Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Has Colorado let the cat out of the bag, re legalizing the sale of marijuana to anyone 21 and up?

The debate about marijuana has gone on for decades, around the world. There has been 'experiments' with legalization in several countries and some states in the USA. About the only aspect that is generally agreed on is that the heavy use of this drug on minors, namely teenagers, does have negative effects on the healthy development of young brains and bodies, more than probably contributing to early psychosis. There is little doubt that the education of young people is compromised and increased levels of 'other; at risk behaviours is a common outcome. Yes, the same can be said for alcohol use and many would say that the latter is still the major issue for young people.
The question becomes a lot more complicated when it comes to adult use of marijuana and the arguments for and against have not resulted in a major rapprochement between the two sides. I still sit squarely in the middle. Marijuana as with alcohol, affects people in different ways. We all know that people 'hold' their booze' differently and that for some it is not a problem, ( that is, not immediately apparent), especially for moderate and low use, but for others, even a small amount can be detrimental; affecting relationships, employment and general health, so, there is no one answer to the dangers of alcohol use.
We are seeing the same debate re the use of marijuana; some would say at a more extreme range. What is most definitely needed in the Colorado case is that the move towards liberalization must be carefully researched and if need be, a reversal may have to be considered.
We all know that denying those under 21 years of age access, does not mean that they will not be ale to get their hands on the product. The hope that gangs and other criminal groupings will be marginalized is pie-in-the-sky stuff.' They will always find ways of influencing and controlling parts of the world of drugs. It is merely a question of how they will achieve their goals.
I am sure that wee in New Zealand will be closely watching what happens in the state of Colorado, because there is a push here too to go down that road. We also know that there is significant damage done by marijuana to our young people and the last thing we want is to exacerbate this problem in our own society. If only the answers were more readily apparent! I have seen the damage to young people, through the work I do with young people as a counsellor. It would be abhorrent to me to see this become even a bigger issue, all in the name of the right of some to be able to access a questionable drug. The right to free choice must be balanced against the need for the greater good of society at large. A vexing question, indeed.
www.authorneilcoleman.com