The Undiscussed Effects of Legalization

After a $1 million opening day, marijuana enthusiasts huzzahed the triumph of the decriminalization of their recreational drug of choice and (after paying prices above street value to pot shops) promptly forgot why they were happy and thought only of their next snack. Rinse, repeat.

The debate rages on, however, between the decriminalization/legalization crowd and the buzzkill narc squad crowds as the polling indicates a more favorable attitude toward the drug and its possible/eventual legalization in more states. There are numerous arguments and well-beaten dead horses on both sides of the aisle while those of us in the middle are typically turned off by the zealotry of either side.

However, there are some arguments a few people don’t consider, and they would probably do well to consider them. These, of course, are arguments for both sides. I’ll let you figure out which appeals to you more.

There’s one I’ve touched on before, but with the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, let me mention it again: Your insurance costs will go up if you smoke pot. Considering you’re willingly breathing in smoke, and that can apparently cause damage to your lungs, you would think this would be a no-brainer. Of course, “no-brainer” is also a condition you take on when you’re high.

We’re living in an era where a law to “fix” health insurance is causing people to have to pay even more, if they can even get it at all. The complications that come from smoking anything put you at a higher risk of needing some healthcare at some point. If you do have insurance, suddenly, more conditions you bring upon yourself raises your costs. You see, insurance doesn’t have to cover you if you do something illegal. In fact, they won’t. But if drugs are legalized, then the insurance doesn’t have that opportunity. So, you may be covered for your drug habit, but it’ll cost you.

On the other hand, a friend of mine in the healthcare field says he firmly believes marijuana as a painkiller is far better than pills. It is, according to several studies, a lot less addictive than people assume, and that can save lives. A person on the hard stuff, opioids and the like, can get heavily addicted and it could cause major problems for them beyond their original health problem. Marijuana could be a safer alternative in pain treatment if legalized across the country as a medicinal tool, regulated by the FDA as other medicinal drugs are.

If you have other arguments (ones we might not have heard, not the same old song and dance you see trotted out every time this comes up), please share them in the comments. This is an odd issue because it pits the potential for a more hedonistic society against the potential to hit the nanny state on a contentious issue, and so I would find it extremely odd to see even 80-90% on one side. I know legalization is a more libertarian issue, but it is one conservatives have become drawn into, and it’s one we should discuss a lot more.