Thursday April 23, 2015
Though marijuana reform is gaining in popularity with more than half of the population in favor of some sort of legalization, there is still a gender gap when it comes to support for the movement. According to Third Way, women still lag behind men in support of both medical marijuana legalization and recreational use.
Many factors contribute to this consistent gender gap including concerns about child welfare and social taboos about its use. Concerns about community safety are also widely addressed, including the untold consequences of a "doped up" society (marijuana-related fatalities or public health risks, for example).
As a mother, I fully understand these concerns. I don't want to be fearful of my children's safety on the streets or on the school ground, and if there was a chance that it would be compromised, then I would do my best to try to stop it. But trying to stop marijuana legalization -- either by voting against it or by not voting at all -- will not promote a healthy society. If we want the best future for our families and our communities, then we should support the marijuana movement. Here's why:
CannaBusinesses are good for the economy
The cannabis industry has emerged from the shadows, bringing with it jobs, activities and money -- a lot of money. In its first 18 months of legalization, Colorado will have generated an estimated $610 million according to CNN Money. Taxes from marijuana sales are allocated for things like drug education, prevention and treatment options; regulatory oversight; law enforcement and public health and safety.
The benefits of marijuana on the economy go well beyond increased tax revenue and a brand new job market. With marijuana-related arrests dropping, so are the fees associated with charging, booking, arresting and incarcerating non-violent marijuana offenders. This not only saves taxpayers valuable money, but also helps ensure that the money generated from marijuana will stay in the community.
Marijuana may reduce the severity of certain health conditions
The list of ailments marijuana can treat is extensive and growing all of the time. There are currently almost 200 different conditions that have shown to improve with cannabis use including pain and nausea relief, seizure control and diabetes mitigation. Additional applications include the treatment of rashes and skin abrasions, a reduction of sleep-related disturbances and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety (as long as the right strain is taken in small amounts).
Because of the wide array of ailments treated by marijuana, cannabis legalization has afforded us more healthcare options. By using cannabis medically, users can potentially reduce the variety of drugs in their regimen, and in doing so, support good health and a happier lifestyle. This is especially important for women who are not only more likely to seek medical attention, but also more likely to use alternative forms of medicine.
Marijuana legalization and regulation helps protect our children
Colorado has earned roughly $16 million through marijuana taxes to help build schools, hire professionals and increase youth drug education. Marijuana legalization can also help keep families in tact (by reducing the number of people charged for non-violent marijuana charges) while reducing financial strain on the community.
While there is concern about the availability of marijuana to our youth, it is important to note that marijuana use is statistically less harmful than many other drugs, including common over-the-counter drugs like cough syrup. Additionally, marijuana legalization may be associated with a reduction in suicide rates, especially among young men. Based on this information, it is quite likely that marijuana legalization does have a positive impact on our children, for many different reasons.
Cannabis may help increase marital satisfaction
Cannabis condoms and THC-infused lubricants aside, couples that use marijuana together may actually be better off for it. That's because marijuana can act as both an aphrodisiac and a catalyst for intimacy.
When couples use cannabis together, they are less likely to become hostile toward each other (thus reducing the occurrence of abuse and violence) and more likely to be respectful of each other. Sharing a cannabis hobby can also help couples bond, thus improving intimacy and securing a long-lasting relationship. Though more research is needed to understand the precise correlation, cannabis does seem to increase marital satisfaction and improve sexual pleasure for many people.
Marijuana is a safer option
There are many drugs available today, both legal and otherwise. Of them, the most dangerous continues to be alcohol because of the damage it causes to the body and because the impulsive, often aggressive nature of those under its influence. Alcohol continues to play a major role in domestic abuse cases and is the leading cause of preventable death and yet, it remains a common go-to for various celebrations.
By legalizing marijuana nationwide, we could reduce the desire to "get wasted" after work. Marijuana is a safer option to use in celebration (or for those looking to wind down after a long day) and even trumps other common drugs like tobacco and aspirin in terms of safety.
Additionally, marijuana users show no reduced ability to drive indicating that the roads are still safe (or more so) here in Colorado despite the marijuana movement. One study suggests that this could be due to a heighten sense of awareness in marijuana users who tend to overcompensate by driving more slowly, passing less and maintaining a greater distance between themselves and other vehicles.
Overall, there seems to be a lot to fear about the unknown, and marijuana legalization is no exception. After 70 years of being told how detrimental cannabis is for individuals and the communities in which they live, it seems only natural to feel apprehensive about the situation.
But the change we are experiencing is a part of our evolution. It is a necessary process that will help us build communities, support families and promote freedom. If you’ve found yourself in the “marijuana middle” because you’re unsure of your stance on marijuana policies, then I encourage you to research concerns, ask questions, then show your support at the polls.
The future of cannabis is in your hands.
Tell us: Do you support the marijuana movement? If or if not, why?