Marijuana Increases Drug Abuse & Violent Crime
At my local talk radio station 92.9 in Bristol, Virginia, marijuana is a popular subject. Like clockwork, one caller after another touts the medical wonders of marijuana. The host has to keep quoting the CDC otherwise. Listeners cite their friends and themselves as proof.
First, who is most likely to use marijuana? By age, the National Institute of Health:
In 2015, an estimated 22.2 million of more than 265 million Americans 12 years of age or older reported having used cannabis in the past month (8.3 percent). Cannabis use is most prevalent among young people ages 18 to 25 (19.8 percent using in the past month) (CBHSQ, 2016a). Interestingly, since 2002 the use of cannabis has decreased among 12- to 17-year-olds, while it has markedly increased in the senior population, that is, those over 55 years.
Males are nearly twice as likely (10.6 percent) to use cannabis as females (6.2 percent). Black Americans use cannabis at the highest rate among major ethnic groups (10.7 percent), followed by whites (8.4 percent) and Hispanics (7.2 percent). Use is also more common among lower-income Americans and those without college degrees (Davenport and Caulkins, 2016).
Nearly one-fifth of young people use marijuana every month. This demographic, in particular blacks, commit the most violent crimes. However, do not put this all on blacks.
In Missouri, one thinks of St. Louis as the crime capital of the state. St. Louis is about 46% black, and yes, gang and other black violence make headlines.
In some years, the crime capital of Missouri per capita is Springfield. According to the Southwest Journal for rape, murder, robbery, and assault:
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 2,016 (Most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,830 (Sixth most dangerous)
Then we have Springfield is ~88% white, ~4% black with a poverty rate of ~21%:
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,507 (Fifth most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 6,951 (Third most dangerous)
Then there is Nevada, Missouri "29.5% of the total population was Hispanic, 47.4% were white, 9.4% were black, 0.8% were American Indian/Alaska Native, and 9.2% were Asian/Pacific Islander." Nevada is a small town.
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 21)
Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,976 (Third most dangerous)
Property Crimes Per 100k: 5,748 (Seventh most dangerous)
A search of "Nevada MO drug arrests" reveals a few blacks but ~90% white, particularly meth. Same problem here in Appalachia and Springfield, MO.
The CDC (2020) claims:
"Most people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, "harder" drugs. People who use marijuana and do go on to use other drugs (including alcohol and tobacco) may have a higher risk of dependence or addiction to those drugs, especially if they started using marijuana at an early age and use it frequently."
Usual political double-speak. Many politicians almost seem to encourage marijuana use and seem determined to defend it. The NIH seems to differ:
"Some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to precede the use of other licit and illicit substances and the development of addiction to other substances."
The New York Times (DuPont et al., April 26, 2016) comes out and says it:
"It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of heroin users have used marijuana (and many other drugs) not only long before they used heroin but while they are using heroin. Like nearly all people with substance abuse problems, most heroin users initiated their drug use early in their teens, usually beginning with alcohol and marijuana. There is ample evidence that early initiation of drug use primes the brain for enhanced later responses to other drugs...
Establishing it (marijuana) as a third legal drug, along with tobacco and alcohol, will increase drug abuse, including the expanding opioid epidemic. Marijuana use is positively correlated with alcohol use and cigarette use, as well as illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine..."
Robert L. DuPont is the president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
These same demographic groups are also most likely to abuse drugs and alcohol in general and most likely to use tobacco products. There is little dispute about this. Low education levels and low IQ also make one more prone to substance abuse and crime. One can see this problem with whites here in Appalachia all the time.
Low IQ and lack of education typical in the lower classes, combined with substance abuse of all types, lead to crime, particularly violence related to drug trafficking.
But what of those already disposed to crime through culture (broken homes, inner city black culture) and biological factors?
Another report in the New York Times (1/4/2019) notes a link between violent crime and marijuana use:
"Worse - because marijuana can cause paranoia and psychosis, and these conditions are closely linked to violence - it appears to lead to an increase in violent crime...The first four states to legalize - Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington - have seen increases in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014..."
This is based on FBI, local police, and news reports that "show a clear link to cannabis in many cases."
Appalachia already suffers a serious problem with drug abuse of all kinds. While opioids get the big news, marijuana can lead to opioid abuse. The old marijuana of the 70s-80s had 5% THC - modern marijuana is 25% mind-destroying THC.
To quote, "the same people pressing for marijuana legalization argued that the risk of opioids could be easily managed."
For Bristol this should be considered. There are efforts to place a cannabis oil producer in the empty Bristol Mall. THC or not it is dumb.
What is the actual benefit of this? No to any form of marijuana in Bristol. No to legalization.
To quote www.rehab4addiction.co.uk:
Consuming cannabis tends to instigate a lot of changes in our internal biology which can affect our behaviour, this is because the chemicals in cannabis interfere with several parts of our brain that usually perform vital functions for us.
Research has strongly indicated that consuming cannabis does elicit negative personality changes in people, such as making them more suspicious (paranoid), fearful, angry and aggressive.
A state of paranoia has been consistently associated with violent and aggressive behaviour.
When you consider that cannabis also increases heart rate and arousal levels which prepare people for physical activity then it is no surprise to learn that this may lead to aggression and violence.
Cannabis use affects our self-control
There have been medical studies conducted that suggest that even a single dose of cannabis can lead to people losing the ability to control their behaviour.
They might be vulnerable to impulsive behaviour and be unable to control their emotional responses in social situations.
This means they are more likely to become aggressive and physically violent as cannabis has impaired their ability to regulate their emotional behaviour.
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