institute and Brookings Institution (2012, October 15). State and local alcoholic beverage tax revenue, selected years 1977-2010. Tax Policy Center. Retrieved from www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/ displayafact.cfm?Docid=399; Saul, S. (2008, August 30). Government gets hooked on tobacco tax billions. The New York Times. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/weekinreview/31saul. html?em&_r=0; for Federal estimates, see Urban Institute and Brookings Institution (2012, October 15). State and local tobacco tax revenue, selected years 1977-2010. Tax Policy Center. Retrieved from www. taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=403; Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (n.d.). Toll of tobacco in the United States of America. Retrieved from www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsh
[xii] Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2004). Data collection: Survey of inmates in state correctional facilities (SISCF). Retrieved from http:// www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=275
[xiii] Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2011). Persons arrested. Retrieved from www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/persons-arrested.
[xiv] Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2004). Data collection: Survey of inmates in state correctional facilities (SISCF). Retrieved from http:// www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dcdetail&iid=275
[xvi] Kilmer, B., et al. “Altered State? Assessing How Marijuana Legalization in California Could Influence Marijuana Consumption and Public Budgets”. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2010. www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP315
[xvii] Kilmer, B, Caulkins, J.P, Bond, B.M. & Reuter, P.H. “Reducing Drug Trafficking Revenues and Violence in Mexico: Would Legalizing Marijuana in California Help?” Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2010. www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP325.
[xviii] MacCoun, R. & Reuter, P. (2001). Evaluating Alternate Cannabis Regimes. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 178.
[xix] MacCoun, R. (2010). What can we learn from the Dutch Cannabis Coffeeshop experience? RAND Drug Policy Research Center. Retrieved from www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2010/RAND_WR768.pdf
[xx] European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug and Addiction. (2011). Drug Policy Profiles-Portugal. Retrieved from www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-‐policyprofiles/portugal
[xxi] O’Connell, T.J. & Bou-Matar, C.B. (2007). Long term marijuana users seeking medical cannabis in California (2001–2007): demographics, social characteristics, patterns of cannabis and other drug use of 4117 applicants. Harm Reduction Journal, 4(16).
[xxii] Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. (2011)
[xxiii] Cerda, M., et al. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: Investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 120(1-3).
[xxiv] Colorado Office of the State Auditor. (2013). & City of Denver Office of the Auditor. (2013).
[xxv] NSDUH, Summary of National Findings, 2012. Retrieved from www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.pdf
[xxvi] Rocky Mountain HIDTA. (2013). Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact. Retrieved from www.rmhidta.org/html/FINAL%20Legalization%20of%20MJ%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impact.pdf
[xxvii] Salomonsen-Sautel, S., et al. (2012). Medical marijuana use among adolescents in substance abuse treatment.Journal of American Academic Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51(7).[xxviii] Rocky Mountain HIDTA. (2013). Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact. Retrieved from www.rmhidta.org/html/FINAL%20Legalization%20of%20MJ%20in%20Colorado%20The%20Impact.pdf
*this information was taken from GrassIsNotGreener.com, an initiative of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens, co-founded by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. The initiative is supported by a number of prevention, treatment, and medical groups.
Nothing from June 18, 2019 to July 12, 2019.