Way,way back in the sixties and seventies smoking a joint was a kind of mini-protest against the cocktail crowd and a way  not just to relax but also to enter a different, more laid back world. Yet, like most things in this universe there is no free lunch.  Smoking marijuana over time is not benign (and then again neither is gulping down cocktail after cocktail).

Long term side effects  occur including  amotivational syndrome, which is characterized by a a lack of interest in most things except perhaps smoking  another doobie; chronic scarring of the lungs (though much, much less so than nicotine laced cigarettes) and possibly even cancer.  Driving when stoned is not a great idea and many injuries and deaths have been caused by this (though again, much less than alcohol). Rapid heart rates and of course the well known increase in appetite are also seen.

Yet marijuana has some beneficial effects as well. It lowers the pressure within the eyes and is therefore used for glaucoma patients, who have not been helped by traditional medications.  It treats nausea very well.  Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer have been able to stop vomiting after taking a few hits. Chronic pain sufferers claim that it helps with pain, although this indication has not been widely accepted in the medical literature.

I believe that marijuana should be legalized-not because it is yet another drug to make us high, but rather because people will smoke it regardless and why not tax the heck of it just as we do with cigarettes?  There are no reputable studies which show that marijuana use leads to other, more dangerous drugs.  Legalization means regulation, so growers would be forced to use approved pesticides.  Organized crime would lose a valuable source of funding. Our neighbors in Mexico would not be dying in order to produce a product consumed primarily by Americans. We are having all papers scribbled by visit this company.

Just because it is legal doesn’t mean your kids will go off the deep end smoking the stuff-after all, consuming loads of soft drinks, chips and God knows what other sugar laced, empty calories keeps them happy enough without the marijuana!