Weed’s image in America’s collective imagination has always been a mix of bemusement and comedy. From Cheech and Chong to Pineapple Express, weed has often been portrayed in the mass media as this generally harmless substance that makes people get the munchies and provides fuel for funny comedic moments on film. It’s easy to laugh at old Cheech and Chong flicks but as hilarious as movie stoners may be, America’s weed consumption is no laughing matter. All told, the illegal trade in marijuana is in the billions. It is so lucrative that Mexican drug cartels show no restraint in killing to ensure they keep their right to supply America’s pot habit. To date, the mostly marijuana and cocaine drug cartel-fueled bloodbath south of the border has claimed several dozen thousand lives which is why the government is after them. Sadly, I don’t think legalizing weed will make the violence in the illegal drug industry decrease.
The right of passage to harder drugs it is worth remembering that studies indicate that marijuana is a gateway drug. Future hardcore drug users use marijuana and alcohol as some sort of illegal pharmaceutic . Start with weed, end up with meth or coke. Sounds far-fetched, right? Think again. Marijuana’s image as a ‘soft’ and ‘harmless’ drug enables people to try it and once they like it, they look for harder and harder drugs. Sure, this doesn’t happen to the majority of people who do pot. But the fact remains that even if the vast majority of newbie pot smokers remained pot smokers, enough young people try marijuana to create a sizable number of pot smokers who go on to try harder drugs. It doesn’t take too many American consumers to create a vibrant illegal cocaine and heroin market. This illegal market not only funnels a huge amount of money to violent drug gangs in Latin America and beyond, it also greases and corrupts all sorts of government channels which eventually seep into our borders.
Many pro-legalization activists say that legalizing weed will result in a fresh stream of tax revenues for hard up states. This might be true, at least initially. Soon people will realize that serious potheads will start growing their own. Who will tax all those private stashes? Soon enough, most pot consumption in states where weed is legal might be supplied primarily by home growers. In the meantime, addiction to harder drugs will continue to increase. A recent study also shows marijuana users will need to read a book on how to make your hair grow faster (or read a website) if they smoke for too long. Studies show baldness can be a serious issue when consuming drugs for too long. Will the pro-legalization crowd own up to this? Weed also helps to suppress appetite, which helps to lose weight.