Although many doctors say cannabis is excellent medicine for a lot of different ailments, not everyone agrees. Combatting 80 years of fables, fearmongering, and falsehoods is too massive an undertaking for a single article. So here’s a little breakdown of the last five of 10 reasons NOT to not legalize medical cannabis.
6. Mass marketing of marijuana would launch and expand
Restrictions on tobacco advertising would not apply to marijuana. Ads promoting marijuana products, such as cookies and candy bars, will be in magazines and newspapers as well as on radio and television.
This explains why you cannot turn on the radio or TV or glance at any magazine or newspaper today in half the country without being bombarded by cartoony ads for herb-infused foods and sticky green buds. This is a classic example of 1930s-style fearmongering, the type completely devoid of any justification in objective reality. Instead, we get fanciful fabrications in the guise of facts.
It is far more likely that legislators would make legalization conditional upon just such restrictions as applied to tobacco advertising, and more. Conversely, children actually ARE assaulted nonstop with images of alcohol and of adults enjoying entire lifetimes’ worth of rapturous, ecstatic fun- thanks to alcohol. And drunk driving commercials.
Reason.com notes that Colorado, for example, has severe restrictions on marijuana advertising, which ostensibly are aimed at protecting impressionable children but probably have more to do with protecting disapproving adults.
Colorado media recently reported a marijuana dispensary’s phone ads were soliciting kids.
We should believe this is an epidemic. Because telemarketing campaigns targeting children are common, widespread, and spectacularly effective. Children’s names and cell phone numbers are readily available from list brokers for a nominal cost; and when they aren’t, children can easily be reached by simply calling their parents’ home phone number. Landline phones are becoming more common than ever, people are always home to answer them, and when you ask to speak to their fifth-grader about a cannabis promotion at your dispensary, parents always cooperate.
As a bonus, toddlers are suckers for telephone solicitation because they readily give out their credit card number over the phone. Toddler-toker telemarketing is a nationwide scourge in the making that must be nipped in the- er, bud.
7. Accidents and liability insurance rates for employers would increase
Marijuana use adversely impacts employee performance and safety, major issues for businesses and industry. Safety, absenteeism, turnover rates, tardiness, productivity, work quality, and liability lawsuits are concerns for employers. A study found employees who tested positive for marijuana have 55% more industrial accidents and 85% more injuries compared to non-users. Employees who abuse drugs are five times more likely than non-users to injure themselves or others and cause 40% of all industrial fatalities. A study showed those testing positive for marijuana had absentee rates 75 times higher than non-users. Businesses are less likely to stay or move into a state where drug-related risks are higher.
All these numbers are utterly meaningless in the context of cannabis being legal or not. They all pertain instead to consumption vs. non-consumption.
Even stipulating that the figures are accurate (which is generous, given the suspect numbers used elsewhere), they are complete nonsequiturs with regard to legal status. People should not be high at work any more than they should be drunk on alcohol, a legal substance. Drunk workers are probably ten times more likely than sober or stoned ones to do something profoundly stupid and risky. But legal status is not what’s making alcohol so much more dangerous than cannabis. And legalizing cannabis can never make it nearly as dangerous as alcohol.
8. Pot shops would proliferate just as with pill mills
Data from states that have passed similar laws show that less then [sic] 10% of medi-pot [sic] users are cancer, HIV/AIDS, or glaucoma patients. Over 90% cite “chronic pain,” an indefinable term that is being used to cover medical conditions such as headaches and minor arthritis. The consequences of failing to narrowly define pain that is allowed to be treated with powerful and addictive medications are well known.
But… we were discussing cannabis. Prohibitionists love to isolate it out of context and act as if it had been suddenly discovered as the sole recreational/medicinal substance on the planet. It does have side effects, but in comparison with other painkillers and arthritis medications, it is not overpowering, destructive to the body, or physically addictive.
Millions of people are prescribed opioids. And they’re allowed to drive because the pharmacist puts the little sticker with the cartoon of the sleepy-eyed guy on it along with the driving warning. There! NOW you’re all set to drive. But test positive for a cannabinoid metabolite three weeks after your last doobie, and you’re a danger to life and limb, a social deviant who should be stigmatized as a criminal and have your rights taken away.
The proliferation of “pill mills” pushing the abuse of legal pain medications is the consequence of criminal doctors and med-seeking patients who have taken advantage of loose regulations. We cannot afford to enhance the disaster of pill mills by adding pot shops to the mix. Like pill mills, pot shops are in business to make money and will sell to anyone who produces a recommendation which can be obtained by paying a fee and claiming any medical condition, even a headache.
Repeating “pill mills” numerous times does not substitute for science or rational thought to equate cannabis with opioid painkillers. Laying aside the many patients today using cannabis to wean themselves away from opioids and their horrendous side effects, there are no legitimate grounds to make a comparison between the two substances.
Everything about them is different, from the culture to how they’re used and their physical attributes, side effects, addiction potential, social settings for usage, and the list goes on. The difference can be summed up in this way: A cannabis consumer would like very much to relax and enjoy some cannabis; but an opioid addict is driven, dogged and grim, consumed with stubborn determination to score that opioid, and the longer it goes, the more intense and sick and desperate to kill the pain the patient becomes.
It’s a completely different mindset for a completely different substance. Treating them as equivalents makes smart young people distrust the information and its source.
Common byproducts related to dispensaries include drug dealing, sales to minors, loitering, heavy vehicle and foot traffic in retail areas, increased noise, robberies of customers just outside the facilities, and the loss of other commercial businesses who don’t want to be located in the vicinity of marijuana dispensaries.
Breaking news: Retailers despise heavy vehicle and foot traffic now. Regardless, the same things could be said of the neighborhood bar or liquor store, 7-11, or drugstore. Nothing to see here.
9. Environmental Damage Would Occur
Outdoor marijuana grows pose a significant threat to our natural resources and wildlife.
Not necessarily. Cannabis is a farmed product like any other and happily grows like a weed without threatening anything but the bottom line of the pharmedical complex, the law enforcement industry, paper and plastic companies, and the politicians and lobbyists of the Prohibition industry.
Marijuana farms on public lands in the northwestern parts of the United States have been linked to deaths of area wildlife. The animals are being poisoned by chemical pesticides used in marijuana grows.
These are excellent reasons to legalize and regulate the herb. When it’s legal, the incentive to face the inherent risks and difficulties of trekking deep into the forbidding wilderness just to farm a crop will dissipate. This is why, even though illegal stills “still” exist in the deep woods, the vast majority of drinkers have never laid eyes or lips on moonshine—and never will.
Researchers have concluded that game species consumed by humans (deer and boar) can be exposed to the same toxicants and although no studies have been done to date, it is feasible that humans could be exposed.
Let’s unpack this: On one hand we have no scientific studies at all behind a purely speculative, scary warning about something that might or might not feasibly happen to a hypothetical human, but only if that person eats game from deep in the forest, and only if that animal has consumed some undefined amount of raw cannabis, over an unknown amount of time; and that means cannabis medicine should be kept away from everyone. On the other hand, we have a mountain of evidence showing, for example, that cannabis can halt epilepsy in children like little Vivian Wilson and Charlotte Figi, who formerly had dozens of seizures per day or more, and it also can sometimes cure cancer.
Let’s just call it even.
Fires also pose a significant threat to the environment and wildlife. In 2006-2011 a confirmed 93,535 acres were lost in California due to grow site initiated fires.
California wildfires will probably continue to exist in substantially the same number they do now. Most of them are caused by humans who are not farming cannabis. That percentage will increase as the incentive to grow in remote, inaccessible areas fades away and people return to farming cannabis in the normal way again.
10. Black Market Sales and Diversion Would Increase
Since “medical” marijuana will be readily available for adults who can qualify to use under a multitude of alleged medical conditions, it’s likely that black market sales will heavily target their remaining market—our youth.
The term “alleged medical conditions” implies that the conditions are not real; and that a medical doctor’s recommendation of cannabis is, therefore, unjustified and improper. There’s no other way to read it except as a direct contradiction of the physician’s educated medical opinion. This is startling.
The implied accusation is that the doctor is unqualified to (a) diagnose illness correctly and (b) detect when a patient is malingering, or faking an ailment. To make matters worse, the doctor is allegedly committing malpractice in advising a patient to use cannabis (allegedly not medicine) instead of “real” pharmaceutical drugs, which is what they need.
Unless this determination is being made by a bona fide state or national medical board, or some other entity with sway over what doctors must and must not do, it’s hard to give any credence to the medical opinions it expresses. Patients would do well to heed the advice of their doctors instead.
Also difficult is trying to remember the last time anyone was seen hawking black-market beer and bourbon to kids on the playground.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Garyn Angel is an inventor, entrepreneur, award-winning financial consultant, and CEO of MagicalButter.com, which manufactures the appliance he invented for converting cannabis to edible form. Angel is committed to cannabis law reform and was named to the CNBC NEXT List of global business leaders for his work on legal marijuana. He is also founder of the Cheers to Goodness Foundation, a charity that helps “medical refugees”—veterans and children who need cannabis therapy when traditional treatment options have failed. Angel’s charity helps families relocate to states where cannabis medicine is legally accessible.