An op-ed appeared on the L.A. Times website this weekend that took issue with the media supposedly ignoring the health effects of marijuana. This is ridiculous considering the media buys every doomsday prophecy our opponents spew. Be that as it may, the main focus of the article was marijuana’s “9% addiction rate,” which is lower than that of alcohol and cocaine, both of which have addiction rates of 15%.
There is plenty of dispute over addiction studies and the criteria they use to consider someone “addicted,” but let’s say 9% is an accurate number. Doesn’t that make cannabis a safer alternative to alcohol and other hard drugs? Shouldn’t we be accepting of marijuana as an alternative to much more dangerous substances instead of demonizing it as the evil of all evils?
The most interesting part of the article to me though is how it runs out of steam relatively quickly. Instead of the usual prophecies of doom, the author begins listing supposed health problems that cannabis causes and how the available data shows these fears to be overblown, including the risks of lung cancer, the “gateway” theory, and the dangers of “stoned” driving.
So not only is the “addiction” rate of marijuana lower than alcohol and cocaine, it poses less of a risk when it comes to a users health and less of a risk to others on the road when a user is driving. What exactly is so bad about that?