The debate over the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing marijuana has been going on in all corners of the U.S. In a handful of states, voters have spoken and agreed to legalize this drug for recreational use by adults. In spite of the votes, there is no evidence that there is any benefit to legalizing marijuana or to those who choose to use it in a recreational way.
Marijuana Is a Drug
The thing that many people seem to forget is that marijuana is a drug. It is a mind-altering substance, and according to the federal government, it is illegal to use. Drugs abuse is always risky, even when some claim that marijuana is much less dangerous than other drugs. People do get addicted to marijuana and they suffer the health consequences of smoking it regularly. The negatives to recreational drugs of any kind greatly outweigh any benefits supporters may claim.
Marijuana Addiction Is Real
One of the biggest claims made by supporters of recreational marijuana is that this drug is not addictive. This is simply not true. One in nine regular users of marijuana will eventually seek help for addiction. A significant proportion of people getting treatment for addiction in rehab facilities have issues with marijuana. Any drug that is mind-altering has the potential to be addictive. Perhaps most troubling is the fact that the risk is highest for young people. Marijuana users who first started smoking in their teens are far more likely to become addicted.
Cons of Recreational Marijuana Legalization
Far easier to point out than any benefits are the downsides to legalizing this drug for recreational use. The most important is that it will increase access for young people. Alcohol is the most abused substance by teens for a reason. Because it is legal for adults, it is much easier for teens to get alcohol than any other substance.
Supporters of legal marijuana often claim that it will provide a much-needed source of revenue to states. However, they fail to take into account the costs that will be incurred. Substance abuse is a major public health problem. Being intoxicated causes accidents and health problems. It also causes lost work time, which is a huge cost to industry and small businesses.
For marijuana, recreational benefits are nonexistent. Sure, users may be having a laugh while high, but what are they really getting out of this drug? They’re getting health problems, wasted time and weight gain, and are possibly becoming addicted. As a society, we get more people abusing drugs and causing problems while getting intoxicated. Alcohol costs us billions of dollars and thousands of lives every year. Marijuana will only add to these unacceptable costs.