Myth: Marijuana is Harmless and Non-Addictive.
Here are the facts. Marijuana of the past few decades and up until the early ’90’s, averaged about 4% THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) and a joint of marijuana weighed about 0.25 grams. Marijuana today typically averages THC levels of 20%, and blunts (a marijuana-rolled cigar) is averaging close to a gram of marijuana. Smoking one blunt today at 20% THC, is like smoking 16 old-school marijuana joints.
Marijuana is not as addictive as tobacco or heroin, but its addiction rate is one in every 11 adults who have ever tried it. The adolescent addiction rate is 1 in 6. Science shows that marijuana is addictive, especially when used by adolescents.
Myth: Smoked or Eaten Marijuana is Medicine.
Independent sources say that while there is some evidence of some medical benefits in specific circumstances. Most medical professionals believe there are better medical options that are more effective and with considerably more control.
A recent study found the average “patient” pursuing a marijuana regiment, was a 32-year old white male with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and no history of life threatening disease.
As a side note, there is medicine available, such as Marinol that contains the medicinal qualities of marijuana without getting high.
Myth: Countless People are Behind Bars Simply for Smoking Marijuana
According to recent studies by the Bureau of Justice, only 1 tenth of 1 percent (0.1%) of people in state prisons are serving sentences for first-time marijuana possession.
Myth: The Legality of Alcohol and Tobacco Strengthen the Case for Legal Marijuana
Researching a variety of sources, alcohol kills 100,000 people annually, and tobacco kills another 500,000 people each year. These two legal drugs are the biggest contributors to healthcare costs in this country. Because of its prevalence, alcohol is far worse than any of our currently illegal drugs, including crack cocaine.
But the tremendous costs of alcohol and tobacco shouldn’t be an excuse to add to the problems that would be associated with legalizing marijuana.
Myth: Legalizing Marijuana will Solve Government’s Budgetary Challenges
Looking at the economics, society gains about $15 to $20 billion dollars a year from the taxes imposed on alcohol, while it loses over $200 billion per year in healthcare, criminal justice and other costs directly related to alcohol use and abuse. That’s a 10:1 ratio of costs to revenue. Society gains about $25 billion from the taxes collected from tobacco, but that doesn’t come close to the more than $200 billion in lost social costs from tobacco use.
Myth: Portugal & Holland Provide Successful Models of Legalizing Marijuana
There is no basis for this myth. Holland and Portugal’s drug use is skyrocketing, while death rates and medical costs are skyrocketing right along side increased usage rates. Every country that has legalized drugs has regretted it and has started a path back to criminalization.
Myth: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment are Doomed to Fail – So Why Try?
It is estimated that for every dollar we invest in drug use prevention efforts, up to $10 is saved in drug treatment costs.