The federal legalization of marijuana seems to be close to becoming a reality. Nevertheless, there are two sides to every issue and in this case both sides still have active advocates offering opinions on the issue. The debate rages on . . .
Those who are against the legalization of marijuana focus on the increased acceptance and use of marijuana by young people as a red flag. They point out that in Colorado, for example, marijuana is now an ingredient in different edibles such as gummi-worms which can only legally be purchased and eaten by adults 18 and older.
Ben Cort, a former drug addict who headed up the anti-legalization front in Colorado and is currently the director of the Colorado Center for Addiction, Dependency and Rehabilitation in Aurora, Colorado, said: “What you have is an incredible drop in the perception of young people who see marijuana as bad.”
Cort referred to a new, unnamed study that reportedly states that under 40 percent of Colorado’s young people think marijuana is bad. Cort feels that they think “(i)t’s legal, and it’s cool.”
Cort claims that children under the age of 18 now have a higher chance of getting addicted to marijuana than adults and quote odd of “1 in 6 (as opposed to) 1 in 11.” While the U.S. Justice Department may have similar concerns other law enforcement figures do not.
Joanne Naughton, a retired New York City Police Department Detective who worked in undercover narcotics, now advocates legalization and is not concerned about what might or might not be considered “cool.” She told the press: “(A) kid can already get it easily whenever he wants to. But no one on the street is going to card you and ask you how old you are.”
Naughton, who is also a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, believes that “legalization, regulation and taxation” can be beneficial. She added that additional tax dollars could go towards education on marijuana. This could lead to an actual decrease in marijuana use comparing it to tobacco use statistics.
She states: “In 1965, 40 percent of Americans smoked. Today (with additional education), it’s 18 percent. And if we regulate it and license people who sell it, they will have an interest not to sell it to kids.”
Cort continued the controversial conversation with this comparative comment: “If you have more people in the state getting high, you will have more addicts.”
Naughton believes it will actually cost society more if marijuana is not legalized. She said: “You have a drug addiction, you can recover. “You have a conviction, it’s for life.”
Even Cort could not help but conclusively concede that “the majority of people using it won’t end up as addicts.”
(Image courtesy of StonerDays)