Marijuana Legalization is Not the Answer to the War on Drugs

Marijuana Legalization is Not the Answer to the War on Drugs

By Dialogo
October 17, 2012

During the 2012 Summit of the Americas, some Latin American leaders have called for a review of U.S. policy regarding the War on Drugs. The Washington Post reported that some former heads of state in the Western Hemisphere have argued for legalizing marijuana with the notion that marijuana only poses modest health risks. Vice President Joe Biden was quoted as saying, “There are more problems with legalization than non-legalization.”

What are the human consequences of allowing the youth of this hemisphere to legally use drugs? During an interview, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, argued that drugs pose a signification risk. Scientific research has proven that drug usage increased dopamine levels released to the brain by as much as 2 to 10 percent above those associated with life’s normal pleasures such as eating, listening to music, and sex. The National Institute of Drug Abuse released a report titled, The Science of Addiction, which stated “The effect of such a powerful reward strongly motivates people to take drugs again and again.” Therefore, when an innocent child takes a “legal” puff of marijuana, there is a high probability the child may become addicted. This scientific research supports Vice President Biden’s argument regarding compounding problems associated with the legalization of marijuana.

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that marijuana negatively impacts the cognitive ability of young adults. The study produced evidence that teens who began smoking marijuana by age 18 experienced an 8-point drop in IQ scores by the age of 38. At first glance, this number may seem insignificant; however, the lead researcher, Madeline Meier stated, “a loss from an IQ of 100 to 92 represents a drop from being in the 50th percentile to being in the 29th.” Additionally, The National Institute of Drug Abuse states, marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.

Marijuana is legal in Netherlands. A 2010 report produced by the Drug Enforcement Administration titled SPEAKING OUT Against Drug Legalization cited the head of Netherland’s best-known drug abuse rehabilitation center as stating that the strong form of marijuana that most of the young people smoke produces, “a chronically passive individual, someone who is lazy, who doesn’t want to take initiatives, doesn’t want to be active, the kid who’d prefer to lie in bed with a joint in the morning rather than getting up and doing something.”

The message from those that support legalization argues that marijuana poses a moderate risk.

The Organization of American States (OAS) must develop a synergistic approach to educating the youth of this hemisphere on the dangers of drug use by exercising shared hegemony. An effective Western Hemisphere strategy must be crafted to establish a framework that fosters increased cooperation within the alliance and inculcates a unified message to its citizens. For example, the second mandate, citizen security that resulted from the 2012 Summit of the Americas stated, “We agreed to strengthen cooperation and coordination as fundamental tools for combating violence, corruption, and transnational organized crime in all its forms.”

Educating youth regarding the dangers of drug use must be the sole pillar upon which nations converge their concerted efforts to confront the increased use of marijuana. The Western Hemisphere must continue to maintain a competitive advantage in the global market place, one that inspires and leads its citizens to prosperity. Maintaining a global competitive advantage cannot be achieved if the youth of the Americas are allowed to consume marijuana openly and without consequence. Combating this problem requires the bonding of partnerships. General Douglas Fraser’s (commander, U.S. Southern Command) 2020 Command Strategy stated, “The nations of this region are inextricably linked, and we face common challenges to our security and stability. Success for us all depends upon the creation of a hemispheric environment that is inclusive and beneficial to all.”

World economies have become extremely fragile, complex, and even more competitive as nations fight for survival. It is imperative the OAS prepare its youth and its current workforce to compete on a global scale. Integrating a permissive culture of marijuana use is contrary to the second mandate of the 2012 Summit of the Americas.

*Dr. Williams is adjunct professor at Hodges University and a member of a Joint Staff within the U.S. Department of Defense

Agree 100% with this article. My 19 year old son has the same symptoms as described above. We don't know how to help him if he does not admit that there is a problem . Thank you for the article. Cannabis should be legal, only for people older than 18 (literally). Legalize only the natural cannabis (not just any kind of modified one, (PRESSED by traffickers, which characterizes crime.) or (MANIPULATED by the Government). In the first case, due to the high level of addiction. In the second case, due to the high level of the natural plant’s attenuation effect, with the (EXCUSE) of transforming it (ANOTHER TRANQUILIZER) with the EXCUSE: “IT’S LESS ADDICTING.” Taking into account the health problems, ALCOHOL, and SMOKE both are harmful that’s obvious. Everything is a matter of conscience, that is, if one drank too much, it risks crashing the car due to the lack of motor coordination, and if one smokes too much gets veeeery slow due to the lack of adrenaline. This is no excuse: “I WAS HIGH” (with marijuana.) or : “I DON’T REMEMBER.” (in case of heavy drinking.) If it is because of health problems, that “ALL” illegal drugs should remain prohibited and the legal drugs should be prohibited (alcohol and smoking.) When each person has the right to choose between smoke, or alcohol, then yes, there is a change in people’s behavior, and not the Government and some members of our society’s moralist intervention attacking our free will. Crime must be fought, crack and cocaine the deforestation of the Amazon forest, corruption, (yes, corruption.) how many congressmen (INFILTRATED) Are involved with (INTERNATIONAL SUPERDRUG DEALERS?)
The cannabis legalization is so necessary, as life sentence or death sentence in Brazil. It is a sad reality, but PEOPLE inside the Government as well as some members of the society, (Corruption) PROFIT with the illegality either on the weapons business, drugs, even from a delicate children’s toy, SIMPLY so-called PIRATE. For that reason death penalty hardly would be implemented because once it has been enforced, it’s a point of no return. Even if one is POOR or RICH. On the other hand, they with their MENSALÕES [bribe scandal] are called DOCTOR and us, with our marijuana CIGARRETES are the DANGEROUS CRIMINALS even maintaining our showing off with our hardworking money, the same money that supports the needs of this beloved BRAZIL. Hi, I think mariHuana should be legalized in Argentina. I am 15 and I've been smoking since I was 8, nothing (bad) ever happened to me. It is scientifically proven that marijuana is less (dangerous) than alcohol and cigarettes and is also an ANTI-CANCER cure.