Marijuana is one of the most popular recreational drugs in the United States, making marijuana legalization a huge concern among those who are not using the substance. While the plant-based drug has been touted as a miracle cure for a lot of diseases and health issues, the main issue is on how to maintain responsible marijuana use.
In this article, we will look into the responsibilities of the marijuana user and the rest of society.
Understanding Both Sides of the Marijuana Battle
The main reason for legalizing marijuana use centered on its health benefits – as attested by medical experts – mainly in terms of alleviating pain especially on individuals who are suffering from specific forms of cancer. Recreational use of marijuana has also been allowed in certain states, as legislators have seen the potential of increasing government revenue by implementing more taxes.
On the flip side, staunch opposition groups see the legislation as a legal way to get stoned. What users and advocates are saying, though, is that they should not be seen as people who merely want to get high all the time. They’re not all junkies, if that’s what the opposition is implying. After all, many of them are relying on marijuana for medical purposes.
Marijuana Legalization in the U.S.
The legalization of marijuana in the remaining U.S. states is becoming a priority, as lawmakers see billions of dollars in terms of tax revenue. Recreational marijuana use brought in almost $200 million in Colorado, while the state of Washington had about $256 million in 2016. This clearly shows how recreational pot legalization has a significant impact on a state’s financial backbone.
Although several states have legalized marijuana, it is still considered as a federal offense to distribute marijuana in the United States. Under the federal law, cannabis is still categorized under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act set by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Illicit substances like heroin and ecstasy are under the same category.
Figures on Marijuana Use in the U.S.
It is believed that nearly 55 million people in the U.S. are engaged in marijuana use, according to the Marist poll in 2015. It may not be the exact number of marijuana users, as some people didn’t have the courage to admit their use of the drug, for fear of being caught by a member of the federal government.
From the surveys conducted, a large percentage of the respondents were in favor of using marijuana for medical purposes such as treatment of neuropathic pain, movement disorders, and glaucoma. It has also been used as a powerful appetite stimulant. Further research has shown that it can be helpful in preventing the formation of certain types of cancer.
Recreational marijuana use was not a welcome thought among 47% of the respondents.
For people who are in support of marijuana legalization and those who have tried using it, the need for marijuana is real. This is the reason why they’re advocating to treat cannabis the same way as alcohol and tobacco. Prohibiting marijuana use does not really stop the users from using the drug – in fact, the survey results revealed that almost half of all the Americans have admitted to trying pot at least once in their lifetime.
Marijuana use became popular since many Americans have the notion that “smoking weed” is socially acceptable. They have no qualms about having to smoke in front of other people, but most of the respondents vehemently oppose to smoke weed in front of children.
On an interesting (but alarming) note, a staggering 52 percent of the 55 million marijuana users are millennials.
Responsible Use of Marijuana
People disagree about so many different things, and this includes marijuana use. The only solution to this confusion is by being responsible for all our actions.
True enough, some marijuana users are responsible in handling the substance, and they would like the world to hear them out. They want to break the misconception that all marijuana users act the same way. The reality, according to them, is that those who are heavy marijuana users are entirely different from them.
Below are some ways on how marijuana users make use of the drug responsibly:
1. Keep away from minors
The legalization of marijuana is bound by provisions, and one of the most important ones is that it should only be used by individuals aged 21 and older. This means that no adult should encourage kids to use it, nor smoke weed in front of children. Our aim should be focused on teaching the children responsibility and accountability in situations like this.
For whatever reason that marijuana is used for, marijuana users should be responsible enough to keep the substance out of children’s reach. Ordinarily, children are curious, while most teens may be tempted to use cannabis so that they would know how it feels to be a grownup.
2. Check your line of work
Knowing the effects of marijuana on an individual, make sure that you know if it’s safe for you to use it. Remember that the amount of marijuana can significantly affect decision-making. Therefore, it is not recommended to let an individual who has just currently used pot to handle any heavy equipment or vehicles.
Although experts have said that cannabis use may be safer than alcohol use, it is still possible that cannabis users may become impaired to drive any motor vehicle.
Smoking marijuana should not be done before reporting for work. Many companies have implemented a drug testing policy, wherein employees are expected to be free from any alcohol or drug use while at work, in order to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. Companies do not have any hold on their employees after working hours, but workers should come to work mentally and physically prepared to perform all tasks.
3. Respect other people
A responsible marijuana user should be aware of the kind of place and the people who would be attending in a social gathering. In this case, respecting the right of others should be of utmost importance. You should not violate the rights of others, and you need to respect the preferences of others who wish to stay clear from marijuana.
Marijuana users should adhere to existing smoking rules in both public and private places. Non-smokers should not feel that they are being dragged into the marijuana user’s preference.
If you’re living in a conservative neighborhood, don’t flaunt about your use of cannabis. Although it may be legal in the state where you live in, it would be wise to keep the information to yourself particularly when dealing with custody battles.
Never smoke inside the car especially when someone who does not smoke cannabis is also in the vehicle.
4. Regulate dosage, and follow prescribed amount
Using an enormous amount of marijuana or any illicit substance can turn into abuse or addiction. The effects of marijuana may provide a positive outcome to an individual, provided that there is control in the quantity and frequency of use.
Some responsible marijuana users admitted that using cannabis has helped improve their quality of work by being creative and productive. The “feel good” effect that marijuana provides helps them to become more inspired to do their jobs.
Responsible marijuana users should be able to resist having to use marijuana in large amounts. Although marijuana can be a great reward after a long day, it should be taken in moderation. Never make an excuse for doing your obligations or responsibilities because you are “high”.
Cannabis has effects that can lead to unfavorable situations when paired with other substances. It is the responsibility of the marijuana user to know the contraindications of any medications that he is taking.
5. Don’t treat it as a habit
Responsible marijuana users do not use the drug as a means of bonding with a loved one. There is a huge window of possibly engaging in more “cannabis sessions” if it becomes your means of connecting with others.
Responsible marijuana users would only take a minimum amount of weed in a day to help them release their creative juices. It should not lead to a habit-forming activity with others.
6. Don’t give cannabis as a gift
Cannabis is never a good gift idea. If you are bringing some marijuana in a party or gathering, make it clear with the host that you are bringing along some with you. Remember that it is possible that not all people who would be there is a marijuana user like you.
7. Learn all about marijuana
The effects and dangers of marijuana should be clear in anyone’s thoughts. Aside from learning about marijuana yourself, educating children about the substance and the reality of drug abuse is essential.
8. Listen to feedback from others
Being open to criticism and advice from others should be followed by any responsible marijuana user. You may be unaware that you exhibit an unusual behavior whenever you take marijuana, which can become a distraction to others. In this case, you may need to re-evaluate your usage of marijuana.
9. Follow legislation
Never attempt to sell cannabis to anyone. As mentioned earlier, distribution of marijuana is considered a violation of the federal law.
Growing marijuana is not allowed. Those who have the permission to grow marijuana are for medical use only. It is best to consume within the legal limits. Shipping cannabis via mail is also prohibited as this can lead to federal charges.
Bottom line, you need to be aware of the laws and regulations governing marijuana use in your state.
Although companies may have their focus on providing a healthy and safe workplace, marijuana users see this as a form of discrimination wherein the presence of the drugs are magnified more than their abilities to perform their tasks.
It is unlikely these days that companies would not let applicants undergo pre-employment testing. Therefore, if you are applying for a job that will require pre-employment drug testing, abstain from taking marijuana for as long as you can. Frequent users may need to abstain for several weeks to ensure that all drug metabolites have been completely flushed out of the system.
The future of the legalization of marijuana is still vague. Although there are many talented and hard-working individuals who can become members of the workforce, some of them are unable to secure a job because of their marijuana usage.
The stigma that society continuously points out to all marijuana users will never be transformed unless it realizes that marijuana advocates can also become responsible for their use of cannabis. In short, in as much as users should be responsible in taking marijuana, the rest of society should try to understand the user’s point of view and respect them as members of the same community.