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Uh Oh.

OK. A thing I didn't say, that I probably should have, is that we haven't actually had a chance to do as much research on marijuana as we should have. Edibles have different effects than smoking which has different effects from vaping. Different strains have different amounts of THC and CBD and that matters. These are both psycho-active compounds and they both have effects on your brain. That's why they get you high, but the highs are different and the effects (and thus potential negative side-effects are different.)

But it's also very hard to even STUDY marijuana because it's this is both another reason to decriminalize (to make research easier) and a reason why it's more complicated (we don't know for sure how many of the negative effects we've teased out.

What We Know about Marijuana

Why is Weed Illegal?

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Good morning, John, it's April 20th. It's 4/20 which I guess can only mean one thing: I blaze it?

Look, I don't smoke pot. I have - I don't really like it and I'm not gonna sit here and tell you that cannabis is not harmful in any way and that  it's gonna cure every disease or whatever. But I think it's ridiculous and
unjustifiable that marijuana is criminalized, while more addictive and
dangerous substances like alcohol and tobacco are available at every gas
station in the country.

So here are seven reasons why marijuana should be decriminalized and three reasons why it's more complicated than some people might make it out to be.

One: legalizing marijuana is good for local economies. It increases tax revenue and it can increase the amount of small businesses that are successful. And I think that we should regulate both growers and sellers to make sure that those businesses aren't just giant conglomerates. We should not let like a bunch of Richie Rich pants who spent decades sending
people to prison for selling marijuana, suddenly get even richer selling it.

Two: illicit marijuana is a source of income for drug cartels that we could just take away instantaneously.

Three: THC, CBD, other compounds in marijuana are legitimate medications. They can help with autoimmune diseases, people with chronic pain, seizure disorders, vomiting in cancer patients. And yet US law defines
marijuana as having no medical use. This is scientifically inaccurate.

Four: because it can sometimes help with chronic pain, it can help people who are dependent on opiates. And that seems like a good thing to not put in the same category as heroin.

Five: the most successful story, maybe in human history, of decreasing the use of an addictive substance is the story of cigarettes. You can decrease use without criminalization.

Six: the criminalization of marijuana creates real and obvious harm. Arrest,s including juvenile arrests, have long term impacts on people's lives, convictions even more so. And felony convictions result in
lifelong marginalization and disenfranchisement.

And this is why when young white people get found out for selling marijuana they often don't get arrested because everyone realizes that ruining someone's life for selling pot is dumb. And what we see over and over again is similar rates of drug use among white and black people, but far more black people getting arrested for it.

And finally, number seven. I don't hear people talking about this one much. When we make something very illegal that is less dangerous than something that is perfectly legal, I think that weakens the authority of
the rule of law. People start to ask like, if you're gonna ruin my life for doing something that doesn't seem like a big deal to me then, maybe the legal system isn't out to protect me. Maybe it is, in fact, out to harm me. That's a big deal. The more people who feel that way about the law, the worse society in total is.

Now let's do the part where we admit that this isn't as simple as a lot of people like to make it out to be.

First reason why: driving while stoned is dangerous and has been proven to be so. But there is no weed breathalyzer, so this is a problem. It is
also not a new problem. It's a problem we currently have.

Two, in legalizing weed I think some people will think that that's like basically the government saying weed isn't bad for you, but it is. Long
term use of marijuana, especially by young people, has been shown to have all kinds of negative effects. The most worrying ones being that it can increase the symptoms of depression and other mental health problems and cannabis use is a risk factor for schizophrenia. For more information, check out this very good Healthcare Triage video.

And finally, number three - you can't just legalize it. Those are two nice little words, but it's complicated. What do we do with people who are currently in prison? Who can sell it? How much? How is it taxed? What
commercial zones are dispensaries allowed to be in?

Like, these things have to be figured out but the status quo is a law that harms more than the drug, and I think that we're finally waking up to that.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

Hey, I hope that the comments aren't a disaster. And here are some videos that you can go watch if you would like to learn more on this topic.