Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use. I read a report this morning that detailed how the state is faring since undertaking the legalization of drugs.
The results were about as I expected. It was, and is, all about money. I’ve only heard God audibly speak to me one time and He said, “The world is ruled by money, NOT by conviction.” Projects like this underscore His meaning about this subject.
On the money front, legalizing the drug has been a big success; however, on the social front not so good.
The legal marijuana industry is booming with more new customers added every day resulting in 18,000 new full-time jobs in 2015. And state sales tax receipts enabled Colorado to receive $198.5 million in tax revenue last year from marijuana sales of $1.3 billion. Arrests for marijuana possession naturally dropped significantly adding savings there. Some business owners are making out like champs and the state is receiving funding that it needs.
Hmmm . . . With numbers like that, it can’t be bad – right?
Well let’s take a look at the other side of the ledger. It seems word got out that pot was no longer a crime there, and many people flocked to Colorado to take advantage of it. Thus, Colorado experienced the third largest increase in the total number of homeless people last year, following California (the largest recipient of them – no surprise there) and the state of Washington.
As one would expect, there have been increases in crime, particularly driving under the influence, and breaking into stores to steal more of the stuff. The percentage of people using it has gone up including school kids and homes with small children living in them. There are many stories out there about trips to the hospital for hallucinations brought on by the more powerful strain of the drug and so forth.
Then there is the health hazard of inhaling all that smoke and the risk of lung cancer. The American lung association states, “Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.
Beyond just what’s in the smoke alone, marijuana is typically smoked differently than tobacco. Marijuana smokers tend to inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than cigarette smokers, which leads to a greater exposure per breath to tar.
Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxins and carcinogens found in directly inhaled marijuana smoke, in similar amounts if not more. While there is no data on the health consequences of breathing secondhand marijuana smoke, there is concern that it could cause harmful health effects, especially among vulnerable children in the home.
Due to the risks it poses to lung health, the American Lung Association strongly cautions the public against smoking marijuana Updated March 23, 2015
The National Institute of drug abuse states: Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and causes problems including daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections.
Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack.
Problems with child development during and after pregnancy. Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight and increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain. Resulting challenges for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving. Long-term marijuana use has been linked to mental illness in some users, such as: temporary hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not, temporary paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others. Marijuana use has also been linked to other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among teens.
Compared to those who don’t use marijuana, those who use heavily more often report the following:
- lower life satisfaction
- poorer mental health
- poorer physical health
- more relationship problems
People also report less academic and career success. For example, marijuana use is linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school. It is also linked to more job absences, accidents, and injuries.
Of course, those who are profiting from it are touting it as a huge success and doing everything in their power to keep negative news out of the light. They point to the fact that it is not nearly as bad as some had predicted.
I know more about marijuana use than most because I smoked it nearly every day for years. While one can function while smoking, it destroys the work ethic. It leads to short term memory loss, and kills brain cells. Marijuana is dangerous because people will do things they ordinarily would not even consider such as engaging in risky sex outside of marriage and driving a vehicle while high. Perhaps the most dangerous risk however, is moving on to harder more dangerous drugs. Marijuana gives euphoric feelings that lower inhibitions, meaning that while one is high, decision making is impaired, and convincing yourself to do stupid things like trying highly addictive dangerous drugs such as heroin, crack, and meth happens with greater frequency due to a lack of lucidity when making those decisions.
I quit taking illegal drugs and drinking alcohol decades ago. I had an employee tell me one time that she “has” to have something. I gently told her that a relationship with the Lord is all anyone really needs. There is no escape from reality. Drugs and alcohol use wear off and invariably one is always worse off after they do. In today’s age, illegal drugs are Satan’s most powerful weapon to destroy us, especially our children. Take it from me they can destroy your life and your children’s life. To use them is playing with fire.
Focus on Jesus, and drugs and alcohol will never ruin your life.
I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,
March 14 2017 – Click here to listen