I was called out a couple times recently for not supporting the outright legalization of marijuana and for referring to reefer as a ‘street drug’ that presents a lot of downside for users, especially those that begin using in their teen years. I was targeted for not buying wholesale into the ‘medical marijuana’ sales pitch.

For the record I was one of those regular teenage pot smokers for years, so I think I’ve earned the right to address this matter without being vilified. I know how it has affected me over time and I have watched how it has affected dozens of people I know over more than three decades. As a general rule it has not been worth the risk in my estimation.

My experience however is not enough it seems to spare me the vitriol and the histrionic hyperbole from many in the pro-dope crowd. Do I think that pot is going to destroy society? No, probably not, at least not by itself. Will it damage many of the young people that use the drug as an escape and move on to other drugs and risky behavior patterns? Yes, I think that is pretty well established.

So let me address some of the charges that have been leveled at me recently: I’m closed minded? No real science behind what I write? Well I find that a bit off the rail. How about we start with Harvard:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/teens-who-smoke-pot-at-risk-for-later-schizophrenia-psychosis-201103071676

Is the University of Washington credible enough?

http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/factsheets/adolescents.htm

Here’s the Royal College of Psychology in the United Kingdom.

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/cannabis.aspx

And how about the National Institutes for Health?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1351917/

It seems there is a whole lot of research from some very credible sources when it comes to the dangers of marijuana. Can it help some kids with seizures? Sure, it appears so. Does that mean that marijuana should be legalized and that it should be sold at the local bodega? Well I certainly don’t think so. I think the risk to reward ratio is not equitable.

Does that mean I wouldn’t allow a person with stage four cancer, like a longtime friend of mine has right now, to use pot to ease the pain? Of course not but these are the exceptions and not the rule.

The point I made was correct then and it is now. For the most part marijuana is a recreational street drug. That is true for nearly every single person that smoked weed today. The vast majority of pot smokers are doing it for a variety of personal reasons but that doesn’t make it medicine. Again, be honest.

My critics would make a better point by relying on a Libertarian argument. You know ‘don’t tread on me’. I mean at least that’s an honest approach to the discussion.