For generations, pot was illegal.

But like whiskey during prohibition from 1920 to 1933, millions of people were imbibing and gangsters surreptitiously broke the law and made a whole lot of money. In the ’20s, it was a constitutional ban on production, importation, transportation and the sale of alcoholic beverages.     

But now, after 30 years of a shrewd and expensive lobbying campaign, America has become more tolerant of marijuana.

It was discovered that medical marijuana was helpful in treatment for some health problems.

Alex Berenson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, said, “In November, 2018, Michigan became the 10th state to legalize recreational cannabis use; New Jersey and others may soon follow. Already, more than 200 million Americans live in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.”

California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215). In November 2016, the state’s voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 62) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

On Jan. 1, 2018, retail cannabis shops in our state opened their doors for the first time, inaugurating what proponents say will become the world’s largest market for legalized recreational marijuana.

There was a time when marijuana was illegal everywhere and testing for it was as easy as could be.

It didn’t matter the level of cannabinoids found in a person’s body. If it was there, the person was breaking the law.

It’s different now.

The tests have changed from depositing a urine sample into a cup to drawing blood or offer oral fluids. The particular type of cannabinoid — the chemical compound that reacts in the brain — is also detected differently by any of those tests.

The evolving science of testing for marijuana and the lack of consensus over how to measure impairment, is the defining feature of the drug.

It separates marijuana from alcohol and creates challenges for lawmakers, police and prosecutors, not to mention users.

Berenson wrote that the number of Americans who use cannabis heavily is soaring. In 2006, about 3 million Americans reported using the drug at least 300 times a year, the standard for daily use. By 2017, that number had increased to 8 million approaching the 12 million Americans who drank every day.

Marijuana can cause psychosis and psychosis is a high risk factor for violence.

The most obvious way that cannabis fuels violent psychotic people is through its tendency to cause paranoia.

For people with psychotic disorders, paranoia can fuel extreme violence.

A 2007 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at 88 defendants who had committed homicide during psychotic episodes. It found that most of the killers believed they were in danger from the victim and almost two-thirds reported misusing cannabis — more than alcohol and amphetamines combined.

But for centuries, people all over the world have understood that cannabis causes mental illness and violence — just as they’ve known that opiates cause addiction and overdose.

Hard data on the relationship between marijuana and madness dates back 150 years, to British asylum registers in India.

The extensive pressure to legalize pot has resulted in an extreme growth among users.

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