The news that cannabis has now been legalized in some states in America and European countries, classifying it as a « Class C » drug has left many people confused about the nature of this « taboo » and whether or not it should be legal. From the way I see it, instead of finding reasons to legalize a « taboo », it would be more legitimate to give the reasons for its banning in the first place.

First of all, as a Lebanese citizen, I can’t compare the conditions in which I’m introducing this « drug » to the ones where it has already been. Lebanon is neither Amsterdam nor Australia where the laws on cannabis use are strictly respected.  Whereas in Lebanon, it would be just the cherry on top of all corruptions and « against-the-laws » since people can’t even put a seat belt on. However, Marijuana isn’t just a question of a civil society; in fact, its nature as a mind-altering substance, regardless of its level, throws out any argument of its legalization.

Medically speaking, I would first like to state that the regular use of Marijuana, IF legalized, can develop mental illnesses on the long run, such as Schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. It’s actually being found more and more that modern pot can cause panic attacks as well as promote paranoia in the still-growing brains of young smokers.                                                                                                                                   And for those who use the « medical marijuana card », first off, when various studies showed that THC might slow the growth of some tumors – while making others grow faster- all of their studies showed that they got their results by injecting the chemical and NOT getting rats to smoke joints. Yet, pot advocates go out of their way to tell you that “smoking weed will cure you from cancer”. Second, they should note the difference between the “medical” marijuana and the “street” Marijuana. In fact, medical marijuana is clean and not soaked in deadly pesticides which are found in street marijuana. It also requires a medical prescription for serious diseases just like Morphine that is said to be the “medical heroin” and is only legal when used with a prescription or license. However, the question is: why search for the medicine if you could prevent the disease? Breathing smoke of any kind is not good for you and with Marijuana you’re inhaling smoke into your lungs and holding it there for a long time which damages the tissue. In fact, studies have shown that Cannabis joints contain 50% more cancer causing toxins than cigarettes from tobacco alone.



So up till now I have seen arguments go from “marijuana isn’t as bad as other drugs” to “it doesn’t hurt you” to finally saying that pot is “good for you”. Because a perfectly healthy guy with a cannabis leaf t-shirt standing up next to the cancer patient, all he has in mind are the interests of the cancer patient. It just makes you look stupid standing there – Just Saying.    Truth is, people just want to get high and I wish they’d admit it because out of all the arguments that I’ve heard so far, not a single one was “I want to get stoned without being arrested” which is ironic because it’s the only logical one. Besides, discussing the classification of a drug is absurd. Why would we even go there? A drug is still a drug with its mentally, physically and socially side effects, whether it’s a level A or C. A person who uses a level C drug will most likely upgrade to level A. In fact, Marijuana produces a surge of chemicals in an area of the brain called the « pleasure center » where other level A drugs such as heroin and cocaine also produce a surge of chemicals in the same area causing the intoxication state, which rises the controversy of its addictive substance. However, if Marijuana wasn’t as addictive as other drugs in its nature, the psychological factor of a cannabis consumer plays a central role in leading them to upgrade to more addictive drugs when dissatisfied with the effects of Marijuana on a long term use. In fact, a person who actually likes to get in a state of intoxication will have no problem whatsoever in upgrading to more intoxicating types of drugs after a regular use of Marijuana which could be stipulated by its legalization.  Second of all, when the “medical card” gets shut down, there comes the dominant economic reason “it will bring in tax revenues”. True, but if you think that by eliminating the cost of marijuana-related law enforcement, the country will turn into a grow-your-own marijuana land then you’re insane, because with legalization comes loads of regulations to figure out exactly what activity you’re legalizing, restrictions on its production and what happens to the people who violate the new laws. Then, you need somebody enforcing those regulations and go after the black market stuff;  Thereofore, you still have to pay for cops to investigate and arrest people who use unauthorized pot.             Plus, the legalization of Marijuana would lead to a « dumber society » causing people to have trouble concentrating and performing full conscious activities of daily life especially in schools and work places. People will become so caught up in getting stoned all the time they’ll never get anything done.  Also, not to mention the automatic higher risk of car accidents caused by intoxication, putting the public health at risk.

In the end, legalizing Marijuana is a useless debate as it would bring more harm as a « drug » than good as another « dumb way » of pleasuring ourselves leaving us lazy, careless and alter our sense of reality. As a Lebanese citizen, I think we should focus on more important legislations in one of the 50 most corrupt nations worldwide, which is Lebanon.

Jana Bakkar



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