[image: flower, stylized, 2009, JA Van Devender]
Isaiah 56:12 (NKJV)
12 “Come,” one says, “I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant.”
Cong. Andy Harris (R - Md, and a physician) wrote an opinion piece this morning for the Baltimore Sun. In it he quotes Dr. Howard Samuels, from Los Angeles, a drug and alcohol treatment specialist who says:
"Why are Americans in such a hurry to get high? Why are people fighting passionately to create legislation that could put this burgeoning generation at such high risk? Do we really want to create a culture that is full to bursting with adults who have no coping or self-soothing skills, who live their lives with unexplained panic disorders and high anxiety ..? … " (Read more: Here)
It's a pretty good article and asks a very important question. "Why is this so very important... that we legalize recreational marijuana?" (BTW - I do not address the medical use of marijuana here... as with other controlled drugs, there may be separate arguments advanced for that).
According to the article, legalization of marijuana has produced a dramatic increase in use among teen-agers where it is already at epidemic proportions. Corresponding to this increased use and correlated with it is are "associated learning and behavioral problems and poor school performance; and ... symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis and schizophrenia." The article states that these unintended consequences are statistically undeniable.
If that last statement is true then the adverse consequences of legalized marijuana have a greater basis in scientific proof than any projections of global warming or climate change. Yet on the one hand there is an essential dismissiveness of the concerns about marijuana among the same people who are wringing their hands and beating their breasts about climate change.
It seems to me, based mostly on anecdotal experience, that there has been a dramatic "dumbing down" among recent generations that may not be entirely explained by the decline in education and social stability. There does also appear to be a fairly dramatic increase in anxiety and "weirdness." Not all of this can be attributed to increased drug use and particularly marijuana, but neither can it, in my opinion, be divorced from it.
Harris asks a good question: "Why do something that will in fact accentuate the problems?" If some people are sincerely concerned that 2nd amendment rights have reached the point that gun control legislation should be expanded so as to decrease the number of gun related deaths in the country, why should we lessen restrictions of marijuana use if it is clearly shown that it will lead to more abuse of the drug, especially among teens?
I do not appeal to this argument based on equivalence of possible outcomes... murder is not the same as smoking pot... I am only stating it as a logical equivalence. If there is a direct statistically proven correlation between increased negative effects in one instance (marijuana) when legalization is undertaken, why should we pursue that if it is urged, on the other hand, where there is a definite absence of statistical correlation between legalized gun use and violent crime, that criminalization should be pursued?
This argument is pretty persuasive to me and, I admit, I have been generally undecided about legalization, mostly because of any parallels with alcohol abuse. This article has definitely tilted me away from that neutral position.
The question "why?" is a very good one and deserves serious, detached discussion.