People who are mentally ill or addicted can’t work effectively, if at all, so they have to turn to crime and/or public support for survival. Marijuana escalates the risk of mental illness 5 times.[i] On average, 17% of adolescents and 9% of adults will become addicted.[ii] Based on federal research 7,000 people use marijuana for the first time each day.[iii] Taking an average of 13%, nationally over 332,000 new marijuana addicts will be created. California’s share at 13% of the population will be over 33,000 new addicts annually, adding another 1.3 billion in cost at $40,000 each. Instead of preventing these problems, we can expect more academic failure, lost productivity, mental illness, addiction and crime. In Sacramento, 59% of all arrestees for any crime tested positive just for marijuana; 83% for any drug[iv]. Jail overcrowding is also a factor as those deemed mentally ill languish there for weeks and months, waiting for space in a mental health facility.
Marijuana causes permanent brain damage and loss of IQ for anyone under 25.[v] It causes psychotic breaks leading to gruesome acts, including decapitations, stabbings, mass murders and suicides. Other harms include DNA damage causing birth abnormalities[vi] not just in the next generation, but the next four (100 years). Because marijuana is fat soluble, it stays in the body and brain for one month, compounding with each additional use. The impairment adversely affects cognition, judgement and memory all of which contribute to traffic deaths. [vii]
MARIJUANA – THE ECONOMIC COSTS
Aside from the devastating environmental cost, the social costs are huge. For alcohol and tobacco, the social costs exceed tax revenues by 9 to 1. The black market won’t disappear. In Colorado the black market is still about 50% of the total. In California only about 16% of cultivators have signed up to be licensed and taxed. The rest will avoid taxes and sell to the black market throughout the US. In 2009, a study called Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Governments[viii] was done which showed in 2005, California spent 19.5% of its budget ($19.9 billion) on substance abuse, of which only $38 million (1/3rd of 1%) on prevention, and the rest shoveling up the damage. This is horrible economic policy, and its much worse today. Instead of preventing this preventable disease, we cultivate it.
Voters bought the Gavin Newsom lie that Prop 64 would be a good thing. The orchestrated legislative analysis, approved by our Attorney General, Secretary of State, et al., suggested the state would save $100 million in prison costs, get rid of the black market and earn up to $1 billion in tax revenues. No mention of the environmental devastation and reclamation costs. It outrageously suggested marijuana had no serious health impacts. To cap it off, the illicit drug trade and out-of-state billionaires spent $35 million to back the campaign. If we care about our kids, and our future, its time to fight back.
[i] https////health.harvard.edu/Teens who smoke pot at risk for later schizophrenia