Recreational marijuana smoking unimportant, should remain illegal


By DANIELLE CARPENTER Published April 29, 2012 at 11:45pm

Pushing for the legalization of recreational marijuana is a waste of time.

The Tucson Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws held its annual protest on April 20. About 50 protesters made their way to Cheba Hut for the seventh annual protest, where they held up signs to flash at traffic about legalizing marijuana. It’s sad how badly those people want recreational marijuana legalized. Medical marijuana helps people, but recreational marijuana can be dangerous.

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug found in “impaired drivers and crash victims involved in ‘drugged driving’ accidents,” according to the Alcohol Drug Abuse Help & Resource Center website. The drug interferes with the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls coordination, according to the center’s website. Legalizing this drug will do nothing more then increase the number of DUIs and fatal car accidents, as if Arizona needs higher numbers in that department.

A lot of people assume that marijuana does nothing bad for them. But the THC in marijuana — the reason for its effects — can interfere with the hippocampus, according to the center’s website. The hippocampus is one of the most important parts of the brain, as it controls memory, judgment and learning.

In chronic users, the impact on memory and learning can last days or weeks after marijuana’s effects seem to fade, according to a 2001 study in the medical journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Studies have shown that frequent use of the drug can actually lead to more anxiety and higher rates of mental illness like depression.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, notes that schizophrenia in particular seems to have a link to marijuana use, as a 2007 study found. This may be due to the fact that frequent use of marijuana case can cause a dire psychotic reaction in susceptible people, according to the NIDA, making it a possible factor in the onset or relapse of schizophrenia.

A 2006 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 84 percent of employers drug test new hires, and 39 percent will randomly test employees after they are hired. (Usually, those who meet the criteria for being able to have medical marijuana are excused.)

Most employers want mature, intelligent and dedicated employees who do not abuse drugs. Some employers, such as hospitals, are even starting to look at whether or not their applicants smoke cigarettes, not just marijuana or other controlled substances.

Smoking, marijuana or cigarettes, does not make one more appealing in any way, shape or form to a handful of careers or to other people. It’s time for people to grow up, and figure out how to live life without depending on marijuana.

If even California of all states would not pass a bill legalizing weed for those 21 and older, it’s clear that protesting Arizonans are fighting a hopeless cause. Arizonans should spend their time more wisely than trying to get something as pointless as recreational pot to happen.

The outcomes of keeping recreational marijuana use illegal will save Arizona from the increase of drug-related fatal car accidents, and protect the mental health of residents. Smoking weed recreationally should remain against the law.

— Danielle Carpenter is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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