The dangers of medicinal pot
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 14:10
Last Thursday, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the initiative seeking to legalize medical marijuana in Arkansas may stay on the ballot.
This means that on Nov. 6, we will get the chance to decide whether Arkansas becomes the first Southern state to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes. The ruling comes after a conservative action group brought suit against the measure, claiming its title could mislead voters.
This debate is not new—many students have discussed this issue at great lengths in conversation and in The Herald, and many have expressed their support for the issue.
However, what many fail to realize is as promising as medicinal ‘pot’ may seem, legalizing this drug for medical purposes may bring far more problems than we realize.
The text of the ballot measure said it will seek to establish “a system for the cultivating, acquisition and distribution of marijuana for qualifying patients through nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries” and will authorize “limited cultivation of marijuana by qualifying patients or designated caregivers.”
Also, certain individuals will have the right to grow marijuana, as long as they strictly follow the regulations in place.
But the likelihood of marijuana growers following all the rules and not selling it illegally is slim.
Just ask California police, who have struggled to keep this under control, spending much time, effort and money to keep marijuana growers within the legal constraints of the system, according to an NBC News article entitled “Marijuana grows openly in California towns as traffickers hide behind laws, police say.”
Gov. Mike Beebe expressed his concern about the issue, stating in a Reuters article, “It’s going to require a whole lot of administration from the health department. I don’t know where we’re going to get it from.”
Another potential consequence is the harm brought to average neighborhoods and communities like Jonesboro.
Bill Wheeler of the Families First Action Committee said it best when he noted that houses known to grow marijuana will entice thieves and criminals, adversely affecting property values and the safety of neighborhoods in general.
But my main problem with the law is proponents fail to answer this simple question: if marijuana is simply another type of medicine, why must it be exempt from the regular FDA process of going through a registered pharmacy?
The law clearly assumes “qualifying patients” will not abuse the drug, for it does not provide enough protective measures.
Sadly, many who would be prescribed marijuana may neither realize nor care about the risks involved.
According to drugabuse.gov, marijuana is an addictive substance that can lead to depression and aggressive behavior when abused.
We need to more carefully examine the effects and conduct more studies to validate its use before making it widely available.
If not, I fear we could end up legalizing a drug that will harm not only the general public, but also the very ones it promises to help.