By Randi Crawford
How about a quote from the leader of our country, President Barack Obama: “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Hmmm, marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance, classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency, which is in the same category as heroin, LSD, Ecstasy and crystal meth. Unlike alcohol, smoking marijuana causes permanent brain damage to adolescent teens that smoke it, as well as lowers their IQ, yet the President doesn’t warn people not to follow in his footsteps. There are approximately 17.6 million people in this country that abuse alcohol, so is the President saying that we should double that number and it’s really no big deal? This statement is so irresponsible that I can barely comprehend it. The White House website states, and I quote: “The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose a significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.” Is that statement going to magically disappear now?
This is also personal for me. Someone very close to me has been doing drugs since he was a teenager. He has the mental capacity of a 15 year old, if that. I remember coming home from college during breaks and he was always getting high. He kept his “stash” in the “Donkey Kong” machine in his bedroom. He attended Villanova University, a school filled with Irish Catholic, beer- drinking kids, yet he managed to find the only deadbeats on campus that sat around smoking pot all day. He was kicked out his first semester.
He started out smoking pot, as an adolescent, and the next thing I knew he was taking crystal meth. If you’ve never experienced anyone taking crystal meth, let me enlighten you. It’s scary as hell. Meth users get what I like to call “Scary eyes” and, trust me, you do not want to be around them. Their physical appearance goes to pot...literally. He used to be gorgeous. Today, if you saw him walking down the street, you would switch to the other side to get away from the creep with the dirty feet and horrible smell.
He has been in and out of nearly every top rehab facility in the country. He has lived on the street and in his car (when he owned one). The one time he had his own place, his “friends” stole everything he had. Today, he lives in Hawaii, in a tent, with no running water, no electricity, and no family. Recently, we spoke on the phone (one he borrowed) and I tried explaining to him that no girl wants to date a guy who has no home, no steady job, and no cell phone, who doesn’t wear shoes, doesn’t shower, and washes his clothes in the ocean. He honestly didn’t “get me.”
I can’t begin to explain the “invisible” collateral damage that drug abuse creates for everyone in his or her circle. It’s a pain that’s impossible to describe unless you know and love someone who is an addict. I believe that pot is addictive, and it’s a gateway drug, not to mention, there are significantly more carcinogens in pot than in cigarette smoke (which I don’t condone either, but that ship has sailed).
Anyone who has a loved one who started with pot and ended up an addict should send his or her story to Barack Obama. Maybe Obama can send them his selfie?
Do I believe that marijuana should be legal for recreational use? Absolutely, positively, not.
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