The new marijuana laws taking shape will make Colorado and Washington marijuana laws some of the most liberal in the world. Promoters of the new laws tout their benefits, but few know what the real consequences will be.
The promoters of the new marijuana laws claim there is a big economic benefit to legalizing marijuana. The money that previously went into the underground economy will now go to businessmen and the government. Colorado could see an increase in tax revenue close to 40 million dollars according to some estimates. The economic benefits will also be in the form of increased jobs from marijuana cultivation and resale.
One of the other reasons often cited for the new laws is that they will cause a reduction in the prevalence of crime. Legalizing pot will take the profits of growth and distribution away from drug cartels and thereby reduce crime and the prison population. Will it? Or will it just lead to an influx in the use of stronger drugs as pot use becomes normalized and no longer exciting and forbidden? Time will tell.
At Fire Mountain, we have already seen an increase in requests from parents with teens struggling with addiction since the advent of the new laws, and the laws have not yet fully taken effect. We feel that the new laws will only make things worse for teens that are struggling with addiction and other issues. Although we only have anecdotal evidence, the picture taking shape is clear. The social cost of the new laws will be significant.
Some of the promotional materials coming out of the pro-marijuana lobby suggest that marijuana is a better alternative to drinking, but never mention the negative aspects of marijuana use. They do not mention the lowered IQ levels of chronic users. They do not mention the lowered interest levels, decreased motivation, and lethargy displayed by many people addicted to pot.
As Aaron said on our Facebook page for the Residential Treatment Center, “We stand firm. Addiction is the real problem. Making pot more accessible to kids will make the problem worse.”