Focus on the Family

Marijuana’s effects too damaging to support legalization

Q: What's wrong with marijuana? Personally, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be legalized.

Jim: Your viewpoint is gaining support, as evidenced by voter approval legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Public opinion aside, my concerns are rooted in the well-documented facts of what pot does to the person who uses it. These are just a few that have been highlighted by our Physicians Resource Council.

First, marijuana smoke is more irritating to the upper respiratory tract and contains 50 to 70 percent more cancer-provoking hydrocarbons than tobacco. Combine this with pot-smokers' tendency to inhale deeply and hold their breath while smoking, and it's easy to see why long-term marijuana users are at a high risk for chronic lung disease and for cancer of the upper respiratory tract and lungs.

Its impact on motor skills and intellectual functions is also detrimental. Frequent use can impair concentration, learning, memory and judgment — conditions that can linger long after immediate effects of the drug have worn off. Long-term marijuana users are also known for developing a marked lack of motivation. Their personal goals and self-discipline literally go up in smoke. Other research has linked marijuana use with poor overall job performance. Another concern is its addictive properties, which impair an individual's ability to make deep and meaningful attachments with people. This promotes isolation, which feeds the need to smoke pot, which strains more relationships, which causes increased conflict in marriage or with co-workers and friends.

Finally, pot can become a gateway drug for the user, creating pathways in the brain that invite experimentation with harder street drugs or prescription medications. Studies have shown that 90 percent of those currently using hard addictive drugs like heroin started with marijuana.

Given these facts and the damage that pot has done to people I love, there's simply no way I can support its legalization for recreational use.

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Q: My husband refuses to trash old, ragged shirts. He wears them around the house and I can't stand it. So I "help" him out by making them quietly disappear. He usually doesn't notice, but recently he busted me and went looking for a particular faded relic that I'd just turned into a dust rag. Now I'm in the doghouse. Do you think what I did was really that bad? 

 Dr. Greg Smalley, Vice President, Family Ministries: I've laughed with lots of couples whose wives have been baffled by their husbands' inability to part with weathered wearables. It's a mystery to them that defies reason. So you can take comfort in knowing that you're in the company of some good women, including Mrs. Smalley. 

 That said, while the phenomenon is humorous, and the result of your actions non-catastrophic (I assume your husband's not walking around topless), there's a sense in which a foundational building block of your marriage — respect — may need some repair. And that may be true for both of you. For your husband's part, he may have some legitimate reasons for wanting to keep and wear these shirts (and as a guy, I'll vouch that there are some). 

Regardless of your assessment, it's his stuff and his feelings, and you need to respect that. On your end, you probably have valid reasons for being bothered by his wearing these shirts. This is a great opportunity for listening to and learning about each other. The place to start is talking about it, and this incident provides a natural springboard. My recommendation: Begin the conversation with a heartfelt apology and a desire to hear his perspective, and you should be on your way to a reasonable compromise and a new understanding of each other. 

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(Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus .)



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