The legalization of marijuana is a hot-button issue in today’s social and political climate. Arguments against legal blazing are replicated by people everywhere, from our politicians to our peers. These five claims essentially cover all the bases of the anti-legalization platform. What do you think of them?
5. “Everybody has a different reaction to it. Some people get paranoid. It’s been proven to increase schizophrenia. There’s just so much about it we don’t know, so much about it that varies from person to person.” – Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012
Like many anti-marijuana arguments, this claim focuses on a trivial effect of the drug, one which is already accepted on a daily basis with alcohol use. You know this chick has seen so many people in her life turn into sad drunks and become destructive, but where is the outrage over the legal use of that harmful substance? As for the schizophrenia claim, in a Time article from 2010, Maia Szalavitz stated:
“While marijuana went from being a secret shared by a small community of hepcats and beatniks in the 1940s and '50s to a rite of passage for some 70% of youth by the turn of the century, rates of schizophrenia in the U.S. have remained flat, or possibly declined.”
Simply stated: it’s hard to find a direct link to smoking marijuana and schizophrenia. The concern that “people react to it differently” is in itself true. But when it comes to the legalization of the drug, the use of this concern as an argument is invalid. It’s been said a million times and I’ll say it again: marijuana, even the THC-packed stuff in today’s day and age, is nowhere near as potentially harmful in the short or long term as alcohol. Plain and simple. To be fair, Culpo has probably done extensive research on the subject and has a lot of empirical knowledge to back up her claim. I mean, she did go to BU.
4. “Society will not be better off with another illegal mind-altering substance. In particular, our kids will not be better off with another legal mind-altering substance.” – Ruth Marcus, Opinion Writer for the Washington Post
This one does not seem too bad at surface level, right? It is sort of a valid point. However, earlier in the article from Jan. 2, Marcus wrote, “I have done my share of inhaling, though back in the age of bell-bottoms and polyester.” Hold the massively hypocritical phone here. What I’m hearing is that it was okay for this woman to mess around and smoke a few doobies, but simply because of the year we are living in and the fact that she is now older and “wiser”, kids shouldn’t be making the same “mistakes” she did. Yeah, that makes total sense. Like many opponents to legalization, Marcus takes this stance because she now perceives herself to be educated and beneath the act. It just does not seem right to vilify one substance that, let’s be honest here, is not the stuff of villains.
3. “If you have legalized marijuana, it’s going to make it a lot easier for kids to get it.” – Bryan Darling, Director of the United States Senate Relations at the Heritage Foundation
C’mon now. We all know that if kids want something, they will find a way to get it. Ask any adult who’s ever been "hey-mister’d" at a sporting event, any parent who has ever caught their children drinking, hell, even any movie theatre employee who’s found 15-year-olds in R-rated movies. Legal or illegal, people who are underage will attempt to get what they want…including illegal marijuana. This claim would be valid if marijuana was difficult for kids to obtain. Guess what, Bryan, darling? It’s not. Legalizing marijuana will not make it any easier for children to access than it already is. Weigh this against the potential positive effects of the War on Drugs and the economic implications and suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a big deal that the exact same kids who were lighting up now have to pay a few extra bucks for their older cousin to pick up rather than getting it themselves.
2. “Once this door is opened, increased drug abuse and a push for further drug liberalization will follow.” – Rob Astorino, Executive of Westchester County, New York
Here we have a textbook case against marijuana legalization: the “gateway-drug” argument. Without getting into it too much, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.” This statement, from Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base (1999), came from a report commissioned by Congress. What it comes down to is this: correlation is most definitely not causation. It’s in the numbers. The gateway probably opens with coffee or alcohol, or even Flappy bird, all of which are ridiculously biologically addictive.
1. “It’s literally Russian Roulette.” – Bill O’Reilly
I don’t even know where to begin with this goon. For someone who spends so much of his time correcting people, he sure knows how to be wrong. I cannot explain O’Reilly’s latest curmudgeon rant about the legalization of marijuana any better than Jon Stewart, himself. Stewart brings up every point I wanted to scream at my computer while watching. One of the most exciting parts of this segment of Talking Points on the O’Reilly Factor deals with the issues of texting, pot and how America is devolving into a nation of fat, lazy people! This is one of the many reasons that Tyler The Creator said it best in his intro to "Radicals[VS1] .” Also, he should probably learn the proper use of the word “literally.”
Some additional fun: Check out the Drug Free America twitter page. It’s loaded with lots of reliable and totally non-questionable facts about the effects of marijuana!