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On Bryce’s Mind…

By Staff | Oct 13, 2012

In the Sept. 20th issue of the Minot Daily News, the editorial staff thought it was good that a measure, which was originally taken off of the ballot due to fraud, was denied by both ND Secretary of State Al Jaeger and the ND Supreme Court. I think it’s good that it’s not on the ballot, but for different reasons.

Earlier this month, two measures, one about setting up a fund for conservation programs with oil money, and the other a measure to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, were taken off of the November ballot because a good chunk of signatures on the petitions supporting both measures were fraudulently obtained. If the fraudulently obtained signatures were removed, there wouldn’t be enough signatures for the measures to get on the ballot.

Personally, I’m glad the latter measure is not on the ballot. Even if it was, I wouldn’t have voted for it anyway. I don’t support legalizing marijuana use, medicinal or otherwise.

There’s a reason that marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Drugs put under Schedule I have a high potential for abuse, no accepted use in medicine, and no safe way to use them. Yes today it is used to treat glaucoma, as well as nausea, pain and loss of appetite in cancer and AIDS patients. There are also some who tout it as a way to treat anxiety and mental disorders. But there are other drugs out there that could treat these conditions. Even if marijuana were to be legalized in its medicinal form, the potential for abuse would still be there.

It gets even worse when studies have shown that the delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC-the prominent, and addictive, substance in marijuana) content in today’s marijuana is anywhere from 6% to over 30%, compared to marijuana from decades ago, which studies have estimated to be between 1-4%. The drug is so mind-altering it can affect one’s memory and concentration, cause paranoia, and during withdrawals, among other things, aggression and anxiety are heightened. There are physical costs as well. According to a WebMD article, those who have been blazing up well into middle age increase their risk of a heart attack within an hour or two after their last toke.

There should also be the concern that those who were addicted to it when it was illegal, or those who want it but don’t really need it, will abuse the system to get it if it were to be legalized. This would create ethical, and possibly legal, quandaries.

Plus once one illicit drug’s use becomes legitimized, it could open up proponents’ calls for legitimizing other uses of the same drug or legitimizing other illicit drugs that are very harmful.

To legitimize a drug for one use creates too many questions, and it also creates ramifications that should be considered. To legalize a drug that was made illicit for a reason is, at best, problematic.

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