Monday, June 24, 2024

Negative Health Effects Of Marijuana Shouldn’t Deter Federal Legalization

Old Uncle Sam is perfectly okay with letting the people make their own choices regarding alcohol and tobacco, so what is such a big deal about allowing them to make that choice with weed?

Naysayers of the nug — those who, despite all the positive noise surrounding marijuana in the United States — are really bearing down on the argument that the nation shouldn’t legalize it because of the potential health consequences.

A recent article published in the National Review goes for the jugular of the cannabis scene, suggesting that medical marijuana is a scam; weed gives people cancer; it can be deadly, and it doesn’t — or it hasn’t yet — snuffed out the black market. So, wouldn’t we be better off to discourage legalization and lock away pot offenders?

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Photo by vladans/Getty Images

Although there is some evidence that smoking marijuana isn’t much different from smoking cigarettes in terms of cancer risk, this alone shouldn’t deter federal legalization. Tobacco use is declining across the nation, mostly because people are starting to realize that it isn’t the healthiest of activities. Still, smokers don’t, nor have they ever needed the federal government to uphold prohibition to inspire them to make smarter decisions.

This is America, after all, a country based on one’s ability to make choices regardless of the potential hazards. That’s why 16 million Americans are living with some kind of disease brought on by smoking, while 500,000 of them are dying from these maladies every single year, according to statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

RELATED: Are High State Marijuana Taxes Really The Cause Of The Tenacious Black Market?

The same goes for alcohol, arguably America’s favorite drug of choice. How could it not be? It’s a social lubricant that makes the reserved more outgoing; it makes the less attractive more appealing. In the case of responsible use, it can be moderated throughout the day at backyard BBQs and other social events without getting a person completely and utterly obliterated. Nevertheless, it isn’t a healthy drink. Alcohol is responsible for at least 100-thousand deaths in this country every year, some of which are cancer-related. However, try to ban it again, and you’ll see a violent backlash that makes the Capitol Hill riots look like a Bob Ross painting. 

Old Uncle Sam is perfectly okay with letting the people make their own choices regarding alcohol and tobacco, so what is such a big deal about allowing them to make that choice with weed?

RELATED: What Is Preventing Cannabis Legalization In The US?

Cannabis advocates like to argue against the validity of research that finds potential health risks associated with marijuana and will cry out for someone, anyone, to look at the evidence of its potential health benefits. They want people to know about the mostly anecdotal evidence showing how marijuana may treat PTSD, curb the opioid crisis, and any other number of the findings of the week. If Congress would just legalize it, some advocates would argue, the United States might even experience a significant drop in cancer rates, too. So far, there is no evidence that cannabis is a miracle drug. Still, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be looking to legalize it.  

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Photo by Matt Moloney via Unsplash

Regardless of which side you stand on this issue, none of what is mentioned above should matter in the grand scheme of federal marijuana legalization. Right now, around 20 states have legalized for adults 21 and older. But conflicting marijuana laws have created more problems, like the existence of a domestically-driven black market.

Congress should be looking at legal weed now more than ever, as these clashing laws surrounding marijuana aren’t doing the country any justice. As long as there are prohibition laws, law-abiding citizens will continue to go to jail and get jammed up in the criminal justice system — one that should be focusing on real criminals with actual victims.

Legalizing marijuana nationwide would protect responsible users in legal states while allowing law enforcement to crack the skulls of criminals who go against the grain of the system, just like they do with alcohol. It shouldn’t matter that marijuana might cause some users to have health issues, only that continued prohibition causes problems for everyone.


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