5 of the Best (and Worst) Arguments Against Legal Marijuana
Everyone has had a different experience with marijuana. While some have primarily seen the substance as a drug used by stoner high school kids and uber-progressive young adults, others have seen marijuana transition into in a bit more of a main stream setting.
But there is still a large group of people out there who only know marijuana as a bad thing. They may have grown up watching 80s and 90s public service announcements, or they were told by their parents and the media that using marijuana was dangerous and completely unacceptable.
Some who are anti-legalization have more personal reasons. Perhaps they have a friend or family member who smokes weed constantly and doesn’t have their act together — an unemployed cousin who personifies the stereotypical stoner. Your experience with the drug has a lot to do with where you live, your age, and who you choose to surround yourself with.
The chart above shows the results of a Gallup Poll, which asked the public how it feels about marijuana legalization. You can see that as age increases, the percentage of people in favor of legalization decreases. Of course this is partly because marijuana use is more common among young adults. According to another Gallup Poll conducted last year, 14% of 18 to 29 year olds are marijuana smokers. However, only 7% of 30 to 49 year olds, 5% of people between the ages of 50 to 64, and 1% of people over the age of 65 use marijuana.
In addition to decreased use in older age groups, each generation was also exposed to different music, movies, media, and other cultural influences during their formative years that swayed their opinion of marijuana. Then of course we have the parent factor. As we get older, we may have children, which can dramatically change our views on these types of issues.
Because pro-legalization is such a hot topic right now, we decided to give a bit of attention to the anti-legalization side. We’re highlighting some of the best and worst anti-marijuana points we could find. We tried to shy away from some of the most obvious lines of reasoning, like gateway drug theories and arguments about how it’s bad for your health, and remain focused on some of the more obscure points. Of course, some of these arguments are logical valid points, and others are completely ridiculous.
Some of the best arguments
Show me the science
Anti-legalization groups argue there is not enough scientific data to support marijuana’s medical benefits. According to Whitehouse.gov (original emphasis), “To date…neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.”
It’s highly unlikely that anyone will be able to prove the substance is entirely safe, because (let’s be honest), it’s not. As with all drugs, there is an associated risk that comes along with any benefits the drug may have. It’s just like on those prescription drug commercials, when you hear how a medication may relieve pain or lower blood pressure, but the medication also comes along with a laundry list of side effects, warnings, and disclaimers. At the end of the day, however, the goal is to determine whether or not the good outweighs the bad. With marijuana, that remains to be seen.
I learned it from you
Those who are anti-legalization feel that legalization will make the drug become less of a hidden pleasure and more like cigarettes, which are used out in the open. A drug that is more accessible to adults also becomes more accessible to children, both while they are children and when they grow into adults. Alcohol — one of the most accessible drugs for children — has the highest 30-day use percentage among children and teens (24.3%) of all the drugs.
Are you OK with your children being allowed to purchase marijuana, even at age 21? Legal marijuana would not only allow the adults of today, but also the adults of tomorrow, to purchase and use the drug without legal consequence.
Those who are against legalization also pose concerns about parents who may use legal marijuana around their children. Over the long term, could this increase teen marijuana use? Parents who smoke cigarettes around their children are more likely to end up with teens who smoke.
A recent Georgetown University Medical Center study found that “Teens whose parents were current smokers and addicted to nicotine were 10 times more likely to themselves become regular smokers at an early age or to experiment early on with cigarettes than kids with nonsmoking parents.” The study acknowledges that parental smoking does not necessarily cause adolescent smoking, but there certainly is a correlation.
While legal marijuana may not result in millions of parents rolling up joints and getting high around their kids, it may increase the amount of parents who do so.
Why make matters worse
Those who are pro-marijuana argue that because alcohol is legal, marijuana should be legal as well. Some anti-legalization groups combat this notion by posing the question: Is alcohol really all that safe? Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports that people drive drunk nearly 300,000 times each day and that drunk driving costs the United States $199 billion a year.
Why legalize another dangerous substance? That’s like breaking your right arm to be fair to your broken left arm. Marijuana is a schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act, along with heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote. Does that mean they should be legalized as well? They are under the same schedule and all. Cocaine is a schedule II drug, does that mean cocaine is less dangerous? Should it be made legal?
Many anti-marijuana groups see marijuana as an illegal and harmful drug, just like all of the other drugs out there. Sure, it’s use may be more widespread and people generally don’t look like Tyrone Biggum after smoking a joint, but marijuana is a mind-altering substance, albeit a milder one than some of the others.
Some of the worst arguments
Legalization will create anarchy
Some people who oppose legalization fear that complete chaos will ensue if we go legal. Stoners will walk the streets, red-eyed searching for their next fix, and we will have to fight them with specially designed lazer guns.
All joking aside, social media sites are the main stage for people to voice their opinions. We found these posts on Twitter and Facebook:
“Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse”
“I just wanted to say that I’ve been anti-drug all my life. thanks to D.A.R.E. I managed to stay away from it. Someone did offer it to me one time and I told that person no politely. I have a bad feeling that this country is going down the tubes cause of the legalization of marijuana. I think a lot of people smoke it just to escape. It’s even worse that most of these people work and marijuana is in their bloodstream for days.”
Marijuana is just as dangerous and addictive as heroin
Some groups who are against legalization claim that because marijuana is a mind altering substance that produces a pleasure effect on your brain the way that other drugs do, this means that it is equally as addictive as other drugs, like heroin or cocaine.
A Brown University publication says it rather well. “No one would argue that marijuana is as addictive as alcohol or cocaine. However, it’s wrong to say that it is not at all addictive,” it reports. What do you think about legal marijuana?