5 Reasons Marijuana Should Remain Illegal - Debunked
Posted on June 02 2016
Last year John Hawkins of Townhall.com published an article proposing 5 reasons why marijuana should remain illegal. This biased and bigoted post was a rather weak excuse to counter legalization, relying more on conjecture and fear-mongering than evidence based conclusions.
If Townhall can publish arguments based on questionable research and personal opinion, we can do the same, but better.
1) It's extremely addictive for some people
What they say: "It is extremely addictive...for some people. I think that's where people get confused. It's not very addictive for many people. It's a small subset of people with a genetic potential for addiction. But for them it is really tough. You only need talk to them, they'll tell you how tough it is." - Dr Drew Pinksy
What we say: As Dr Drew points out, it's a 'small subset' of people. Arguing that a small amount of people are afflicted by something does not give it a legitimate case for criminalisation, it merely serves to illustrate that we would be able to offer these people more help in a legalized world.
A responsible and well-regulated cannabis industry would open up more opportunity to research the effects of cannabis on a larger sample of people, which would provide us with comprehensive evidence rather than subjective small case-by-case arguments.
2) This experiment hasn't worked in Amsterdam
What they say: Its citizens are now alarmed that their children are increasingly being exposed to it.
Amsterdam it’s been found that crime is now centering around the coffeehouses where marijuana is sold.
What we say: Hawkins argues that because Amsterdam banned smoking in schools that somehow decriminalisation hasn't worked in Amsterdam. This is ridiculous, it's rather intuitive that in an educational environment it's important you remain coherent as possible to focus your attention. This is the same reason schools won't let you turn up drunk, or you don't turn up to work after not sleeping for days. If anything this teaches - or rather reinforces - banning drug use in school should be a crucial stipulation in legalisation bills, which we already knew.
To address Hawkins point that crime is now 'centering coffeehouses where marijuana is sold', again doesn't actually tell us anything. It's rather ignorant to view this through a microeconomic eye when we need to look at much wider crime figures for this give us valid insight. Suggesting that more marijuana related crime exists in areas where there is an abundance of marijuana is like saying that more train-related crimes happen on trains or more bank robberies happen in banks.
3) Marijuana is terrible for your mental health
What they say: Marijuana may even be WORSE than cigarettes. At least cigarettes don't peel points off of your IQ. So, there's a good reason most habitual marijuana users come off as stupid. The drug is making them stupider, even when they're not high. You really want your kids on that?
What we say: I will concede that there have been a number of studies effectively linking marijuana consumption to mental health issues. It is worth noting, however, that studies also suggest 'in the large majority of cases, individuals reported that the mental disorder preceded the substance disorder'. And a more recent study published in the peer-reviewed academic journal European Neuropsychopharmacology suggests that the brain's endocannabinoid system – which is activated by THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – may play an important role in emotional processing.
4) Marijuana is terrible for your physical health
What they say: How bad is marijuana for you? It's even more toxic than cigarette smoke. Regular users are hit with devastating lung problems as much as 20 years earlier than smokers. Even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility and it has a terrible impact on the babies of women who smoke including "birth defects, mental abnormalities and increased risk of leukemia in children." If your standard is, "Well, it's better for you than Meth or Crack," that's true, but you're deluding yourself if you think pot is anything other than absolutely horrible for your health.
What we say: How bad is marijuana for you? Well it depends on your method and amount of consumption, genetic predispositions and lifestyle choices. It's very easy to generalise and lump everyone into a category but it simply does not work.
Yes, marijuana smoke may be more toxic than cigarette smoke but that does not infer that you will smoke more marijuana than cigarettes.
The study saying regular users are hit with lung problems earlier than smokers is specific to one type of uncommon lung disorder. In the study the use of marijuana was inhaled in conjunction with tobacco based products.
Smoking whilst pregnant is bad for babies... go figure. We have learnt this lesson before with alcohol and cigarettes. It's so vapidly redundant to point out that recreational drug use is a bad idea whilst pregnant, just in the same manner than heavy drinking, heavy tobacco smoking or being punched in the chest might also be harmful.
5) The drug decimates many people's lives
What they say: Movies portray potheads as harmless, fun-loving people who spend their time giggling and munching Cheetos, but they don't show these people when they're flunking out of school, losing their jobs, frustrated because they can't concentrate or losing the love of their lives because they just don't want to be with a pot smoking loser anymore. Even in the limited number of studies that are out there, the numbers are stark.
What we say: Much like the four preceding sensationalist blanket statements, it just simply isn't true for the majority of people. It's a straw man fallacy attacking a hypothetical situation as if it were a forgone conclusion.