Comments 1

  1. Hi Christian,
    As a Dordt graduate and a Denver native, I feel obligated to address your points. Though I no longer use marijuana, I believe most of the stigma is in the illicit nature of the substance. Before your points you reference the scantily clad women and use of music to appeal to marijuana users. I understand that you may be referencing something like the back of Westword Magazine, but the truth is that there are a great deal of more reputable companies that have a professional, medical brand, even in the advent of recreational legalization. Companies like “Patient’s Choice” for example, exhibit a brand that could easily be presented in a medical journal. Additionally, other industries are always appealing to sex and music for a product that has nothing to do with sex and music. Perhaps you have seen a Carl’s Jr/Hardees commercial. Should we ban burgers as well?

    To your points.
    One. The claims of medical marijuana benefits are not so much largely overblown as they are largely unknown. Since marijuana is illegal, medical researchers have not unlocked the potential of THC and THC based products. While anti-marijuana advocates want to deny stories like Heather Jackson’s (See IAT’s latest article), there are also “stoners” that rave about how marijuana saves them from stress. Both ends are guilty of taking the ambiguity of the medicinal value and making ungrounded assumptions.

    Two. Yes, marijuana can be addictive. What else is addictive? Electronics, social media, video games, Netflix, fast food, etc are all just as addictive as marijuana. Alcohol can be addictive as well. Does this mean I shouldn’t be allowed to have a beer with a friend? One important distinction between marijuana and alcohol is how the addictive natures are classified. The type of “addiction” marijuana creates is actually not an addiction, but physical dependence. As you know, Psychology journals usually differentiate between dependence and addiction.

    Three. This is a good point, but might it be that students who participate in anything illegal are prone to be a part of this statistic? I have never heard the argument that marijuana makes someone productive, but I do know exceptional graduate students in my program at the University of Denver who use THC to sleep.

    Four. It is for this reason that Colorado chose to make marijuana illegal to anyone under the age of 21. Even though adolescents will still get their hands on it, the rule makes it more difficult. As with alcohol, there are risks involved with brain development, but the benefits outweigh the risks (apologies if you do not believe alcohol should be legal).

    Five. Of all the people I know that use THC, I do not know anyone old or young with schizophrenia. I recognize that this subjective statement is hardly an argument so I will have to study this further.

    Six. Again, this is a problem. Do you know what leads to more car crashes than marijuana use? Cell phone use. Are we to ban cell phones because our use of them depends on a responsibility that is difficult to monitor? I think not. As police crack down on driving while high, the story will likely turn out like that of an alcohol: A problem, but not a big enough problem to make the substance illegal. Also, alcohol is much more influential in driving patterns than THC is, so I doubt this to be a serious argument against its legalization comparatively speaking.

    Seven. Having lived in Denver, have you ever seen someone (usually a tourist) walk out of the emergency room in the walk of shame? At the expense of someone’s checkbook, the situation is often hilarious to Denver natives. Usually a tourist takes an edible and without feeling immediate effect, takes more. Without experience, marijuana leads to psychosis and episodes of anxiety and panic. I have personally had this happen and I even told my friends I needed a hospital. They laughed at me. When I was able to calm down, I realized that I was fine and never needed an emergency room. The episode was scary but the only thing a hospital visit would have done is take a large sum of money out of my bank account. This is because an adult can not overdose on marijuana, they can only get too high. As for those that have actually killed someone in their psychotic episodes, there is clearly an underlying condition that is about as rare as the mental health conditions that lead some to mass murder. Those episodes are well documented because they are incredibly rare.

    In summary, your points have validity, but they are better framed in the context of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:23, ” I am allowed to do all things, but not all things are beneficial to me.” In a pluralistic society, there will inevitably be things that pertain to the public good that are difficult to accept. With over $36 million dollars of tax revenue going to Colorado schools, I would argue that the benefits are increasingly difficult to overlook.

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