Mr. Ethan Duncan
We cannot legalize marijuana in Vermont (or any other state, for that matter). It is too dangerous to us as people and as a society. The mental and physical harm that it causes is too great, it affects the lives and well-being of America’s future (kids and young adults), and the government, as it is with everything, would be ineffective in controlling the industry.
Marijuana undeniably has some benefits, which is probably why 22.2 million people have used it in the past month in the US, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. According to Business Insider, glaucoma treatment, epileptic seizure control, and anxiety decrease, are just some of marijuana’s supposed medical benefits. However, it should not be available to the everyday person for recreational purposes because the risks of smoking weed outweigh any potential benefits.
Image courtesy of ScubaBrett, via Flickr
First of all, the physical and mental harm that marijuana has on a person is simply crushing. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana affects brain development and impairs one’s long-term thinking ability, making it dangerous to young people, especially teenagers, who could suffer for the rest of their lives.
A study by the National Association of Sciences found that people who heavily smoked marijuana during their teenage years lost 8 IQ points on average between age 13 and age 38. Marijuana also causes breathing problems and lung irritation. The American Lung Association states that while they encourage the continued research of marijuana’s potential benefits, they caution the public against smoking marijuana and that it can cause “chronic bronchitis and marijuana smoke has been shown to injure the cell linings of the large airways, which could explain why smoking marijuana leads to symptoms such as chronic cough, phlegm production, wheeze and acute bronchitis.”
It also causes increased heart rate, which makes people more vulnerable to heart attacks. Studies also find that pregnant mothers who have smoked marijuana find their newborns have a lower birth weight on average and a greater chance of behavioral and brain development issues over time. Marijuana, according to LiveScience and the National Institute of Health, causes feelings of fear and panic, hallucinations, trouble concentrating, decreased ability to perform tasks, and decreased motivation. This is especially terrible for a nation in which people are developing a reputation of acting entitled and lazy.
Tim Trevithick, a counselor at CVU, spoke to the physical effects that he has seen in our own communities, stating that, “We have seen kids develop cases of cannabis psychosis. It used to be really rare, and now it is becoming less rare. Marijuana is highly celebrated by the pro-legalization side, but it is really one of the least understood drugs.”