Should Marijuana Be Legalized?
Legal Marijuana is a topic being discussed throughout the world. Edward Forchion, the popular Rastafarian activist who runs a restaurant in Trenton and vocally opposes this version of legal pot. Forchion is a colorful activist better known as NJ Weedman, who has run for Congress and other offices under the Legalize Marijuana banner and spent more than 400 days in jail, mostly on drug-related charges. Others rationalization is that regulation will allow control of the strength of the THC and the decimalization will have a positive social impact. Ten out of fifty states in the US have passed Medical Marijuana Laws and more states will be voting on similar changes. These changes include removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law. These laws are only symbolic at this point because the federal government still has laws forbidding the use, possession and cultivation of Marijuana in the US. The FDA recently approved a purified form of the drug called cannabidiol (CBD). This is one of more than 80 active chemicals in marijuana. If the federal law changes these states are ready, at least as far as the law is concerned to start distributing marijuana.
It has been thought that marijuana use increases the risk of cancers in respiratory system, is linked to leukemia in offspring and is the cause in a decline of cognitive skills especially with adolescents. Most critics – doctors, police and auto safety officials, parents – point to stories and studies that link the drug to suicide, schizophrenia and car crashes.
There are many myths concerning the effects of marijuana. Of all the ones you’ve heard, how many came from a reliable source? Do you REALLY trust what your friend’s uncle says about the subject? Let us explore these myths in greater depth.
Medical Marijuana is addicting.
False! Marijuana is not addicting. Medical studies have shown alcohol, nicotine, and even caffeine to all be more addicting than marijuana. Compare this to the drug OxyContin. Both medicines are used to treat severe pain, but in 2006, 20.4 million Americans illegally used OxyContin. Medical marijuana is a much safer alternative.
Marijuana has a negative effect on health.
There are thousands of deaths each year from various drugs approved by the FDA. Interestingly enough, there are ZERO reported cases where marijuana was listed as the cause of death. Many people fear the smoking of marijuana, relating it to the cancers cause by cigarettes. Keep in mind, smokers will go through twenty or more cigarettes a day, every day. Medicinal levels of marijuana are nowhere near that high.
Even if it doesn’t cause death directly, marijuana weakens your immune system.
This claim is based on a test performed in 1980, stating that white blood cells transformed slower in reaction to threats when exposed to THC. Since then, such results have never been able to be replicated. The FDA has even approved Marinol, a synthetic form of THC, for the treatment of diseases that attack the immune system, such as HIV. The drug, also known as dronabinol, is still being studied today. In May, it was found to help reduce the amount of seizures in people with severe cases of epilepsy (though it also gave them diarrhea.)
There is no medicinal use for marijuana.
Quite the opposite! Marijuana is used medically in California in the treatment of cancer, AIDS, arthritis, migraines, and anorexia. The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control. Studies show it can also be used alongside, or even instead of, current medications for those diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and insomnia. Research is currently being conducted to test its effect on Alzheimer’s disease.
Legal marijuana will be abused/illegally sold.
The idea of banning a medicine because others will abuse it is preposterous. Drugs such as sleeping pills and pain medications are abused daily, yet are sold over-the-counter. Also, if someone is unfortunate enough to have AIDS, and are depending on a medicine to prevent extreme pain, why would they willingly get rid of it?
These are only a few of the common myths about medical marijuana. Film productions like Reefer Madness (1936) presented marijuana as “Public Enemy Number One” and suggested that its consumption could lead to insanity, death, and even homicidal tendencies. Think about all the information you have about weed, and then decide if your sources are really that reliable. The stigma around this medicine is wrong, and needs to be reversed, for the sake of patients who could benefit from it. Learn the facts about marijuana and its medicinal purposes for yourself.
 – FDA, “Statement by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the importance of conducting proper research to prove safe and effective medical uses for the active chemicals in marijuana and its components”, https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm611047.htm
 – FDA, “FDA Responds To Hemp Legalization”, https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressAnnouncements/ucm628988.htm
 – USA Today, “Car crashes, psychosis, suicide: Is the drive to legalize marijuana ignoring major risks?”, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/03/06/marijuana-legalization-risks-critics-downsides-car-crashes-psychosis-schizophrenia-suicide/2915860002/
 – Harvard Health Publishing/Harvard Medical School, “Medical marijuana”, https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/medical-marijuana-2018011513085
 – VICE, Inside the Strange, “Messy Fight to Legalize Weed in New Jersey”, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/evewj7/inside-the-strange-messy-fight-to-legalize-weed-in-new-jersey
 – CATO Institute, “Dose of Reality: The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations”, https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/dose-reality-effect-state-marijuana-legalizations#cite-3
 – NJ Spotlight, “COMPLAINTS AND CONFUSION AS RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA BILL GOES TO FULL SENATE”, https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/18/11/27/amid-complaints-curtailed-comments-and-confusion-recreational-marijuana-bill-goes-to-full-senate/
 – Inverse, “What is Marinol?”, https://www.inverse.com/article/32466-marinol-synthetic-marijuana-dronabinol-thc
“Report: Marijuana on track to be legalized by the end of the year
Informative video By CBS News on Youtube
Inside the Strange, Messy Fight to Legalize Weed in New Jersey
A plan for recreational pot in liberal New Jersey fell apart. It points to the snags that can arise when politicians try to get in the social-justice game.