Sunday, Sep 21, 2014
Columns

Maglio: Our nation is going to pot


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Tobacco smoking has not been outlawed in the United States, although every type of psychological and physiological negative fact has been used to frighten the public. Cigarette smoking has been banned in most work places, restaurants and even public outdoor spaces like parks. Although cigarette smoking has increased worldwide it has been decreasing in the United States.

Through well-planned anti-smoking campaigns, smokers have been made to feel guilty for harming innocent non-smokers through second hand smoke. Cigarette smokers have been vilified as selfish individuals sucking up our healthcare resources.

Marijuana coalition groups were able to pass legislation for recreational usage of pot by using a pro propaganda campaign. This is the first time a state in the USA has legalized recreational marijuana use. The arguments they are using to glorify pot have been around since the 1960s. Pot is a social euphoric drug whose effects are supposedly less detrimental to self and others than alcohol. It is touted as a victimless drug, which it is not. It can ruin lives, especially children's but advocates counter with, "it only causes people to become passive and mellow, harmless to others."

They say the legalization of pot will increase needed state tax revenue, tourism, and launch a new industry. The elimination of the drug cartel will stop the wasting of tax money fighting the unwinnable "War on Drugs." There will be no increase in accidents, psychiatric treatment, intoxication, addiction to pot and harder drugs or swelling the welfare rolls. Education and employment motivation issues will become inconsequential once it becomes socially acceptable.

These questionable arguments have convinced enough Colorado voters to create a statewide experiment. They will be front and center observing firsthand the devastation and impact it will have on youngsters in the state. The scientific evidence will no longer be able to be ignored or dismissed.

Marijuana does impact children's mental capabilities, puts them at risk for physical addiction and mentally for psychological disorders. Added to this is the fact that pot is 4 times more potent than when it was widely introduced in the 1960s by the creation of a hybrid producing high THC levels.

These voters probably do not realize marijuana usage has been shown to decrease memory, concentration, problem solving and motivation. Heavy teenage pot intake has been shown to decrease IQs by eight percentage points. Marijuana is addictive for 9 percent of adults. This percentage increases as the age of the user decreases. Presently one out of six young users are addicted to it. For more than 20 years studies have demonstrated it to be a gateway drug especially for younger users.

The physical effect of pot leads to rapid heartbeat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, (car accidents have doubled with its use) sleeplessness, panic attacks, anxiety, depression and psychosis.

The past 10 years of medical marijuana prescriptions have shown dangerous trends. The highest number of student expulsions from Colorado high schools already are shown to be for pot use. The number of emergency room visits for marijuana in the Denver area tripled from 2004-2011. A nationwide marijuana funded survey released in 2013 found a 34 percent increase in the source of pot for 12th-graders came from medical marijuana prescriptions.

The recreational use of marijuana has resulted in an offshoot industry of "edible pot." These range from candy to food blends and baked goods. There will be many variations introduced into the diet of Americans. Vending machines will provide unlimited opportunities for children to be introduced into a gateway drug at a very early age.

This will be a frightening experiment because access for Colorado youths to the drug will increase. These physical, mental and psychological effects of marijuana increase with duration, frequency of use and potency of the drug. This inevitable increase in accessibility will allow researchers to better evaluate the actual impact of pot as compared to booze. The results of this research will speak for itself.

There are thousands of adults moving to Colorado to buy and use pot without having to worry about the law. If these people can function earning a living they will not be a burden on society. They are adults who can weigh the evidence and choose their own destiny. However, we should demand the progressive politicians not develop programs to bail out non-functioning potheads from their chosen lifestyle. There should be specific limits to addicts receiving government handouts that enable them to live unproductively.

The pot issue is much more bleak for our children than for mature adults who can better moderate its usage. For youngsters the increased accessibility and the societal approval of this gateway drug before they are emotionally mature enough to weigh the pros and cons is much more disturbing and problematic.

Our nation is going to pot and perhaps legalizing cocaine, heroin and other addictive drugs will follow. The Colorado experiment has to be studied objectively not subjectively or politically. We all have a stake in our future generations of producers and leaders who are needed for our country to prosper. A more unmotivated workforce full of potheads would be a major handicap to our economy in this competitive world.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program in Spring Hill. Visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.

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