Pubdate: Mon, 20 Apr 2009
Source: Spartan Daily (San Jose State, CA Edu)
Copyright: 2009 Spartan Daily
Author: Michael Le Roy
Bookmark: (Opinion)
Bookmark: (Marijuana - California)


Today is April 20, and today is as good as any to continue the debate
on legalizing marijuana. In February, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San
Francisco, proposed bill AB 390 which would legalize the sale and
possession of marijuana in California.

It's time to reform marijuana laws in this state. We should not
legalize marijuana, but some changes are needed.

In the past, medical doctors condemned marijuana and promoted
cigarettes. Times have changed, cigarettes are the "bad guy" and pot
is recommended by doctors. A doctor's recommendation is not enough to
determine if a substance is safe.

Much like your morning English class, marijuana has the following side
effects: anxiety, memory loss, loss of motor skills, trouble with
thinking and problem solving, distorted perception, decrease in muscle
strength and increased heart rate.

All those side effects will be just great on our crowded streets and
freeways. The drivers here are bad enough already, and even if you
prohibit marijuana users from driving high, all that pot they smoked
over the years will dull their senses.

Can you imagine the hoards of people who will be on the freeway with
decades of pot smoking under their belts driving 50 mph in the fast
lane? One Canadian study noted teens who smoked five joints a week
experienced a 4.1 point drop in their IQ. One can only imagine how
profound the IQ drop can be after many decades of marijuana use.

Forget the stoner myth that marijuana is not addictive. If it was not
addictive, then why would there be 12-step programs such as marijuana
anonymous? The U.S. Department of Justice states on its Web site that
in 1999, about 200,000 people have entered substance-abuse treatment
primarily for marijuana.

Making marijuana legal tomorrow will not cure all the people addicted
to it. There is a large number of people in jail right now for
possession or the sale of marijuana, and freeing them tomorrow and
letting them buy marijuana at 7-Eleven won't help.

They should not be incarcerated, but they should be in treatment. A
change in the law is necessary to help marijuana addicts get help, not
just make it easier for them to feed their addiction.

What people say and how they vote are often two separate things. Many
thought there was no way Proposition 8 would pass, but it did. If
California makes marijuana legal, I am sure many frustrated people in
the gay community will ask, "Why is pot legal, but my marriage isn't?"

I have a feeling that, much like Proposition 8, many voters in this
state do not support legalizing marijuana, but they are not as vocal
as the minority that do.

This recession is teaching us that we as a country cannot rest on our
laurels. Other nations are catching up quick in science and
technology. Just ask yourself this: Will marijuana help us or hurt us
as a country?

Emerging high-tech countries like India and China are not going to
legalize pot anytime soon.

Also, employers are not going to drop their restrictive drug polices
even if it's legalized, so to have a good job you can't expect to be
able to smoke marijuana. Would you be OK with a police officer being
addicted to marijuana?

The state should work on helping people with their addictions, be it
marijuana or alcohol, legalization will just make the problem more
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake