Is the America we know and love disappearing in a puff of smoke?
Just over a month after the citizens of Colorado voted overwhelmingly in favor of Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana for recreational use, Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper signed the Executive Order that makes an “official declaration of the vote.”
What does it mean?
“It formalizes the amendment as part of the state Constitution and makes legal the personal use, possession and limited home-growing of marijuana under Colorado law for adults 21 years of age and older,” the Governor’s office wrote in a press release.
That said, the release went on to say that that it is still illegal to buy or sell marijuana or to consume marijuana in public.
Per a survey taken by Public Policy Polling
Switching now to the topic of marijuana, do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?
Should be legal, feel strongly 33%
Should be legal, don’t feel strongly 25%
Should not be legal, feel strongly 34%
Should not be legal, don’t feel strongly 5%
Not sure 3%
What do we know about marijuana and it’s effects?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
Scientists have learned a great deal about how THC acts in the brain to produce its many effects. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body.
THC acts upon specific sites in the brain, called cannabinoid receptors, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high” that users experience when they smoke marijuana. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors; others have few or none. The highest density of cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
Not surprisingly, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory. Research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.2 As a result, someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.
Research into the effects of long-term cannabis use on the structure of the brain has yielded inconsistent results. It may be that the effects are too subtle for reliable detection by current techniques. A similar challenge arises in studies of the effects of chronic marijuana use on brain function. Brain imaging studies in chronic users tend to show some consistent alterations, but their connection to impaired cognitive functioning is far from clear. This uncertainty may stem from confounding factors such as other drug use, residual drug effects, or withdrawal symptoms in long-term chronic users.
Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction; that is, compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite the known harmful effects upon functioning in the context of family, school, work, and recreational activities. Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young (to about 17 percent) and among daily users (25-50 percent).
Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving, all of which can make it difficult to remain abstinent. These symptoms begin within about 1 day following abstinence, peak at 2-3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks following drug cessation.
Marijuana and Mental Health
A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Some of these studies have shown age at first use to be an important risk factor, where early use is a marker of increased vulnerability to later problems. However, at this time, it is not clear whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them, or reflects an attempt to self-medicate symptoms already in existence.
Chronic marijuana use, especially in a very young person, may also be a marker of risk for mental illnesses – including addiction – stemming from genetic or environmental vulnerabilities, such as early exposure to stress or violence. Currently, the strongest evidence links marijuana use and schizophrenia and/or related disorders. High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction; in addition, use of the drug may trigger the onset or relapse of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.
Just yesterday morning, I was watching the local news when they announced that a fellow I graduated high school with, had escaped from custody, after trying to commit suicide, because the authorities were about to commit him to the looney bin for long-term treatment.
Even back in ’76, this guy had hung out outside the school building in what was affectionately called “the smoke hall”. And, of course, it was well known that he liked to smoke pot.
Even as I type this, I hear thousands of potheads, young and old (picture Tommy Chong), yelling at their monitors, and, among the words I can repeat, are words describing me as a clueless out-of-touch Bible-thumping old man, who doesn’t know what the He@@ he is talking about.
They’re screaming that pot is harmless, non-addictive, and safer than alcohol.
And, they also probably voted for Ron Paul.
…so, their judgement is questionable.
What matters to me, is the fact that no man is an island. No man stands alone. (Hey. That could be a nifty song title. But…I digress.)
And, people struck and killed by a stoned driver, are just as dead as those killed by a drunk driver.
So, stop eating your Cheetos, slackers, and listen tight: Your actions affect others. You are responsible to others. You are not alone in this world.
So, get up out of your bean bag, turn off the TV, move out of Mom’s Basement, and get a job.
Useless, clueless, and stoned is no way to go through life, son.
…Unless, of course, you’re the president.