Marijuana Use

Due to the increasing number of states legalizing the use of marijuana both medically and recreationally, marijuana continues to be the most misunderstood drug out there.  Normalizing this drug has become more prominent in the state of Missouri since the passing of Amendment 2 in November 2019. The Northland Coalition is working hard to educate the community on the harms of marijuana and how to protect our youth.  The right to get high is not worth the risk to our communities and especially our youth.

Here are some important facts about marijuana:


Myth: Marijuana can help cure symptoms of cancer.
Fact: Scientists have proven that Marijuana has 400 “unstable” chemicals” and four times more carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) than tobacco smoke.  Marijuana has been shown to WEAKEN the immune system and aggravate pre-existing conditions in AIDS patients, organ transplant recipients, and chemotherapy patients, all of which are the target of medical marijuana. Additionally, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the active ingredients in marijuana, is significantly associated with respiratory infection and tumor growth. One of the main reasons why marijuana may cause cancer is because it is considerably linked to DNA damage, which can initiate tumor growth.

Myth: The choice to use marijuana affects only the smoker.
Fact: Marijuana is already a significant causal factor in highway crashes, injuries and deaths. In a recent national roadside survey of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.6% tested positive for marijuana or its metabolites, nearly four times the percentage of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above.  Employees that test positive for the use of these drugs make twice as many worker compensation claims, use almost twice the medical benefits, take 1/3 more leave time than non-users, and are 60% more likely to be responsible for accidents. 80% of people hurt on the job in accidents involving marijuana are the co-workers of users, not the users themselves. Research shows that the instances of physically attacking people, stealing property, and destroying property increase in direct proportion to the frequency with which teens smoke marijuana.
**Marijuana impacts ALL sectors of the community – not just those who use. 

Fact: The National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that marijuana is psychologically addictive: Addicted users feel compulsive urges to seek and use the drug despite potential negative consequences. Since THC rapidly passes into the bloodstream and throughout the body, prolonged use of marijuana can permanently alter the brain’s natural tendency to balance and regulate motivation and reward. Psychological dependence–per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual criteria of seeking the drug despite the negative consequences of use and using a greater quantity of marijuana than originally intended–grows as drug tolerance increases. One study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found more than 30% of adults who used marijuana in the course of a year were dependent on the drug. These individuals often show signs of withdrawals and compulsive behavior.  The numbers are even more compelling among adolescents. In 2009, 830,000 youth had marijuana addiction characteristics.

Myth: Tax revenue collected from marijuana sales would substantially outweigh the social costs of legalization.
Fact: The history of taxes related to alcohol and tobacco prove taxes from legal marijuana would not positively impact the economy. Alcohol-related costs total over $185 billion while federal and states collected an estimated $14.5 billion in tax revenue; similarly, tobacco use costs over $200 billion but only $25 billion is collected in taxes. These figures show that the costs of legal alcohol are more than 12 times the total tax revenue collected, and that the costs of legal tobacco are about 8 times the tax revenue collected.

Myth: The jails are full of marijuana smokers.
Fact: There is a common misconception that the principle costs of marijuana use are those related to the criminal justice system. This is false. Research has found that the percentage of people in prison for marijuana use is less than half of one percent (0.50%).  An encounter with the criminal justice system through apprehension for a drug-related crime frequently can benefit the offender because the criminal justice system is often a path to treatment.

Myth: Decriminalizing marijuana would put dangerous, underground street dealers out of business so their influence in the community will fade.
Fact: In states who have passed marijuana decriminalization laws, many black-market dealers have rationally chosen to remain in the black market to avoid taxation and regulation. Fueled  by generous growing allowances and an enormous supply, criminal sales operations have flourished in these states as marijuana was sold outside the state and, at the same time, out-of-state growers attempted to access the more permissive market inside the state.



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