The Downside of Legal Marijuana

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  The Downside of Legal Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on November 29, 2014 at 07:49:09 PT
By Paul Steinberg 
Source: Washington Post 

Washington, D.C. -- With the legalization of marijuana by District voters this month, the fun begins for some, and pitfalls begin for others. As the kinks are worked out before the distribution and sales arrangements are unveiled, we can look at what we have gotten ourselves into.The legalization of pot takes marijuana out of the shadows, removing it from the black-market economy that fosters further criminal activity. It could potentially allow the government to monitor its use and sales and to tax these sales. It eliminates a whole category of criminal trials and incarcerations.
Another benefit may be a reduction in alcohol-impaired driving. Colorado has seen a significant decrease in alcohol-related traffic deaths since the legalization of marijuana took effect in January.Yet there are major downsides. Regular marijuana use, particularly daily, affects motivation and ambition. Marijuana, maybe more than other drugs, helps people care less. But caring is an important emotion. And learning to care less without drugs is a valuable coping skill. As a psychiatrist, I have seen men and women in their 30s and 40s wondering what they could have accomplished had they not been smoking weed daily as teenagers and young adults. Ambition and motivation are terrible things to waste. We have no way of measuring motivation. But, as with pornography, we know it when we see it — and when we don’t.Also, marijuana is addictive — not as much as cocaine or opiates but addictive nevertheless. Some people confuse addictiveness, physical dependency and tolerance. Marijuana does not cause a physical dependency. It does not have a physical withdrawal syndrome, unlike withdrawal from alcohol or opiates. And it does not produce increased tolerance to its effects over time.Marijuana follows the same principles of any other addictive drug. Consider the principle reflected in a Japanese proverb initially applied to alcohol: “First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes the drink, then the drink takes the man.” Likewise, anyone who smokes weed long enough will reach a point at which the marijuana is smoking him. The chemicals in cannabis attach to the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain, and we can become chemically addicted to external cannabinoids — marijuana.Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to create a legal age for inhaling weed of 35 or 40 — the age at which people might be able to use marijuana responsibly, without a huge effect on their lives. The law passed in the District allows for smoking and absorbing marijuana products at age 21, just as with alcohol. At the very least, however, we should discourage its regular and daily use until later adulthood.Prohibition of alcohol did not work in the early 20th century; perhaps prohibition of marijuana makes no sense either. Still, despite my usual decisiveness and despite my knowledge of the issue, I found myself freezing up in the voting booth on Nov. 4. I easily could have voted either way. I ended up voting against legalization because I could not help but think of all the teenagers and young adults who would learn to consider marijuana innocuous, who would not learn naturally how to care less and who might become addicted to daily pot use and lose motivation and ambition.In whatever way we unveil the legal use of marijuana, let’s make sure we do not create future generations of genuine slackers.The writer is a psychiatrist.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author: Paul SteinbergPublished: November 28, 2014Copyright: 2014 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL:  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #9 posted by HempWorld on November 29, 2014 at 18:36:20 PT
Thank you Sammy/observer!
What is the downside? Really? What was the 'downside' to ending prohibition(of alcohol)... or of (fill in the blanks) ... ?Can you answer me that Mr. Paul Steinberg?Are you Jewish? Then please read: www.legaliseit.comHow Marijuana was made criminal;"the movement (prohibition of marijuana) was intended to subtract (i.e. kill, etc.) emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark- haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists." Normalization of society, stop creating false divisions.Thank you!
Legalize It!
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Comment #8 posted by MikeEEEEE on November 29, 2014 at 18:20:37 PT
Power Corrupt$
The fact is, some people do not have a moral compass, and that's where they are dangerous, even more so when deciding for other people. 
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on November 29, 2014 at 18:10:55 PT
There was just an article in the NT Times a few days ago on the East German government - when they found out someone had a large collection of private art the Stasi would raid the property and seize (steal) the art. The art owner in the story was raided and then the govt. had a psychiatrist forcibly commit him to jail for a year or two so he couldn't fight back. In Russia today the govt. frequently uses mental health professionals' bogus diagnosis and orders to commit political activists to inpatient facilities for years.This article is a great example of why people must live free, with no moral laws imposed, only the barest minimum laws possible to stop people from physically hurting each other or stealing, etc. As soon as the govt. gives license to one set of people to control another person with guns it only goes downhill from there. These psych professionals used to cut out people's brains and body parts here in the USA just a few years ago. JFK's father had his sister lobotomized because he didn't like her's the East German article:>Between 1973 and 1989 the East German police, known as the Stasi, seized more than 200,000 objects in hundreds of raids, according to experts and official archives. As part of a broader government program to secure Western currency through the sale of the art, the police went after collectors like Mr. Meissner, who, when he objected, was sent, at 79, to a psychiatric hospital and portrayed as an enemy of the state.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on November 29, 2014 at 17:29:23 PT

The battle isn't over. We have to remember there are people that really need to see this so we don't get too confident. 
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Comment #5 posted by Swazi-X on November 29, 2014 at 16:20:56 PT

Limp Argument Using Stale Lies
For someone ostensibly as educated as a psychiatrist you'd think the writer would include facts gleaned from current research to support his personal viewpoint against cannabis. Instead it's just words slapped together using the same old "cannabis is bad, mmmmmkay?" BS stencil.I'm not a Scientologist, but the one thing I do agree with in their philosophy is that Psychiatrists are irrelevant and dangerous, and the profession comes from a long history of human abuse and experimentation against the patient's will. Look up the beginnings of this pseudo-science-based profession and you'll be shocked to see the damage they've done to people over the years since they gained the power to act with almost complete impunity.This waste of time of an article shouldn't be posted in any serious cannabis news outlet. Get a grip - don't give web space to such clearly uneducated, non-scientific, personally skewed fluff pieces clearly intended to muddy the waters of this critical issue. Don't be the people who bow to pressure to allow stilted non-evidence-based anti-cannabis views to be printed under the guise of "fair and balanced" reporting. If this clown had any logical argument to make backed by science honestly presented - we're all eyes. This POS was none of the above, and is worse than a blank page if your intention was keeping new articles coming.
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Comment #4 posted by JohnOBonno on November 29, 2014 at 15:52:10 PT:

Whenever job applicants are no longer subjected ..
 .. to pre employment screening for THC , perhaps this phenomenon of slackers will fade away.
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Comment #3 posted by observer on November 29, 2014 at 14:58:31 PT

Psychiatrist for Rent
re: "In whatever way we unveil the legal use of marijuana, let’s make sure we do not create future generations of genuine slackers."His bottom-line concern for not creating "slackers" (a new category in his DSM bible?) is most touching. My upper lip begins to quiver with emotion when I think about such potential "slackers" - and I forget about the police state that literally enslaves such "slackers" with literal chains, literal bars, and real honest-to-goodness concrete concrete. Yet this jail-for-profit system force-works such "slackers" at a prison sweatshop for 25 cents an hour - charging 5$ for a roll of T.P., there in prison. re: "The writer is a psychiatrist."His ambivalence may be a reflection of a larger "psychiatrist" issue. In general, these government-licensed professionals can be purchased for whatever shade of professional testimony that is expedient - as long as you can pay the piper-psychiatrist, that is.See: where "Margaret Hagen, Ph.D, reveals how expert psychological testimony is a total fraud". So the psychiatrist's indecision is quite understandable, when we follow the money. At least he admitted some benefits of cannabis, tepidly. That's some progress.
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Comment #2 posted by Vincent on November 29, 2014 at 08:39:54 PT:

Wrestling with his conscience? Really?
After the second paragraph in this guy's tirade, I could see where he was going with this. He calls himself a Psychiatrist, but he sounds like Archie Bunker! Then, when he says that he was "freezing up in the voting booth on Nov. 4", was he trying to convince anybody that he was, ahem, "conflicted"? Give me a break! He knew that he was going to vote "NO" on that issue from jumpstreet!
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on November 29, 2014 at 08:24:30 PT

downside argument very weak
The downside? What is this guy’s argument? That it is better to arrest people (and as we all know it will be mostly poor, minority and otherwise disadvantaged people) jail them, and give them a criminal record rather than maybe have them become slackers in their youth? This guy can say this and not sound ignorant and insensitive?  How about a difficult home life, inadequate educational experience, and depressed economy that offers few job prospects that can affect ones outlook more than anything.
He seems to be blaming one thing on another.

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