State by state, the push to legalize the use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use has been increasing. As of March 30, 2018, there are 22 states who have legalized marijuana for medical use and 8 other states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. A number of the remaining 20 states have marijuana initiatives working to try to get either the medical or recreational use of marijuana legal.
Proponents of marijuana have long argued that there are no harmful effects of using marijuana products. Part of their argument is that marijuana and marijuana products are non-addictive like stronger opioid drugs and therefore anyone can stop using whenever they want.
Colorado legalized both the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana as of January 1, 2014.
In April 2014, 19 year old foreign exchange student Levy Thamba plunged off a hotel balcony and died after eating legally purchased marijuana laced cookies. After eating just one cookie, Thamba became agitated and ran out onto the balcony and over the edge, falling to his death. The pot-laced cookies were legally purchased by a 21-year-old present at the gathering.
Later that month, 47 year old Richard Kirk purchased Pre 98 Bubba Kush Pre-Roll joint and Karma Kandy Orange Ginger, a marijuana laced candy. Shortly after eating the pot laced candy, Kristine Kirk, 44, called 9-1-1 to report that her husband was hallucinating and frightening her and their three children. During her call, she told the police dispatcher that her husband had asked her to get the gun from their safe and shoot him. When she refused, she told the dispatcher that he was retrieving the gun. Twelve minutes into the emergency call, the dispatcher heard a gunshot over the phone and then the line went dead.
When police finally arrived at the house, Kristine was dead from a gunshot to the head and Richard was ranting and rambling to himself. In his ramblings, he admitted to killing his wife. Police said that it appeared to them that Richard was definitely suffering the effects of some controlled substance and/or prescription drugs.
Colorado also experienced increases in traffic accidents and emergency room visits that were linked to marijuana use but proponents still claim that marijuana use is safe and harmless and has many advantages, especially for some people with certain health conditions.
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, was also legalized in the United Kingdom and reports from there show the harmful impact of that decision:
- Over the past decade, the number of under-18s treated for cannabis abuse in England has jumped 40 per cent – from 9,043 in 2006 to 12,712 in 2017;
- Treatment for all narcotics has increased by 20 per cent – up from 11,618 to 13,961;
- The proportion of juvenile drug treatment for cannabis use is up from four in five cases (78 per cent) to nine in ten (91 per cent);
- There has been a ‘sharp increase’ in cocaine use among 15-year-olds, up 56 per cent from 16,700 in 2014 to 26,200 in 2016.
Chances are, if statistics were compiled here in the US they would probably come close to matching those found in Great Britain. These statistics clearly indicate that the legalized recreational use of marijuana does pose a danger to the those using it. It is not nearly as safe and harmless as proponents claim and should not be legalized and those states who have legalized it’s use for recreational purposes need to have their laws overturned due to the health and safety factors.