Legalization of marijuana has ramifications beyond the individual’s decision to smoke an occasional joint. Several considerations contradict the argument for legalization.
Most simply, it is argued that legalization would eliminate criminal problems. The state would collect its sales tax, and marijuana users would be happy.
However, as with alcohol, the use of marijuana will create costs in excess of the sales tax revenue. It has been predicted that costs associated with treatment, injuries, loss of work, and damage to property are likely to run millions more than the income gained through taxation.
As a nation, we have just spent millions of dollars in the crusade to stop people from smoking cigarettes. Yet with pot smoking, all the problems associated with indirect smoke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer will continue and increase.
Studies have disclosed that the recreational use of pot can lead to long-term mental problems and harmful neurological effects.
Furthermore, marijuana is addictive. It is recognized as a gateway drug, associated with addiction to stronger drugs. Current campaigns to reduce or control addiction to opioids are directly aimed at reducing drug use. Why, therefore, should use of marijuana be sanctioned?
Oxycontin is a schedule II drug that is regulated, prescribed, and dispensed under professional supervision by healthcare providers. It is considered less of a threat than Schedule I drugs such as heroin and ecstasy. Marijuana is also a Schedule I drug, yet some states want it sold over the counter by untrained clerks.
There is no way to prevent adulteration and contamination of the marijuana sold in strip malls and kiosks. Without testing, regulation, or supervision, introduction of a variety of pathogens and toxins into the product is inevitable. The history of Prohibition, during which injury and death resulted from use of “moonshine” and adulterated alcohol