CannabisNews420.com – Cannabis/Marijuana Industry News
As the economy flounders around the country, many states are trying to think up ways to boost public morale, increase spending and improve tax revenue for services like unemployment and healthcare — and the cannabis industry ticks all those boxes. As many as 11 states now allow consumers over 21 to use marijuana recreationally, and many of those states have enjoyed legal weed for over five years to great success.
Unfortunately, there persist many misconceptions about how legalizing marijuana could change local communities and cultures. Here are a few of the most tenacious myths and the truths that bust them.
Myth: Legalizing Marijuana Increases Use
Those opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana fear that the availability of the drug will turn most Americans into unrestrained users, unable to control their urge to smoke weed and neglectful of the responsibilities in their lives. This rampant drug use could compel users to experiment with harder, more dangerous drugs that remain illegal, compromising their health, their safety and the function of society.
However, there is no evidence that legalizing marijuana has any impact on the usage rates of the drug. Studies on legalization in other countries, such as the Netherlands, Australia and Portugal, have found no increase in use after weed became widely available, and states that have already permitted recreational pot have seen only mild increases in use for only brief periods following legalization. In fact, so few people have taken up marijuana as a new hobby that some states’ cannabis industries seem to be unsustainable after having stalled for several months in a row. In a few states, like Washington, marijuana sales continue, but largely they have leveled out because the novelty of legal weed has passed.
What’s more, marijuana doesn’t seem to be the “gateway drug” it has been labeled. Different drugs tend to produce different kinds of highs, and people who enjoy the sensation of using marijuana are rarely interested in the experiences offered by more dangerous drugs, like heroin or meth. Again, research does not support the “gateway” hypothesis, so legal availability shouldn’t lead to increases in abuse for any substance.
Myth: Marijuana Is More Dangerous Than Alcohol
Alcohol is, unequivocally, a poison. Once inside the body, alcohol diffuses into each and every cell, causing serious dehydration and miscommunication within the nervous system. The liver metabolizes alcohol into acetic acid and releases the acid into the bloodstream; in high concentrations, acetic acid will burn through tissues, killing them. Alcohol poisoning is the result of a buildup of acetic acid, and it can permanently scar a drinker’s tissues or kill the drinker outright.
In contrast, marijuana is not a poison. Though there are risks associated with using too much weed, the substance itself does not harm the human body — in fact, there is emerging evidence that marijuana does much to improve the body’s functions. The body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which is associated with mood, memory, sleep, appetite and libido, is triggered by cannabinoids like THC and CBD, which is why marijuana is so effective at managing various conditions, like anxiety, insomnia and the symptoms of cancer treatment. In almost no way is marijuana more dangerous than alcohol; in fact, it is much, much more beneficial.
Myth: Legalizing Marijuana Increases Crime Rates
Few of marijuana’s opponents know that the push to make the drug illegal occurred only within the last century. Before then, cannabis was a crucial crop for the United States. Hemp fiber made up a significant percentage of clothing and other textiles around the world, and its swift growth and easy processing made it exceedingly practical for farmers across America.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the United States started seeing high rates of immigration from Mexico and other Central American countries. These immigrants brought the use of psychoactive marijuana to the U.S. Many established Americans were unhappy with the newcomers, especially since they spoke a different language and practiced an unfamiliar culture. During the 1920s and ‘30s, unscrupulous scientists published falsified studies claiming that marijuana use led to higher crime rates, which is why the new immigrant populations could not be trusted. In an attempt to control these immigrants, many states passed laws against marijuana and eventually cannabis in general, erasing its vital importance to the country from history books in an attempt to paint the drug as pure evil.
Though more accurate research throughout the 1940s and ‘50s demonstrated that marijuana use did not lead to increased crime, anti-weed propaganda was more effective, and the American public developed a deep-seated loathing of the drug. Continued research today proves that marijuana and crime are not closely linked; in fact, by legalizing the drug, it all but eliminates associated violence and delinquency.
Marijuana enthusiasts interested in legalizing weed in their own state or at the federal level need to arm themselves with facts, so when the uninformed attack with myths and misconceptions, the truth about cannabis comes out.
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