Legalizing marijuana will only make the drug problem in the United States worse.
More teens are starting to use marijuana at an earlier age. According to a survey done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2007 a total of 490 kids age 12 or older used marijuana within the past year. Along with that, the age group for first-time use of meth and/or other hard drugs is also decreasing.
America has repeatedly gone through prohibiting a substance then making it legal, such as alcohol and tobacco.
The after-effects of smoking were not clearly defined when it was made legal and now more and more people are either fighting to quit or fighting cancer that smoking caused.
Marijuana is considered a “gateway drug.” This means that it can lead to the use of other more damaging drugs.
If marijuana is legalized the use will become as common as tobacco or alcohol. So what happens when the high one gets from marijuana is not enough anymore? Will America, 20 years down the road, legalize another drug?
There is also the problem of individuals creating their own “home grows”. The need and attention this plant takes have been creating problems to the house itself. No, it is not to the extent of damage that meth causes, but it is still a significant amount of damage.
Yes, there are states that allow marijuana for medical use; in fact, Colorado is one of the states that allows the use of medical marijuana.
It is said that marijuana can reduce pain, nausea, or relieve symptoms from health issues such as cancer or AIDs. It is also said that marijuana is less toxic than other drugs that are usually used to treat these health issues.
But it seems that there are medical marijuana licenses being handed out for pathetic “medical” reasons rather than someone who is in a legitimate amount of pain.
The term “gateway drug” is not one any pro-medical marijuana users like to use. They say there is no proof that marijuana users will eventually use a harder drug.
This is true. Not everyone who tries or has used marijuana will try a harder drug; however, it is the routine users who may move on to another high.
Eventually though, for a habitual marijuana user, the high will not be the same after repeated years worth of use and another method will take its place in order to maintain that high.
There are already dangerous ways of altering marijuana for a “better high.” The term lacing is often used when talking about another drug added to marijuana. These drugs can include cocaine, crack, PCP, LSD, and even embalming fluid! It is all done to create another high.
Eventually, if marijuana is legalized, it will get old. The high just won’t be enough. Then another drug will take its place and the war on drugs will start all over again, but this time it will be more intense and more demanding to maintain.
Amanda Vaughan is a senior journalism and mass communications major at the University of Northern Colorado.