Friday, 4/20 is the official, unofficial, national pot smoking day... As a former pothead, I’m setting up my Cheetos and a dish of peanut butter for dipping, in honor of stony days long gone by. As a liberal, I have no issue with the plant, particularly when mixed in a well prepared gingersnap cookie. As a red-state mother however, there is no chance in heck that I’d risk my kids by using marijuana.
Sad isn’t it? The biggest risk of smoking pot is going to jail, and maybe losing your family. Can you think of any other behavior for which you could go to jail and lose your family that makes less sense? I mean, one might go to jail if they got drunk and drove through a Wal-Mart, or they might lose their child if they beat them with a frying pan and those punishments make sense to me. But jail for pot? Loss of custody over pot? You can get drunk and pass out on the couch every night and you won’t lose your kid, but if you smoke a joint while they’re at school and a DFS worker finds out, your kid could easily be gone (particularly if you’re black).
And so, I don’t smoke pot because I know that the reality is that the biggest risk of marijuana is the law. In America about 800,000 people per year are arrested for marijuana related crimes. According to a team of 300 economists including 3 Nobel Laureates, marijuana prohibition costs the nation about 7.7 billion dollars in enforcement costs. I find this to be absolutely ridiculous in face of the fact that pot is less physically harmful than cigarettes, chewing tobacco, obesity or alcohol. Unlike these vices, marijuana has never once been found as a cause of death. In fact the CDC doesn’t even have a category for deaths caused by marijuana, whereas nicotine, alcohol and obesity all contribute to massive numbers of deaths nationwide each year.
In fact, we all know that some people smoke pot to get better, not just without concern of dying. Marijuana has been shown to have medicinal effects for a number of diseases, but there is no actual way for the system of medicine that exists in the U.S. today to recognize this unless we reduce it from its current classification as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. This classification prohibits us from putting it through vigorous FDA testing to determine the validity of medical use claims, or the proper way to use marijuana so that it can best treat the ailments it most likely has the ability affect. Without this knowledge it is impossible to expect that it not be misused by those who may or may not have medical ailments. Until it is reclassified, and put through that testing by the FDA so that doctors can knowledgeably prescribe it, this pot loving gal doesn’t support the current medical marijuana movement.
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