The Continuing Cannabis Conundrum

We have previously written a number of blogs on cannabis, but it seems the problems won’t go away. So we’re writing about it again.

On January 4, 2018 Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the long-standing “Cole Memorandum” issued in 2013 by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole. These relate to the laws and enforcement policies of cannabis use by the federal government and the various state governments and their drug enforcement agencies. We won’t go into the details, as one expects these things to continue changing, and anyone can get that information off the current news reports.

Here’s what we said before about marijuana:

The conundrum is this:
§ On the one hand, we think that in an ideal society the government should not be interfering in the personal lives of individual citizens. We don’t like the government saying you can’t smoke pot and this is for your own good. It enforces a moral code by fiat without actually making the individual ethical and responsible.
§ On the other hand, we think that the rampant use of marijuana, whether “medical” or “recreational”, is harmful to society and not just harmful to individuals. It puts at risk everyone in contact with drug users, since some of the side effects can be violence, loss of coordination, perception distortions, slower reflexes, reduced mental functions, and so on.

So how do we reconcile these two different points of view? Especially since this is not, in any way, an ideal society.

Talking about marijuana means we are talking about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana. Psychoactive means that the drug changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness or behavior.

Because a tolerance builds up, marijuana can lead users to consume stronger drugs to achieve the same high. Marijuana itself does not lead the person to other drugs; people take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. The drug masks the problem for a time. When the high fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before.

We reject outright the point of view that marijuana is not harmful in any way. The anecdotal evidence as well as formal research on this is pretty clear, regardless of the public relations protestations to the contrary by people poised to make a lot of money from selling it. We do understand that for some people, some uncomfortable mental and physical symptoms seem to lessen with marijuana use; but one has to understand the why and the consequences of this.

How Do Drugs Work?
Drugs are essentially poisons. The amount taken determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant. A greater amount acts as a sedative. A still larger amount poisons and can kill. This is true of any drug. Only the amount needed to achieve the effect differs.

Drugs block off all sensations, the desirable ones along with the unwanted ones. While drugs might be of short-term value in the handling of pain, they wipe out ability, alertness, and muddy one’s thinking. One always has a choice between being dead with drugs or alive without them.

Drugs affect the mind and destroy creativity. Drug residues lodge in the fatty tissues of the body and stay there, continuing to adversely affect the individual long after the effect of the drug has apparently worn off.

What Can We Do?
How can we resolve this conundrum and come up with some compromise that maintains individual choice and responsibility while at the same time protecting society from the accidents and mistakes and damaging or destructive behaviors that will inevitably occur by legions of pot heads on a high?

It’s no small decision. We do have a suggestion. We’re not sure anyone is listening. The psychiatrists and psychologists can’t wait to have more clients with drug-induced psychoses and their insurance; the pot growers, pot sellers, and tax men are already salivating over the expected profits; the police, attorneys and courts are lined up to take cases; and the users are too stoned to care.

We’d like to hear, first, how you might consider resolving this conundrum. As a society we need to reach an agreement about this, before every state in the union goes off making a conflicting bunch of new laws. It is their constitutional right, after all; but just because they can, should they? And just because you can smoke pot, should you?

For more information, read through the blogs referenced above. Then let us know what you think.

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