I enjoy thought provoking discussions. If you read this and it makes you think, my goal has been met. Contradictory opinions are ALWAYS welcome and I encourage you to let me know why or why not this post resonated with you. I don’t expect everyone to agree, just to be polite and comment in the interest of developing a robust conversation around what is a controversial topic.
As many of you know, marijuana was legalized in Colorado last year.
I don’t use marijuana and am not interested in starting any time soon.
But I voted for it.
Does that mean I think there aren’t people that abuse this drug?
No. I’m not that naive.
In fact I’ve had people in my family, in my immediate family, that abuse marijuana.
Two people that I loved, that should have been the people I could rely on, are no longer part of my life – or are as distanced from me as I can reasonably make them – in part because of their abuse of this drug.
But that wasn’t the drug’s fault. That was their choice. They chose to smoke marijuana constantly until being stoned was their new normal. Do I resent their choices? Absolutely.
But that’s the same with ANY drug, alcohol or even weapons. It’s people – the free will we argue for so vehemently – that choose to be irresponsible.
Marijuana v. Food
Anything can be abused if used too much. Think about the health and societal issues caused by obesity – $147 BILLION dollars of medical costs per year due to obesity. Does that mean we should ban food?
Think about that. Should we ban food because of the huge societal cost incurred by abusers of this substance?
No, that’s ridiculous. Right?
So is banning marijuana from those who can benefit. Some more comparisons to mull over:
- Marijuana has health benefits with few side effects for those that use it responsibly.
- Food also has health benefits with few side effects for those that use it responsibly.
- Marijuana can be abused and negatively affect a person’s ability to function.
- Food can be abused and negatively affect a person’s ability to function.
There are people suffering from ailments that benefit from the use of marijuana. There are children suffering with daily pain whose parents are fighting for the chance to let them see if marijuana will help. Just let us TRY is all they ask.
If this were your child, wouldn’t you want the chance to see if marijuana helped?
I have prescription bottles of Vicodin and Dilaudin in my cabinet right now from the surgery I had in November. There are people that abuse these drugs – no question. People whose ability to function and whose health are negatively affected by abusing these drugs.
Does that mean I shouldn’t be given pain killers after surgery?
Yikes! I hope not.
My point is that we shouldn’t punish the many for the excesses of the few. If there were no positive benefits of marijuana, then sure, keep it illegal. But there are benefits.
Marijuana is a tool that should be available in our arsenal of treatments.
Marijuana and Kids
I want to make it clear that I am not advocating for kids to do drugs. I’m not saying I want my children to think it’s ok to get stoned, but I don’t believe it’s ok for my kids to get drunk, smoke cigarettes, drive recklessly, or chew tobacco either.
These are my kids and I will provide guidance to them about all sorts of choices they will be faced with as they grow. I will provide guidance about marijuana as well, regardless of whether it is legal or not legal.
Just because marijuana is legal in Colorado, or just because it is illegal in your state, does not absolve me or you of our responsibility to talk to our children about marijuana.
The same responsibility I have to talk to them about driving safely, sex, alcohol, how to treat others, valuing themselves, work ethic and financial responsibility among many more life lessons. Laws do not take the place of parenting. They never have and never will.
And please believe me when I say your kids, my kids, OUR kids can get marijuana very easily whether is it legal or not. Marijuana is everywhere.
As many of you know, I’m an engineer. Engineers are some of the most notoriously conservative and least risk taking folks out there. And yet, more than half of my bosses and coworkers smoke marijuana. AND they smoke it frequently enough and are comfortable enough that I know about it. Me, who they are quite aware, does not smoke pot.
That doesn’t even start to account for the friends, acquaintances, neighbors, family members, doctors, lawyers, regular church goers, and teachers that smoke marijuana. It IS available to our kids. Trust me.
What do you think? Should marijuana be banned? Why? Why not?