Drug is harmful, addictive

Published 10:26 am Friday, November 20, 2009

By Staff
Monica Shockley
Guest Columnist
Over the last year or so there has been quite a bit of talk about marijuana becoming legal to possess.  The argument is that marijuana is not as harmful as alcohol, the state is spending too much money on trying to fight it, and the ever favorite — marijuana is not addictive.  Well, to give the argument its day in court, let’s examine the facts. 
Let’s take a look at the effects of marijuana and the effects of alcohol.  Alcohol is a depressant; it slows down the functions of the brain, releases the brain chemical dopamine. It can numb a person’s pain and it can make a person sleepy.  The more a person drinks, the central nervous system slows down and permanent changes can be made in the brain.  Short-term effects of alcohol consumption include poor coordination, double vision, lowered reasoning ability, lower heart rate, slowed breathing and anxiety.  From this information a person can say that the consumption of alcohol is harmful to the body.  The harmful effect becomes worse the more the person consumes.
Now let’s look at marijuana. Marijuana comes from a plant called Cannabis Sativa. This plant can be dried and smoked by the user.  Marijuana contains the chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or as otherwise known as THC. This chemical has been proven to change how the brain works. In addition, marijuana also has 400 other chemicals.  Side effects of this drug include problems with memory, changes in the senses, loss of sense of time passing, poor coordination, faster heart rate, higher rate of lung infections and difficulty thinking and solving problems.
Looking at the problems associated with the consumption of both alcohol and marijuana, it is clear that both are dangerous. 
The second argument is the state is spending too much money trying to enforce the laws against the use and possession of marijuana. It is a fact marijuana is illegal. The officers of the law are bound by the oath they take to uphold the laws. The district attorneys are bound to prosecute the law without bias. The laws are created by the Alabama Legislative Branch. Those representatives are bound by the people that they are elected by.  Now, if the argument still holds that the government is spending money on enforcing the law, then the answer is simple, quit smoking marijuana, or help prevent tits use. It would only seem appropriate during these hard financial times to do your part to help the government save money. 
When the inevitable happens, and the issue of legalizing marijuana comes up in your neighborhood, review the facts. Marijuana is dangerous and it can be addictive. Then ask yourself this question if you were getting on a plane or in a car and your driver or pilot was high from the use of marijuana, would you get in, would you trust your life to a person under the influence? I can tell you my answer; I would not want to take that chance.