This November, Californians will once again be called upon to vote on a potentially nation-changing piece of state legislation: the legalization of medicinal marijuana. And our country will anxiously await the results.
While not the first state to seek this legalization, this vote has the potential to forever alter the future of our country for the worse. That’s right, medicinal marijuana should not be legalized.
I understand the medical benefits from legalizing this drug, as well as the economic relief that such a bill could offer; yet I believe there is a larger discussion to be had before voting.
Dangerous effects of such a legalization would result in the direct increase of stoned individuals getting behind the wheel of an automobile. Yet, for anyone deemed to be under suspicion for driving as such, there remains no on-the-spot test to be offered by law enforcement.
Currently, drunk drivers are held subject to a field sobriety test that consists of a short walk–easy for any high individual–and a breathalyzer test. The breathalyzer detects ethanol presence in the user’s breath, but not the presence of marijuana.
No such test detects the presence of weed, especially within a reasonable amount of time since initial consumption.
Ways to currently test for traces of marijuana include hair tests and urine tests. But both of these tests fail the initial roadside adjudication of drivers; weed can stay imbedded in your hair for many weeks, as well as your urine.
Abusers of marijuana would rise, as would the amount of people partaking in high-rides.
In addition to what would surely be an increase in car accidents and needless traffic hazards, consider, if you will, the long term effects of legalizing weed.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, teenagers and young adults have shown an increasing abuse of prescription drugs in recent years.
More specifically, adolescent abuse of pain meds in the United States is overshadowed only by marijuana.
Of those who abuse prescription drugs, teenagers ages 12 to 17 rank second in the country behind young adults 18 to 25. Even more startling, prescribed drugs are most commonly abused by 12 and 13-year-olds. These are the same teenagers’ hands with whom we will some day entrust our country.
Legalizing marijuana as a prescription drug has the potential to greatly increase the already massive drug abuse problem amongst today’s teens. Such an increase would greatly affect another pandemic of today’s youth: a further decrease in national school test scores.
A critical stage of one’s schooling is the time spent between junior high school and the first few years of high school. With national test scores mediocre at best, for marijuana to be made legal for medicinal purposes would only increase the abuse of prescription medication by adolescents, thus careening our nation’s test scores straight into the bong water.
Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. If we allow a currently illegal narcotic to further penetrate the youth of our country, we will forever chide ourselves for such a grievous mistake.
The state of California has a massive sway in regards to the rest of the United States when it comes to voting on legislation.
Should this bill pass, many other states may follow; the next step in the march to the downfall of our country would commence posthaste.
The No Child Left Behind Act has done enough harm to this country’s educational institutions and, by proxy, our future. Can we really afford to legalize the greatest proponent to lethargy amongst young people today? I think not.