There were two big winners in the American election held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Donald Trump was of course elected president in what was clearly a surprising outcome.
Maybe not so surprising, the other big winner was marijuana.
Three states that voted in favor of Hillary Clinton for president — Massachusetts, California and Nevada — also legalized the use of recreational Marijuana through referendum votes.
Another Clinton state, Maine, also appears to have made a similar move in its initiative ballot. Though marijuana activists have declared victory, there were only a few thousand votes separating the ‘no’ and ‘yes’ sides on the ballot which has not yet been fully counted.
They join five other jurisdictions that have already legalized recreational marijuana — Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and the District of Columbia,
Arizona which voted for Trump rejected a similar initiative with 52% of the people voting against legalizing recreational use.
In addition three states approved marijuana for medical use — North Dakota, Arkansas and Florida.
Currently the federal government prohibits the recreational use of marijuana but many believe due to the size of California’s population, its decision to legalize will put pressure on the federal government to change its position.
Though there will be disagreements on marijuana’s legalization, my biggest concern is the messaging associated with legalization is far more dangerous than changing the laws.
It often argues that Marijuana is a ‘safe’ drug. This leaves the impression, particularly for teens, that there are no dangers associated with smoking cannabis.
Recent studies are showing that far from being a ‘safe’ drug, marijuana is one of the most dangerous drugs because of the potentially deadly and long-lasting impact it has on a person’s brain. This is compounded by dramatic increases in Marijuana’s potency in recent years.
These studies also show the danger is more pronounced for teens who use the drug.
Less that three weeks before the American election, Danish researchers concluded that regular Marijuana usage increased a person’s chances of contracting schizophrenia by 5.2 times over a person who does not use the drug.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can result in abnormal social behavior and cause people to lose touch with reality through hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.
They also concluded there was a greater chance of contracting this mental disorder through marijuana than through the usage of amphetamines and hallucinogenic drugs that only increased a person’s chances of contracting schizophrenia by 1.24 times and 1.9 times respectively.
The researchers from Copenhagen’s University Hospital’s Mental Health Centre came to this conclusion after studying the records of 3.1 million patients.
Of course this information is not new. Numerous studies (here, here, here and here as examples) have shown the devastating impact Marijuana can have on a person’s brain and have also connected it with schizophrenia.
However, activists have shrugged off this connection stating the higher rates of schizophrenia are due to people with the condition using Marijuana to deal with their mental health issues.
The Danish researchers said their research showed this was not the case. They found that the children of pregnant women who smoked marijuana were six times more likely to have schizophrenia than those whose mothers didn’t.
These babies were clearly not taking the drug to deal with a pre-existing condition.
Despite these studies warning about Marijuana, it is hard to explain what is happening as society condemns cigarette smoking while at the same time labeling marijuana a safe drug.
Some may call it a delusion.
For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. (2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASV)