Marijuana is Bad for Public Health
Alex Machtay, Staff Writer
December 19, 2012
Filed under Editorials
The public opinion on Marijuana seems to be changing. Some people would say it’s evolving, that people are realizing it isn’t particularly bad, and that it’s no worse than alcohol or cigarettes. Marijuana is actually terrible for a user’s health and its legalization would bring shocking dangers to the United States.
First, it has to be acknowledged that Marijuana is far worse than many people think. Marijuana causes damage to the user the first time. Marijuana hurts memory and learning for days or weeks after each use, and consistent users will function at a “suboptimal level”, according to a 2010 National Institute on Drug Abuse fact sheet. Marijuana use by men is linked to testicular cancer, according to a recent University of Southern California study. So Marijuana’s dangers go significantly farther than just impairing the user.
Those for marijuana legalization argue that other health-harmful substances are legal, like cigarettes and alcohol, and that these are equally bad, if not worse than Marijuana. But the fact that cigarettes and alcohol are bad for a person’s health does not justify legalizing Marijuana. Both alcohol and Marijuana put the rest of society at risk. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2010 there were 10,228 deaths in car accidents that involved alcohol-31% of all traffic related deaths. Drugs other than alcohol were also involved in 18% of these accidents. Furthermore, “drivers who consume cannabis within three hours of driving are nearly twice as likely [to have a moving violation] as those who aren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” according to a Dalhousie University study. With Marijuana legalized, people won’t be as confined to their homes to smoke- so they’ll be more likely to smoke at another person’s house or a bar, and then drive home. The increase in the risk of accidents be- cause of more impaired drivers will put everyone on the road in more danger.
The public opinion of Marijuana has not been evolving. Instead, it has been degrading, deteriorating into acceptance of the use of something so dangerous. With as many of the dangers as we see in today’s world, the action to take is to reinforce laws against Marijuana use and prevent it from being solicited in the first place. Legalizing is a step in the wrong direction.