Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Should we legalize marijuana?

There is a wide range of legal and illegal mind-altering substances and in the big scheme of things, marijuana is fairly tame.Bohrer

However, I am not convinced that the benefits of legalizing marijuana will outweigh the potential costs. I’m a bit cynical on the issue. Will legalizing marijuana help us fight the “actual” war on drugs by keeping petty crimes out of the mix? I don’t know. Personally, I think our “war on drugs” is so ridiculous that there is really no saving it, but that’s another conversation. Will we be able to tax marijuana and use the money to help our economy? Maybe, but do we know where that money will actually be going? Does marijuana help with glaucoma and cancer chemotherapy? Perhaps, but I doubt it’s a ground-breaking cure.

As an addiction therapist, I tend to stay away from the politics of things and instead focus on potential negative impacts substances may have on an individual’s overall well-being. Research has taught us several things about marijuana.

Marijuana is a gateway drug. Studies show that people who use marijuana are more likely to use other substances.

Marijuana is addictive. For a long time we didn’t think marijuana was physically addictive. However, we have recently discovered that marijuana can be physically addictive, but withdrawal symptoms are usually mild to moderate and occur weeks to months after use is discontinued, making it difficult to connect the dots.

Marijuana decreases motivation. I have seen too many teens use marijuana and not reach their full academic potential, often negatively impacting their future in a variety of ways. Smoking marijuana has a negative impact on our health. Marijuana contains similar carcinogens as tobacco, often in higher concentrations.

Marijuana is probably less dangerous than alcohol, which is legal and widely available. Many teens experiment with pot and do not move on to hard drugs, nor do they show any signs of addiction. However, the potential costs of marijuana use still outweigh any benefits for me.

If one person moves from marijuana to heroin or methamphetamines, which are highly addictive, because we chose to make marijuana more accessible, we have failed as a society.

If you have ever seen someone suffer from addiction, you are well aware of the devastating outcomes associated with it. Instead of supporting our constant need to escape reality, let’s look at why we have a nation that wants to drink and smoke their boredom, pain, grief, and loneliness away.

I am not necessarily against marijuana use, but I am against legalizing it until someone convinces me otherwise.

Teal Bohrer, Lake Oswego, has a master’s degree in addiction counseling from Lewis & Clark College and is pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling education from Oregon State University. She sees individuals for a variety of issues at her local private practice.



Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

78°F

Lake Oswego

Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 45%

Wind: 7 mph

  • 1 Sep 2014

    Mostly Clear 79°F 57°F

  • 2 Sep 2014

    Partly Cloudy 79°F 53°F