Monday, March 12, 2018

A Recovering Alcoholic Speaks Out Against Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

I am an alcoholic who has been clean and sober and in recovery for 24 years. I still attend 2-3 12 step meetings a week. The number of marijuana addicts, prescription drug addicts, and opioid addicts have skyrocketed in the rooms the past few years. They are both youngsters just starting life and retirees. 75% of all children admitted to treatment are there to treat marijuana addiction. This is not the marijuana of the 1960's. It's a whole new ball game.

Here is my argument AGAINST legalizing another gateway drug, marijuana:
The verdict is in. Aspen, Colorado was the first city in the U.S. to legalize marijuana. We now have sales results for marijuana versus alcohol for the first three full years of use:
Marijuana Sales $M (2015/2016/2017)
Alcohol Sales $M
Meaning? Not only did the legalization of marijuana not decrease alcohol use, it INCREASED alcohol use, and marijuana surpassed alcohol sales by the third year.
Marijuana legalization more than doubled marijuana users in the first year and is increasing 15% per year. Roughly 10% of alcohol users become addicted. 30% of marijuana users become dependent. We're creating a whole new population of addicts. Local nurses say Aspen's teenage KIDS CAN'T STOP USING IT.
Need more proof AGAINST legal marijuana?
An ER doctor in Pueblo, Colorado writes about the REAL WORLD impact of legalizing recreational marijuana in her community:
1) In a short period of time, our homeless population has tripled.
2) We have increased visits to the emergency department for marijuana related issues (hyperemesis, accidental ingestions, pediatric ingestions, acute psychosis).
3) Our community once billed itself at the “Napa Valley of Pot.” We have encouraged a tidal wave of people moving to the area with the intent of smoking marijuana in a legal setting. Unfortunately, many of the people that moved here have significant chronic medical and psychiatric issues (including substance abuse issues).
4) The medical community here is having a very difficult time keeping up with the influx of patients. Many community physicians are leaving the area, and the local clinics/hospitals and office practices are having a very difficult time recruiting new physicians to the area. 72% of residents are now on Medicaid. Medical costs (ED visits, psychiatric care, medical care, etc.) are not ever factored into the cost of marijuana to the community.
5) I saw two young people who were making butane oil hash in a shed in the backyard. Their shed blew up. Both sustained significant and disfiguring burns. They were flown to a burn center for extended care for extensive burns. I would imagine that the cost of their care will exceed a million dollars. These costs are not factored into the cost of marijuana.
6) The marijuana community promised jobs. They state that they have provided 1,300 jobs to the area. Every employee that I have seen that identifies themselves as a marijuana industry employee has been on Medicaid. So, does it really benefit a community to provide more extremely low-income jobs to an area? I am sure there are a very limited number of people who are profiting excessively from the marijuana industry, but the majority of workers are not making enough money that they can live and thrive without government assistance (Medicaid, food stamps, etc).
7) The marijuana community promised growth economic benefits to the area. We now have more retail stores for marijuana than we have Starbucks and McDonald’s combined (this is statewide and holds true for Pueblo County).
8) The marijuana community promised our community that youth would benefit and they would be safe from the effects of marijuana. Unfortunately, the use of marijuana has rapidly become normalized in public and by some parents, and there is a marked increase in youth usage. I have followed hospital emergency department urine drug screens, and youth (younger than age 21) testing positive has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, at the same time, the number of youth testing positive for marijuana plus methamphetamine and/or heroin has also increased. I specifically use “youth,” as marijuana is not legal for sale to those under the age of 21.
9) The environmental costs of a marijuana grow are huge. Each plant uses roughly six gallons of water/day. Energy costs are exorbitant. In our arid environment, this is an enormous consumption of water. Ranchers living in the area of grows are having tremendous/costly problems getting enough water for their livestock.
10) Colorado high school students take The Healthy Kids survey every other year. For 2015, 65 percent of our high school children indicated that it was easy or very easy to get marijuana. The number of children under the age of 13 who have tried marijuana in Pueblo is 15.8 percent. 24% of teens use marijuana - saying it is less harmful and more acceptable than cigarettes. The marijuana proponents argue that this is not a significant number; I would say that it is. Almost one child in five under the age of 13 has tried or used marijuana.
11) The industry has been irresponsible in ramping up the concentration of THC (the psychoactive portion of marijuana) in all products. The literature is clear that growing and developing brains are adversely affected by marijuana (and these studies were done with low potency marijuana). Teenagers who use marijuana 2-3X per week are at significantly higher risk for bipolar disorder. I have seen numerous elderly patients in the ED with acute psychosis, acute nausea and vomiting, and accidental overdose secondary to the high dose edibles. I have seen a tremendous increase in emergency room visits for nausea and vomiting associated with cannabis.
12) The marijuana industry claims that marijuana will cure everything from Parkinson’s to insomnia, to pregnancy-induced vomiting, sleep apnea, arthritis, depression and more. None of those claims have been supported with peer-reviewed research. The medical community has no idea what the long-term benefits or consequences from marijuana will be. I have a friend who runs a large substance abuse program at the state hospital. She tells us that her methamphetamine addicts won’t use the marijuana here because it is too strong.
13) The marijuana industry promised safety to the community. Our jail is full, even overcrowded. Petty crime is up. There are vagrants everywhere here begging for money. The number of illegal grows has never been higher. All this takes police force time and personnel.
14) Our current homeless outreach center has had to close due to marked increase in demand for services and increased safety issues for those working there. Our soup kitchen has tripled the number of meals they provide. The soup kitchen has had a marked increase in the number of violent episodes there.
15) Finally, please know that I do not profit from the marijuana industry and I will not profit from the lack of marijuana. I am simply trying to paint a picture of how our community has changed. I am one of the many who provide emergency care. One year ago 257 of 300 community physicians signed an open petition in the paper in support of reversing the marijuana stance in our county. Many physicians did not publish their names for fear of retribution and threats (yes, that has happened). But please understand that there are reasons that the majority of medical, legal and educational professionals in the community oppose marijuana as a recreational substance in the area. Ask your local professionals how they feel before you vote.
More arguments against the legalization of recreational marijuana:
1) Chronic marijuana use, starting in adolescence, is associated with an average 8-point drop in IQ in mid-adulthood.
2) Marijuana use reduces motivation, determination and drive. Legalization will only breed a wasted population.
3) Marijuana use increases criminal behavior and unemployment, lowers incomes, causes greater welfare dependence, and lowers overall life satisfaction.
4) Marijuana disrupts the brain areas that regulate posture, memory, coordination, balance and reaction time. Drivers high on marijuana are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for a car accident. Law enforcement currently have no valid tests to determine marijuana DUI.
5) Someone who uses marijuana regularly has, on average, less gray matter in his/her orbital frontal cortex.
6) The hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory — is abnormally shaped in daily marijuana users. Even casual marijuana use causes abnormalities in the density, volume and shape of the brain.
7) Marijuana use doubles the risk of developing psychotic disorders like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia particularly in the young brain. It is now known beyond a doubt that cannabis acts as a component cause of psychosis.
8) Marijuana is addictive. No matter what proponents of marijuana use will tell you, marijuana use can lead to the development of a substance use disorder. 30 percent of users become dependent and 10 percent addicted. Those who start using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to become addicted. Marijuana passes directly to the fetus through the blood/brain barrier of pregnant users. Research has not even begun on long-term effects on the fetal brain.
9) Marijuana today is much stronger than it was in previous generations. The average THC level in today’s marijuana is approximately three-six times that of 1990. Oxy was reengineered to cause addiction within 7 days. Imagine what they'll do to make recreational weed more addictive.
10) There’s no question that marijuana does have some medicinal benefits. Its anti-inflammatory and pain-relief effects are well-documented. And animal studies have shown that it kills certain cancer cells, reduces the size of others, and increases the effects of radiation treatments. But this isn’t an argument for legalization of casual use. Opium also has medicinal benefits, and no one is saying that we should legalize heroin.

11) For those who think legalizing recreational marijuana is about liberty, remember, federal law bars ALL marijuana users from having guns or ammunition. That's why the Democrats have adopted the pro-marijuana and anti-gun platform for mid-terms.
“They’re going to have to make a choice,” said John T. Adams, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. “They can have their guns or their marijuana, but not both.”
Under federal law marijuana is still a controlled substance, meaning that people who are marijuana users are not able to lawfully possess a firearm regardless of the state laws,” says Lisa Meiman, a spokesperson for the ATF’s Denver field division. “If you are a user of a controlled substance such as marijuana, even with a medical license, even if it’s legal in the state to use recreationally, you are not permitted to own a firearm,” Meiman says.

12) As Tucker Carlson recently so brilliantly said: "Entire populations are rejecting establishment politicians around the world who refuse to take care of their voters and improve their lives. Drug addiction and suicide are depopulating our nation. If you really loved America, and loved our kids, as our leaders should, it should break your heart to see kids high all the time. Which they are.

A huge number of kids, especially boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that because technology has made it odorless. But it's everywhere. And it's not by accident. Once our leaders became aware they could get rich off marijuana, they made it ubiquitous, legalized it and decriminalized it. John Boener even lobbies for the marijuana industry.

They say it's better than alcohol. Who cares? They're missing the point. Try having a conversation with a 19 year old who has been smoking weed all day long. Gone, passive, flat, trapped in his own head. Do you want that for your kids? Of course not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. THEY DON'T CARE."”