In the United States, marijuana was deliberately defamed and demonized by government, portraying it once as a gateway drug. A gateway drug is a drug which supposedly leads the user on to more addictive or dangerous substances.
People were lured into believing this claim through concerted efforts by the United States government and its federal agencies; Big Pharma lobbyists; as well as religious bodies. Between 1936 and 1939, a drama film titled Reefer Madness was released by church groups to warn parents of the so-called dangers of allowing their children to use marijuana. It was portrayed in the film that marijuana use led to mental illness or madness.
The Establishment’s main goal was to discourage people from using marijuana or from starting a debate for legalizing the plant. Of course, legalizing marijuana equates to bad business for the Establishment cronies who know sales from their alcohol, tobacco and pharma companies would dwindle once the American public accepted marijuana.
But if something is destined to succeed, it will, no matter the challenges it may encounter along the road.
Some states in the U.S. stood against the negative perceptions associated with the plant. They legalized marijuana, largely for medical and recreational purposes. This was done after many scientific findings showed the plant’s enormous medicinal value.
Today, many states have changed their marijuana laws, despite the federal government’s refusal to do so. By the help of the Free Thought Project, we have documented six results from legalizing marijuana, results that have destroyed the empty fear and panic associated with the plant caused by the political, business and religious elites in America.
People were fed false propaganda messages on how marijuana makes people violent, making them likely to commit violent acts and dangerous crimes. But in 2015, statistics released by the state government in Denver revealed robberies and violent crimes significantly decreased since marijuana legalization went into effect in the state. In just one short year, the number of homicides dropped by 52.9%. Sexual assaults were reduced by 13.6%. Robberies were down by 4.8%, and assaults were down by 3.7%. The statistics measured the first few months of the year for both 2013 and 2014 and then compared those numbers with one another to determine whether they were higher or lower after legalization went into effect. The statistics are convincing, considering the short amount of time this drastic reduction in crime took place. Although the statistics failed to show definitive proof that marijuana legalization is the cause of the drop in crime, it strongly suggests the case, considering what the fear mongers were expecting.
According to a study on marijuana legalization, drug use among teenagers has actually dropped in states where the plant is no longer prohibited. The study took data from over 1 million teens from various states, over the course of 24 years. The study also found that marijuana use is down among 8th graders in the states where it is now legal. The 8th graders represented the youngest group in the survey, and are well-adjusted to marijuana legalization, according to authors of the study.
Professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center Dr. Deborah Hasin, who led the study, explained in an interview: “Our findings provide the strongest evidence to date that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase after a state legalizes medical marijuana. Rather, up to now, in the states that passed medical marijuana laws, adolescent marijuana use was already higher than in other states. Because early adolescent use of marijuana can lead to many long-term harmful outcomes, identifying the factors that actually play a role in adolescent use should be a high priority.”
And this study wasn’t the first to have arrived at this conclusion. In 2012, a study title “Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use” also found that legalization of medical marijuana in the state of California did not increase drug use among teens. These findings destroy the false argument that legalizing marijuana would lead to children becoming addicts.
According to a demographic review of patient characteristics published online in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, people who use marijuana to treat a variety of different conditions are less likely to turn to other prescription drugs.
The lead author of the study explained:
“Investigators affiliated with the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Mesa surveyed responses from 367 state-qualified patients recruited from four Arizona medical cannabis dispensaries. Respondents were more likely to be male, in their mid-40s, and daily consumers of cannabis. Respondents most often reported using cannabis therapeutically to treat symptoms of chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea, anxiety, arthritis, depression, headaches, insomnia, and stress. Patients typically said that cannabis provided “a lot of relief” or “almost complete relief” of their symptoms and that its efficacy was greater than that of more conventional medications. Patients also reported reducing their use of pharmaceuticals. Over 70 percent of respondents reported using other medications “a little less frequently” or “much less frequently” for 24 of the 42 conditions specified. Over 90 percent of those who reported consuming cannabis to mitigate symptoms of nausea, headache, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, bowel distress, and chronic pain acknowledged using pharmaceuticals less frequently once they had initiated cannabis therapy.”
It is of course, not surprising why the pharmaceutical industry is currently lobbying against the legalization of marijuana—it simply can’t compete with the plant.
To add to the study, data released from the Colorado Department of Transportation showed that deaths resulting from car accidents are at their lowest ever in the state. The graph below shows the drastic decrease in fatalities since marijuana legalization occurred in the state. This fatalities reduction is despite the false alarm that legalizing marijuana in Colorado would lead to an increase in traffic accidents. Something that has yet to be proven.
More again, another report demonstrates the rapid economic growth and opportunities in states where marijuana is legal.
In 2015, The Denver Post reported that employers in Colorado added more jobs in the month of June 2015 than in any single month since official counts began back in 1939. According to the report, since legalization went into effect in Colorado, the average numbers for paychecks has also risen.
According to the Colorado department of revenue, the state government was able to collect over $70 million in taxes from marijuana sales in 2014. Meanwhile, alcohol companies generated just $42 million in taxes for the state during the same period. Of course, businesses being looted by government tax collectors are never anything to celebrate, but it’s interesting to see how quickly the marijuana market is growing.
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project revealed how Colorado was able to collect so much money in taxes, that they are now getting a break for one day.
“Marijuana taxes have been incredibly productive over the past year, so this tax holiday is a much-deserved day off. This will be the one day out of the year when the state won’t generate significant revenue. Over the other 364 days, it will bring in tens of millions of dollars that will be reinvested in our state,” Tvert said.
If we’re to make sense of all the above, previous fear and panic associated with marijuana is untrue and unfounded. Legalizing marijuana remains – as supported by research – the next golden opportunity for economic and human development, not drug abuse of hard substances, as Big Pharma and other bodies would have us believe.
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