Bill O’Reilly Says He’s “Looking Out” for Us in Decrying Legal Pot
It’s a big year for marijuana. Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize pot for recreational use rather than keep it a crime. Yet even though marijuana is hardly comparable to cigarettes or alcohol, there are those that still try to compare it to much harder, more dangerous drugs. Perhaps the most prominent anti-pot voice is Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
In a segment on his show Wednesday, O’Reilly spoke out (again) against legal pot, heavily implying that recreational pot use will destroy the country. The reason for this particular segment was the release of a study in The Journal of Neuroscience, which links marijuana use to structural changes in the brain. Still the study analyzed only 20 users between the ages of 18 to 25, so all this really suggests is that more research is needed on a wider scale.
Another reason for worry about legal pot have been warnings that crime, specifically aggravated assault and theft, would rise. Mendocio County, California has been “a haven” for medical marijuana growers and the Sheriff, Tom Allman, warned Colorado that they would be inundated by marijuana-stealing “thugs.” Given that medical marijuana has been legal there for almost 20 years, he seems like he would know.
Data from the Denver Police department disproves his theory. According to a recently released report, violent crime fell by 6.9 percent in the first three months recreational pot was legal. This is not to suggest that legalizing pot caused crime to drop, since that is similar to the drop in crime rate for the first quarter of 2013. In fact, many suggest that removing marijuana from “the black market” ultimately leads to a reduction of crime.
Ultimately the pro-legalization debate often gets too caught up in claiming that pot is practically good for you. Like any substance, it surely has its benefits and its disadvantages, also people react to it in different ways. Yet, because pot has been a Schedule 1 drug for decades, research on its effects has been limited. If it is ultimately discovered that marijuana is as dangerous for people as liquor or cigarettes, that still doesn’t mean it should be illegal.
The War on Drugs has been an abject failure, and the justice system is not even the best place for those addicted to hardcore drugs let alone something like marijuana.
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