By: Stephen Carter
I’ve always been an avid target shooter and a big proponent of self defense with a firearm. Growing up I was surrounded by rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Having lived in Texas my entire life, guns are very much a part of the culture. Another aspect of the culture here that is often hidden but definitely on the rise is the use of cannabis.
My first experience with a firearm was a BB gun when I was four years old, a .410 shotgun at six, and as I got older I progressed on to more powerful guns. One thing I was taught early on was the responsible use of firearms; that a gun used in the proper way is a safe tool for multiple purposes. Similarly, cannabis is a safe tool that has multiple purposes when it is responsibly used.
Let’s talk about the positive uses of these items first. Guns have recreational uses in both target shooting and hunting, which is also a good way to stock your freezer full of venison “deer meat” and other wild game. They can also be used for self defense, whether it be against wild animals, home intruders, and if you’re a concealed carrier, in public against would-be aggressors.
When it comes to cannabis, it has both recreational uses as well as medicinal uses. For those wanting to kick back and relax after a long day, cannabis is ideal for helping a person unwind due to its calming effects. While some people prefer some sort of alcohol, which is a toxin to the body, others prefer the non-toxic plant for recreational use. Its medicinal values are vast, helping to treat pain in cancer and MS patients, soothe the stomachs of those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and helps with many other medical issues http://norml.org/marijuana/medical
So what are the negatives of having guns legally accessible? In order to have a negative, we have to have irresponsible use. All too often we see children get a hold of guns and harm themselves and others. This happens through carelessness and poor training. Sometimes it is due to a freak accident, and every time it is a tragedy that someone lost their life due to the improper use of a gun. This is no reason to make guns illegal though, or to even severely restrict their use. Information and education is all that is needed along with laws ensuring the rights of people are upheld when someone improperly uses a firearm.
What about the negatives of cannabis use? Of course this happens only with irresponsible use. Thankfully the negatives of legally accessible cannabis aren’t quite as life-threatening since it is impossible for a person to die from the use of cannabis. There have been zero deaths attributed to this once legal plant. However, there can still be other issues. Naturally we do not want people out driving on the roads while intoxicated by the effects of cannabis just as we don’t want people out driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, without the proper knowledge of dosage people can end up ingesting too much and become disoriented, and while this is not fatal, it can be distressing when not knowing what to expect.
There are other claims of negative effects of consuming cannabis, such as the destruction of brain cells and lung cancer. It has not been proven that its use kills brain cells and the study often cited for this claim ended up admitting that during their experiment they pumped 40 joints worth of smoke into the lungs of monkeys without any sort of oxygen for several minutes. As we know, when your brain is cut off from oxygen, the result is a loss of brain cells. As for lung cancer, this has not been proven either, though it is undeniable that the inhalation of smoke is never a good thing. The positive here though is that cannabis can be consumed in many other ways that do not damage the body, such as by eating it, vaporizing, or tinctures.
Seeing as how cannabis is currently illegal to possess, let’s imagine what society might be like if guns and ammunition were illegal to possess. People would constantly be taken to jail over possessing a firearm, even though they haven’t harmed anyone. They would receive criminal records that would make it tough to find jobs or obtain higher education. This would also cost the tax payers a lot of money as these people are now being housed and fed in prisons rather than being productive members of society. Not to mention the detrimental mental effects of having to serve time in prison for a crime where you harmed no one.
The big question is, where would people obtain their guns and ammunition from? Obviously making guns illegal will not deter a lot of people from obtaining and possessing them, so there will definitely be a market. Since you can’t go down to the local gun store, you will often be forced to deal with some unsavory people. The prices you pay will be artificially high due to the prohibition, and you’ll have to worry about the quality of your firearm and its ammunition, making the possession and use of a gun potentially very unsafe.
Also, what about your children? Sure you can keep your guns safely away from them, but what about that unsavory person that sells them? They don’t really care how old your child is or whether or not they can properly use a gun, all they care about is making money and they aren’t required to ID kids that make purchases from them. In fact, they have every incentive to upsell to your kids, meaning your child could now potentially get a hold of far more dangerous weapons that you would not like to see them have access to.
Taking that into consideration, can you imagine what the prohibition of cannabis does?
It’s time we take a sensible approach to cannabis just as we have done with guns. Information, education, and regulation are the way to go.
For more information and revelations on the subject of cannabis, please watch the very informative documentary below.