Take A Toke and Pass It Around!

potIn a recent interview Obama said that while marijuana use is a bad habit, he doesn’t  believe it’s more dangerous than  alcohol.  He also believes that it is  “important” that the legalization of the drug in some  states  “go forward” because it would prevent unfair penalties for some users.  Obama reasons that it’s okay to destroy the health of many because there is a higher percentage of minorities arrested than whites.  We certainly wouldn’t want to be unfair to those who break the law!

Pot is not a joke, it’s  a drug and like all drugs, it is dangerous.  Studies have shown that cannabis contains 50 to 70%  more cancer causing substances than tobacco smoke.  One study concluded that a single joint could cause as much damage to your  lungs as chain-smoking five cigarettes.  Long term users  suffer permanent lung damage.

The active ingredient in cannabis, is THC,  which because it is fat soluble, can remain in the body for up to three weeks.    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, when marijuana is smoked, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, carrying the chemical to the brain and other organs throughout the body,  overactivating the endocannabinoid system, which gives the user a high.

High doses can produce a temporary psychotic reaction in some users and it will worsen symptoms of schizophrenics.  In addition to a high, smoking pot distorts perceptions, impairs coordination and thinking, causes short-term memory loss,  disorientation, dry mouth, dry eyes, anxiety, and paranoia.   Smoking pot raises the heart rate for up to 3 hours by 20 to 100% and increases the risk of heart attack within the first hour of smoking a joint.

Research has shown that with heavy extended use pot impacts learning and memory for up to 4 weeks.  Some studies have linked the use of pot to an aggressive type of testicular cancer in young men.  If used during pregnancy, it can alter the baby’s brain function causing permanent attention and memory problems. In addition, smoking pot while taking prescription drugs may cause the liver to metabolize the prescription drug more slowly raising the risk of drug toxicity.

A 2008 study in Australia linked heavy use to brain abnormalities; changes similar to those caused by long-term drug abuse.   And much like other drugs, marijuana is addictive.  Estimates from research studies show that about 9% of users will develop an addiction,  especially among those who start smoking young.  Other studies have concluded that marijuana may increase the craving for heavier drugs.  One in 6 young pot smokers become addicted according to the National Institute of Health.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, pot is the second most common substance found in traffic accidents and deaths.

As far as its medical use.  A 2010 study from the Center for Medicinal Cannabis said smoking pot can reduce muscle spasms associated with MS and pain associated with brain injuries and illness.  But a group of doctors disagree.  The Physician coalition Against Medical Marijuana say that pot is an inferior medicine when compared to other choices, not a scientifically validated way to relieve pain or suffering, and a pill, Marinol, which has a pure form of the psychoactive THC is already on the market.

So who is pushing the legalization and why? 

There is big money behind the push to legalize this dangerous drug: Our favorite Socialist George Soros, John Sperling of the Apollo Group, George Zimmer of Men’s Warehouse; John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin; and the late Peter Lewis of Progressive insurance, to name only a few.

According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, the annual sales, including illegal sales, of marijuana amount to about $20 billion a year and the sale of medical marijuana about $1.5 billion.

An article in Rolling Stone said that what  we’re witnessing now is a political movement giving birth to an economic awakening. The struggle to end the War on Drugs – at heart a movement to stop the mass incarceration of black men – is creating one of the greatest business opportunities of the 21st century and one of biggest sources of tax revenue for states and the federal government.

Already Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon is seeking to have the Justice Department to cross marijuana off the government’s Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act.  And I’m certain that once Congress gets a whiff of the amount of money the government can steal off legalization, they’ll start working on ways to tax it.  

Life is a gift, to be lived with purpose, not in some drug stupor.

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