Throughout the prevalence of prohibition, we were convinced that if we were to legalize cannabis, everyone would start smoking like junkies looking for their last fix. When cannabis was legalized, that didn’t happen.
They told us that if we were to legalize cannabis, kids would suddenly think it’s okay to smoke weed and we’d have a bunch of red-eyed kids running around all being “delinquents” and stuff. When we legalized, there seemed to be no change in youth drinking rates, and in some cases fewer youth were engaging in the activity.
Now, it seems another myth that has often been perpetuated by prohibition is resurfacing, the myth that if we were to legalize, we would have “stoned drivers” crashing everywhere. Unfortunately, with most prohibition myths, once a legal market steps in to prove or disprove this point, the facts usually side with cannabis.
“The risk of self-reported DUIC was significantly lower in the recreational and medical states than in neither state,” the study authors wrote. “Current cannabis users in recreational and medical cannabis-only states were significantly less likely to report driving within three hours of getting high in the past 30 days, compared to current users living in states without legal cannabis.”
“A potential explanation for the lower prevalence of DUIC in legal states is the perceived safety of cannabis use, which is associated with DUIC and varies by legalization,” the study continues. “In legal states, cannabis users may receive more information about the risks of cannabis use from sources such as doctors who issue medical cannabis cards or dispensary staff than users living in either state. .”
In other words, the researchers believe that because cannabis is legal, there is a good chance that consumer education will play a vital role in reducing DUIC. People who live in legal states generally become more “aware” of the side effects of cannabis and begin to view cannabis use in the same light as driving under the influence of alcohol, which people tend to avoid.
Conversely, since there is no public education about cannabis and driving in states that ban the plant, they are less likely to engage with others who would openly disapprove of the idea of cannabis. conduct. The culture is already “illegal,” which means that doing other illegal things, like driving high, might be less of a deviance than if what you’re doing is legal. The police are developing new protocols to test cannabis-infused drivers.
In other words, in a prohibited state, just smoking marijuana would mean you are breaking the law. But in a legal state, only driving under the influence would justify an illegal action. When you’re already doing something illegal, doing other things that are illegal costs less than if you don’t break the law.
However, the authors also believe there could be another reason.
“States that have not legalized cannabis cannot regulate the labeling of cannabis products, while many recreational and medical states require warning labels and instructions on products,” the researchers wrote. “Some cannabis edibles contain driving warnings within hours of consumption.”
This is part of the benefit of legalization when it comes to consumer education. You can actually put warnings on consumer products versus the illicit market that has no regulation. This means that by simply consuming a legal product in a cannabis-friendly state, you are exposed to the ideas of responsible consumption right on the packaging.
Although many people may not read these labels, the unconscious mind picks up on them and slowly, over time, begins to cement itself into the consumer’s mind. This is not possible in prohibited states.
In reality, the authors have acknowledged in their research:
“Because regulation of cannabis products in non-legal environments is not possible, mass media campaigns may be a good option in providing education about DUIC,” the authors said, concluding that: “ Although all states should educate their citizens about the potential dangers of using cannabis and driving, this analysis suggests that states without legal cannabis are in particular need of DUIC prevention efforts.
Ironically, it seems that the states that cling to the myths perpetuated by Prohibition are the ones that suffer the consequences those myths suggest would happen if you legalized cannabis. The truth is that legalization as a policy has worked and while there are certainly areas for improvement, society is reaping a net benefit from legalization.
Prohibition does nothing to reduce cannabis use and appears less effective in reducing the potential side effects of mass cannabis use – reduce the DUICyouth consumption, etc.
What would happen if we did this with all the drugs?
Cannabis should never have been made illegal in the first place. However, the same could be said for all other drugs. While it is true that meth does not have the same “social value” as cannabis, its consumption should never be illegal.
In fact, if there’s anything we can learn from prohibition, it’s that using the “law enforcement approach” only makes the act of using drugs more dangerous. We’ve seen what can happen when we slowly educate people on the proper way to handle drugs.
We realize that when we treat people like adults and give them freedom of choice, they generally tend to find some balance and adopt safe drinking habits.
In 2022, we must recognize that the policies dreamed up by corrupt politicians more than 50 years ago are the real cancer of society. And if we really want to make society “safer” from drug use, we’re going to bring it out of the shadows, bring it into the spotlight, and teach people the right way to get high.
It’s time to eliminate the stigma associated with drug use and recognize that we are all (mostly) caffeine addicts. We all use a drug in one way or another, and just because some can have effects that make you doubt your very existence doesn’t mean they should be illegal.
I’m sure if we embrace drug use responsibly and create space for adults to experience their own consciousness, the world will not end, drug addiction rates will drop, crime will drop and we will enter a new revolution culture within 10 years of legalization.
Of course, that last part is just personal guesswork, but one thing is certain: Ban fails even what Ban aims to stop, it’s time to do better.
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