Myth 7 – Our Jails Are Filled With Marijuana-Only Abusers
This is simply wrong!
This point is generally cited as one the greatest reasons for legalizing marijuana. However, studies show that it is very rare to charge and sentence someone to jail for simply possessing or trafficking marijuana. If fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics, less than 2% of the country’s state inmate population has been convicted of marijuana-only crimes! And less than 1% have been put in jail for marijuana-only possession charges!
So, it is a misnomer to say that our jails are filled with marijuana-only users. This is simply not true.
The truth is that most individuals charged with marijuana offenses are also charged with other offenses, such as acts of violence, theft, etc. That’s because drug abuse invariably leads to violence (as previously mentioned)! And drug abusers are generally charged with other offenses – in addition to marijuana violations. Why? Because those who abuse drugs make other poor decisions – such as committing thefts, driving while under the influence, committing domestic violence, etc.
Further, the simple possession of a small amount of marijuana is generally just a minor misdemeanor – or even just a citation in some jurisdictions. But using the drug and being involved with others that use the drug generally leads to additional criminal activities.
Myth 8 – Marijuana is Hard to Get
Well, if you’re a kid, you likely know this is false. In fact, more than half of the U.S. population aged 12 – 17 has reported that it’s easy to get marijuana. This may not be a surprise to many, but may be a surprise to some parents.
Also, marijuana is generally just as easy to get in the inner-city as in the suburbs. In other words, the vast majority of youth are exposed to marijuana. And not surprisingly, marijuana users are becoming younger and younger. In one report, the number of 9th graders that reported trying marijuana increased from approximately 9% in 1990 to 19% in 2001.
Myth 9 – Marijuana Has Proven Medicinal Value
This is an often cited reason for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes – which some states have done. This is not completely a myth, but it isn’t the strongest argument either.
Some studies have shown that marijuana can help AIDS and cancer patients as a pain reliever. In other words, marijuana acts kind of like an extra-strength Tylenol or Advil in terms of pain relief – with psychological and hallucinogenic effects. Even studies that show some medicinal value for marijuana almost invariably show the negative side effects of the drug.
Smoked marijuana leads to health problems – as mentioned previously in this article – not health improvements. And smoked marijuana holds no proven long-term medical benefits. That’s why marijuana was listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
Further, marijuana contains the chemical THC which gives it its psychoactive effects. While THC can be useful in treating some medical problems, studies seem to indicate that this is generally best done through the use of synthetic THC.
There is no shortage of nationwide resources
as far as information about marijuana and other substances are concerned.
Next, we’ll go over myth 10.