Initiative 502–the marijuana-legalization initiative—will appear again on this year’s Washington ballot. If passed, it will prove detrimental to this state. Although the initiative has been avoided once before, Washington state voters again will decide whether to continue the marijuana prohibition. However, if Initiative 502 passes, Washingtonians will be legalizing a hallucinogenic substance whose consequences and damages are still unknown.
Many of those in support of marijuana wish to utilize the substance for medicinal purposes, treating those suffering from AIDS, cancer and other highly intrusive diseases. Yet, research has found that marijuana damages cells in the bronchial passages, reducing the body’s ability to fight off fungi, bacteria and tumor cells. Smoking marijuana seriously affects a patient’s pre-existing immune abilities, exacerbating the very condition it was intended to treat. It causes such conditions to progress to a more advanced stage, decreasing the chance of survival.
Even the healthiest person who smokes marijuana will experience the same breakdown of the immune system and may experience even more devastating effects. Marijuana has been proven to cause chronic bronchitis, to impair the function of the smaller air passages, inflame the lungs, develop potentially pre-cancerous abnormities in the bronchial lining and lungs, as well as reduce a person’s immune system.
Besides affecting a person’s physical health, smoking marijuana may affect a person’s mental health. It has been suggested that marijuana is the root of many mental disorders including acute toxic psychosis, panic attacks, delusions, flashbacks, depersonalization, paranoia, hallucinations, depression and uncontrollable aggression. Oddly enough, marijuana is widely used to treat panic attacks, a disorder that it may cause. Marijuana also causes short term mental problems, such as impaired perception, judgment and memory. Learning and memory impairment may last up to six weeks after use of the substance. The effect of marijuana on a person’s mental state is so pronounced that it even merits its own category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness.
Even disregarding marijuana’s reputation as the most prominent “gateway drug” in the world, the substantial medical evidence should warn the citizens of Washington state that legalizing marijuana will do much more harm than good. A state must act in the best interest of the people, and legalizing marijuana is not in the best interest of the people.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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