I grew up in a strict household. My parents were an interesting blend of hippie and conservative, and my education about drugs went as far as “Don’t do them.” D.A.R.E. was big back when I was in middle school, and the education about marijuana mirrored the message from my parents, which in the long run, didn’t do much in terms of prevention. (I understand D.A.R.E. has updated their curriculum, understanding that lectures about drugs don’t work.)
When we moved from the smog and riots of California to the mountainous beauty of Colorado, they chose Manitou Springs as our homebase for the latter years of our education, since they had a fabulous school district and we could not afford the private school that I so longed to attend. Manitou was harder to start as “the new kid,” since everyone had known each other since kindergarten, but we ended up loving it. My sister made lifelong friends, and I further developed my passion for singing and writing. The fact that our building was one big square, the classes were small, and the teachers knew everyone, made it nearly impossible to skip class. Of course, some (most) of my classmates smoked weed, as I imagine kids did in other high schools across the nation… stuff that they would score from sketchy houses and sketchier people; adults who were preying on children’s stupidity and naïveté. Manitou Springs High School had its share of wealthy children who maybe weren’t dabbling in hardcore drugs, but they were supporting the black market by purchasing cannabis with their parent’s cash. Sometimes the weed was laced with other drugs, but you wouldn’t know until someone was throwing up or turning green or bouncing off the walls. The dangers of black market drugs goes far beyond what I experienced in high school. We had no idea about anything except that drugs were bad and had to be kept a secret, even if a situation when awry. There was no mention of the black market, or of the other dangers that were present when you enter a drug dealer’s house. Again, fear-mongering without discussion to back it up does nothing.
[Drug] fear-mongering without discussion to back it up does nothing.
As time has passed and we have a nation have learned more about the benefits of medicinal marijuana, the tone has begun to change, but not fast enough. We are still stuck in this mentality, and frankly, brainwashing, that says that marijuana is the enemy, when in fact, the black market is the enemy. Marijuana has been deemed illegal in the United States since the early 1900s, and even though you’d think we would have learned from Prohibition that these types of laws do not work ― they instead help to create some of the most violent and dangerous criminals in history ― we continue to allow more fear-mongering and made-up “facts” from those in our government. Every single day, more information is being dispersed from our government to the media to try and snuff out the progress that is possible within the cannabis industry. If you think marijuana is “bad”, you are wrong. And I’d like to show you why…
Marijuana does not have to get you high in order to help your health. CBD oil is non-psychoactive, so you can experience the health benefits of cannabis without altering your mind. CBD and medicinal marijuana have become an invaluable medicine for those with seizures, anxiety, depression, and PTSD, just to name a few.
The cannabis industry is an industry where women and minorities can grow, shine, and create change, something I personally think is lacking in the United States’ business sector.
Marijuana use among teenagers does not increase after legalization, as we have seen in Colorado.
Crime decreases in communities where marijuana is legal. This directly ties to the fact that the black market cartels and individuals are losing their stronghold on the industry.
Marijuana is not addictive like the prescription medications doctors are so eager to prescribe. Big Pharma is a multi-billion dollar industry that the cannabis industry directly threatens. No one has EVER died from marijuana use or overdose. In a country like the US where we have an opioid state of emergency (as declared by president Trump in August 2017), and alcohol use is promoted and glorified, even though these two substances cause numerous deaths every day, is pure insanity. According to the CDC: “Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, more than any year on record. Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.”
The tax benefits for our communities and countries is monumental. There are millions of dollars being left on the table by not fully legalizing marijuana on the recreational level. We are continuing to allow drug dealers to invade our schools and prey on our children by not killing their business off.
The cannabis industry gives back to their community. This is not a greedy industry, and they want to help improve the communities that support them.
Eventually, marijuana will be legalized across our great nation, allowing us to take control of an industry that has nothing but amazing things to offer us. As time goes on, I have no doubt that we will learn even more about cannabis and its many benefits, and we will wonder why we didn’t legalize it earlier.