Family

My State Legalized Pot — and I’m Really Mad

Massachusetts mom has a few objections, for good reason

Recently I overheard two teens in a CVS talking about how happy they were that marijuana is being legalized here in Massachusetts. They were laughing about getting fake IDs in order to patronize a pot shop.

Massachusetts is one of several states that voted to legalize marijuana on Nov. 8. While I voted against this, it was with a sinking heart. Here in the liberal Bay State, the chances of pot not being legalized were as rare as a unicorn sighting (which people might see more of, if they begin smoking pot).

My friend has spent more time than she cares to remember driving around trying to buy pot, even as a grown woman.

Now, over a month later, the realities are settling in. Stories of planned pot stores and of people crossing the Massachusetts border from other states to buy pot fill our local news. I am strongly against the legalization of marijuana for several reasons. Some of these are based on experience, some on facts — and some on what I have learned as a mom.

I have a good friend who became addicted to pot as a teen, and it defined the adult she became — and what she still struggles with today, in her 50s. This supposedly benign recreational drug was something she turned to for relaxation, solace, and then, pure habit. She has spent more time than she cares to remember driving around trying to buy pot, even as a grown woman. Had there been a store that sold it, I know she would have been there daily.

Legalizing marijuana doesn’t discourage use — it encourages it, by the mere fact that it is so readily available. That pro-pot argument has been laughable since it was first made. Instead, where individuals might have once given up due to the sheer bother of finding a pot dealer and making arrangements to score some — now, it’s right there on the shelves of a local cannabis shop, in every flavor imaginable.

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My friend still has to attend a weekly support group. For her, every day without pot is, if not a struggle anymore, still laden with moments of challenge and regret.

The facts about marijuana use are clear. Many studies have found that most people who used other illicit drugs had, in fact, used marijuana first, according to Scientific American. Researchers have also confirmed that heavy marijuana use can lead to increased withdrawal symptoms when people try to stop. In addition, heavy use can contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and impairments in short-term memory.

Marijuana may also trigger certain disorders, such as schizophrenia, in vulnerable people.

Does this sound like an innocuous drug that everyone over 21 should have access to?

My additional objection is because I’m a mother. I have raised three sons, and I know how kids think, how they operate. If an authority tells them that something is OK, they can and will use this as tacit permission to do that very thing — which only makes sense, after all. We tell kids to listen to authority every day.

People will say, “It’s a plant. It’s natural.” Well, cocaine comes from the leaves of a coca plant native to South America.

The problem is — they will start now, as young kids. They will not wait until they are 21. Just as the state has acted irresponsibly by legalizing a dangerous drug — and it is dangerous and addictive; ask anyone struggling to stop smoking it — kids will act irresponsibly and push the limits. They will smoke pot before the legal age. That’s what they do with drinking — and we have now given them another temptation, another substance that could soon be the proverbial “monkey on their backs.”

Pot products like edibles shamefully lure kids into pot consumption and addiction — but hey, it’s on the free market now. It’s legal, folks. Move along — nothing to see here. The idea that pot shops are fine for civilized society is a concept made of smoke and mirrors.

Related: Teens and Pot Still a Potent Mix

People will say, “It’s a plant, for goodness sake. It’s natural.” Well, cocaine comes from the leaves of a coca plant native to South America, and whiskey is made from fermented grain mash.

Many a life has been ruined by whiskey and cocaine. Marijuana, sadly, has been given the stamp of approval by liberal Massachusetts voters and others. It will stay ever more firmly on the list of “harmless” substances that end healthy, productive lives.

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