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Marijuana is not okay: The real costs of legalization

This is what I've seen. I have stood beside drivers as they wept for the deaths they caused while high, I have sat in the room with hopeless parents seeking to help drug-addicted children, I have listened as addicts cried saying their first step was a joint with friends. Marijuana is a drug, it is addictive, and the legalization of it will be detrimental to this generation and the next. We need to wake up. 

MJ is not okay

Marijuana is described as harmless, non-addictive, natural, organic, hopeful, healing, calming, and a panacea. This is a complete fiction. It harms the user, and it harms the society that supports them.

Social cost: 

  • Quadrupled organized crime charges from 2013-2017 in Colorado
  • Growth in black market
  • Tripled hospital/emergency room visits related to marijuana from 2014-2019
  • Quintupled poison control calls

This is based on Colorado's legalization. And,  all these costs are worsened since COVID-19, as we've seen an astronomical increase in all drug and alcohol use in the past year. This is the hard truth behind the lie. 

Lie: You cannot become addicted to marijuana
Truth: You can become addicted after the first experience

One in four people have personalities that tend toward addiction. If you are one of these people, then you are pre-disposed to become addicted to things that bring you pleasure. If we, as a society, said that video games are addictive in 2018, then it's not the chemicals in the substance alone but also how your body responds to the activity or substance. 

According to, recent data suggest that 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder.18 People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.19

BOTTOM LINE: Marijuana is addictive

Lie: Marijuana users stay with marijuana because it's accepted
Truth: Marijuana is a gateway drug

The research is inconclusive, but my experience in the field is not. Some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to precede the use of other licit and illicit substances45 and the development of addiction to other substances. This has been proven again and again in corporate drug testing and personal drug counseling with families. I have seen so many students who began with marijuana turn to amphetamines then to mushrooms and synthetic drugs because they cannot be detected by a drug test. I have seen workers whose marijuana high was not enough so they turned to opiates. Marijuana is absolutely a gateway drug--and it can ruin your life and that of those who love you. 

BOTTOM LINE: Marijuana is a gateway drug

Lie: Marijuana never hurt anyone
Truth: Marijuana hurts users and bystanders both

While the number of deaths reported as caused by marijuana is still small, that does not mean it is harmless. The worst accidents I have been to as a drug test professional were caused by someone high on marijuana, and I can't tell you how many times that has been the story in minor accidents as well. 

Aside from the rising number of accidents and traffic problems, there are direct health problems related to marijuana alone, but users have a hard time believing these problems are caused by marijuana because they've been told it's harmless. 

A recent report in Missouri Medicine found that some of the more common illnesses connected to marijuana use have also increased in Colorado since legalization. These include:

These are serious illnesses, causing a rise in ER visits in states that have legalized the drug. 

And, I recently attended the funeral of a friend's son--a young man full of promise on a ski trip with his family. He died from too many THC laced gummies from a friend. This young man, who was not a chronic drug user, is gone after an afternoon of snacks that he thought were harmless. 

BOTTOM LINE: Marijuana is dangerous.

Please share this newsletter with someone you know, someone you care about. The media is selling us a lie on marijuana, and if we don't learn and share the truth, we'll see a lot more deaths, injuries, illnesses, and drug use because of this allegedly harmless drug. 

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