Pot Corner: Why You Should Say No


Many argue that marijuana is not bad for you; however, that is simply untrue. Courtesy of FoxNews.com

Jace Jenican, Opinions Editor

This past summer I went to Boys State which is a week long summer program sponsored by the American Legion where 1-3 boys are chosen from participating high schools in California to come to Sacramento and form their own city, county, and California state governments with all three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial). The elected governor appointed me to be on his cabinet. We worked to pass several laws, but one of the first one of the first on his agenda was legalizing marijuana. I tried to judge it from a policy standpoint, but others within the cabinet were stating that pot was far less addictive and better for your health than cigarettes, and since cigarettes were legal, pot should be too! This is a common misconception. Setting policy discussion aside, marijuana should not be consumed by anyone for it has the same harmful affects of cigarettes and is just as addictive.


A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association has determined that “heavy marijuana use is associated with residual neuropsychological effects” like “significantly greater impairment than light users on attentional/executive functions” after stopping marijuana use. Deputy Holmes says, “During your high school career you will be faced with making some of the most important decisions in your life that can determine your future. Do you want to make these pivotal decisions under the haze of marijuana?” But marijuana isn’t just only bad for one’s neurological health, it is also bad for one’s pulmonary health, similar to cigarettes. A study from the US Government has determined that there is “no difference in prevalence of chronic cough, sputum production, or wheeze was noted between the marijuana and tobacco smokers.” There is currently no conclusive study linking lung cancer to marijuana; however, there is evidence that pot damages one’s pulmonary system and therefore many in the medical community speculate that it is certainly possible. Therefore, the common argument that pot is not as dangerous as cigarettes is simply false.


Another argument for marijuana use is that it is not addictive, but that has been proven untrue. A study by the National Comorbidity Survey found that approximately 9% of marijuana users are addicted. Admittedly this is not comparable to the estimated 90% of tobacco users that are addicted, but it is relevant because studies have proven that the younger one starts using, the higher the likelihood that one will get addicted. Starting marijuana in high school could get you addicted for the rest of your life. “You will begin to be late to first period on a regular basis. Remember how athletic and driven you were to be the absolute best at your sport of choice?” comments Deputy Holmes, “Smoking with your friends becomes more important. And pretty soon marijuana isn’t enough for you and you need more. You can’t quite decide where that more will come from so you decide to try other drugs.”


Marijuana is now legal in four states and the District of Columbia. Some claim that legalizing marijuana will make it easier to control and safer as it will be under the thumb of regulators. Others claim that this will only make it available to more people. No matter what happens, marijuana use should be discouraged, especially at the elementary school level. The campaign against cigarettes has cut cigarette use in half in the past thirty years. That is because there is a stigma associated with smoking cigarettes. A similar stigma needs to be put on other forms of drug use. Drug use cannot be seen as okay in our society.