More than 25 million, or 11.5% of Americans have smoked marijuana in the last year and US taxpayers doll out an estimated $10 billion in taxes each year on marijuana prohibition costs alone, which lead to the arrest of over 853,000 individuals annually. How many of these people do you presume truly need marijuana treatment?
Although cannabis addiction is far from the most harmful addictions in the world and even further from an epidemic, it does happen. Marijuana addicts experience cravings, as well as other light psychological effects.
Anything taken in, in habitual excess has the potential to become an addiction. For example, recent studies have shown the internet to be addictive. Television is addictive. Work is addictive. Gambling. Etcetera.
Just about anything that you use as a means to fill a void within your mind, heart or soul can turn into an addiction. Stress and escapism are key factors in turning a recreational marijuana user into a pothead in need of rehabilitative marijuana treatment.
Those actually in need of marijuana treatment often scoff at allegations that they could be addicted to weed.
“Pfft!” They may say, “Addicted to pot? You must be joking!” The truth is, addicts in need of marijuana treatment are just as likely to exist as alcoholics in need of A.A, if the substance is used habitually.
Looking at the statistics, it appears that the problem is not necessarily the marijuana, or the marijuana addicts. The major problem is its prohibition. As I mentioned before, an excessive amount of tax money is spent on apprehending and punishing people for using a substance that is certainly not any more harmful than smoking cigarettes or drinking.
Marijuana treatment could definitely provide some of the help people need if it has become clear that, like a weed in a garden, marijuana has begun to take over their life. There are plenty of smokers, however, who use the drug productively or recreationally in a responsible manner. Such tokers are strong willed and able to keep the use occasional.
What sticks out as the most poignant part of the pot law to me is that it seems bent on dooming the futures of American adolescents. For example, according to drugabuse.gov, 30% of Americans arrested for possession of marijuana are under the age of 19. Marijuana treatment will do little good for the criminal record of these youths.
Furthermore, 200,000 students in America have been kicked off of financial aid eligibility for the rest of their lives due to marijuana related arrests on their records. The majority of students in the US depend on financial aid in order to attend college at all, due to its high cost.
Does this strike anyone else as counterproductive? How does it make any sense to revoke a means to success because of something as benign as using marijuana? Would it not be a better idea to require these young students to attend an outpatient marijuana treatment facility instead?
In many cases this collegiate means to success is preached as the only means to success in America, yet the government seems steadfast on making it impossible to realistically attend colleges, by coming close to doubling the interest rates on student loans and targeting a drug whose demographic is predominantly college aged.
I am tired of seeing perfectly bright young adults being sentenced to marijuana treatment centers after being stripped from academic universities. Our youth (whether weed smokers or not) deserve to be in college, not marijuana treatment. Although marijuana treatment is a great option for those kids who are lost in a purple haze.