We understand that the jails are full in some countries, that drug addiction is a disease that is not always best treated in prisons, and that it often seems that governments are losing the war against drugs. Some police officers have suggested that there are more effective ways to stop drug abuse than law enforcement.
That said, it’s one thing to decriminalize a self-destructive habit, it’s quite another to promote it.
It’s not only mutated “skunk weed” that is harmful to health. Any drug can have side effects, and “old school” marijuana is no exception. Not only is marijuana addictive, it stops the brain from functioning normally. It can also cause motor accidents.
Of course, legal drugs can also cause trouble.
In the old days, especially during prohibition (but also where temperance was observed), alcohol was prescribed where it wasn’t needed. Some used “medical” alcohol as an excuse to get around the law, or around religious restrictions. But others were becoming alcoholics without their knowledge. Teetotalers, who didn’t recognize the taste of alcohol, were especially susceptible to abuse.
King James I of England knew that tobacco was harmful, but many scorned early warnings of tobacco misuse. Tobacco was once openly smoked by doctors. Before Nixon’s Surgeon General told the world how harmful tobacco was, cigarette brands were openly advertised on the airwaves, almost as if they were health products. Now, it seems that tobacco smoke can cause the brain to shrink and impairs thinking, and not even the tobacco industry wants to contradict that.
Many over the counter and prescription medicines become abused. You may know someone who has an addiction to Valium, or heard of a celebrity who overdosed on sleeping pills. Even when we understand a medicine, it can be lethal. Many have suggested that abuse and misuse of medicine causes more deaths than illegal drugs do.
But, even if there are more deaths from prescription drugs than illegal drugs, (and we’re not saying that there are), it would be because there are more users. Swimming pools kill more people than grenades, but that doesn’t mean that grenades are safe.
If marijuana does have medicinal uses, these should be quantified, and medicine should be administered by a skilled doctor. We should not rely on anecdotal wishful thinking and the oddball academic “study”, but we should hold marijuana to the same scrutiny that we do any other so-called wonder drugs.