The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana in California
What will be the most likely results of recreational marijuana use in California?
First, let’s talk about marijuana, or pot, as a drug in relation to drug rehab treatment, or addiction treatment. Having treated thousands of addicts in drug rehabs over the years, one commonality amongst almost all of them was the regular use of marijuana. This doesn’t necessarily mean there is definitely a correlation between “heavy” drug abuse (cocaine, heroin/opiates, meth, etc.) and marijuana use, however it is something to consider when talking about the legalization of marijuana in California.
Second, in my experience, treating people who smoke marijuana daily is one of the most difficult treatments I had to go through. Marijuana has a very gradual, slow abuse trajectory, meaning that it takes a long-term use to hit a bottom, and I could argue that marijuana doesn’t have a “bottom” like other drugs of abuse. The problem I have found with people addicted to marijuana, in terms of treating people in a drug rehab setting, has been that marijuana has its own culture, which borders on religious ideology. The “marijuana religious ideology” consists mostly of a plethora of justifications, or reasons, that marijuana is not harmful and in some cases actually beneficial to a person.
Some of these justifications include:
- Marijuana is natural and comes from the earth.
- Counter argument – Cocaine, opiates, and many poisons also come from nature.
- Marijuana is not as dangerous as alcohol.
- Counter argument – Alcohol can be used responsibly, meaning that people do not always get “high” from alcohol, as opposed to marijuana which is smoked specifically to get high. When people primarily use alcohol for the effect produced by it, they are alcoholics.
- Marijuana is not a gateway drug.
- Counter argument –The reason why I consider marijuana a gateway drug is because of the reason above. Smoking pot gets you high. The primary reason people smoke pot is to get high. When you use a substance to alter your state of consciousness, emotions, etc. it opens the user up to the knowledge that there are other substances that can be used to alter their minds, and leads to experimentation.
Finally, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana puts a giant approval stamp on the use of substances to get high. One may argue that many pharmaceutical prescriptions also get a person high, but of course any reasonable person will automatically realize that the use of pharmaceuticals to get high is called pill addiction. When marijuana becomes acceptable, so does getting high, which will lead to a drastic rise in the use of other illicit substances to get high.