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Teen Highlights the Failure of Prohibition

marjuana prohibition

Banning the sale and consumption of alcohol did not exactly create the moral utopia some expected in the 1920s and 30s.  In fact, it created bootlegging and organized crime which still presents major problems almost a century later.  Banning and ignoring marijuana has also created an unregulated black market, however our government does not seem to be learning a quick lesson this time around.

Many experts also believe that banned substances can become in vogue.  While marijuana happens to be a banned substance with little to no side effects, its chemical copies offer far more devastating consequences.  Synthetic marijuana or cannabinoids, can mimic many of the effects of marijuana, but also carry the potential for massive health complications.  These include high risk for strokes, heart problems, stomach/intestinal issues, and mental problems.  Despite this, synthetic marijuana has become very popular with teens as it can be purchased at local convenience stores.   Last year, a federal ban was enacted to stop the sales of products that include these lab created compounds such as JWH-018.

A teen from Cypress, Texas, knows all too well of just how serious the side effects of synthetic marijuana can be.  Emily Bauer spent two weeks in an ICU after purchasing and using synthetic marijuana.  Two weeks before her ICU stay, she was experiencing persistent migraines.  Her symptoms grew worse as her mental state deteriorated.  She became violent and when her parents decided to have paramedics take her to the hospital, she fought vigorously and bit guardrails and anybody who attempted to help her.  Her symptoms were so severe that it appeared she would not recover.  Bauer survived but has endured a traumatic experience.  She finds herself part of the group that is most at risk to wind up in the hospital for synthetic marijuana use, those between the ages of 12-17.

Unfortunately, the propaganda and exaggeration machine has eroded the trust between teens and government officials.  Teens have heard and found firsthand that marijuana is not nearly the villain that films such as reefer madness have made it out to be.  The problem now has become trying to earn this trust back.  People are willing to try out dangerous products such as K2 and Spice despite health warnings.  Additionally, the bans may never be fully effective as labs can create new synthetic cannabinoids with relative ease.  The government has a tremendous credibility issue and has to engage in a realistic conversation on marijuana.  It is here, it is not going away, and with proper regulation will be far less harmful than prescription drugs, homemade drugs, alcohol, and synthetics.


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