Written by Christopher Meyer | 11:00 am on January 21, 2012
Our culture condones and encourages alcohol consumption socially often to the point of inebriation as a recent Centers for Disease Control study shows. Binge alcohol consumption (more than 5 drinks per occasion) is on the rise with consequences for safety and health.
Compared to alcohol those using marijuana are safer drivers, aren’t prone to violence or risky behavior, and suffer very few negative consequences, yet the double standard of criminalization of cannabis remains.
The CDC has reason to believe that binge drinking has negative health consequences, and can lead to risky sexual behavior, automobile accidents, and physical violence.
In response to these risks the page offers actions governments, communities, and healthcare professionals can take to help reduce binge drinking.
Rather astutely the site recommends recognizing the number of deaths and disease caused by binge drinking, and supporting community strategies to help discourage binge drinking including education campaigns.
Given that many are concerned with potential negative effects of cannabis, any of the above recommendations would be effective in treating the perceived threat of cannabis dependence instead of involving normal citizens in an overburdened penal system.
Why should cannabis be treated differently?
Despite binge drinking among adults being on the rise, teen alcohol and tobacco use is down which pose far greater health and social risks than cannabis.
Parents should be able to educate their children about marijuana in open dialogue without a cloud of taboo hanging over the conversation.
Although millions of Americans go drinking every day to relax, socialize, and even do business, those who use marijuana towards the same ends are treated with suspicion and labeled as criminals.
The study makes clear to state that ‘most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics’.
Contrast the way cannabis users are perceived and the hypocrisy of our cultural values become clear. Someone who consumes cannabis, even infrequently is labeled as a stoner though they are no different than one of the many American’s who binge drink, but are not considered ‘alcoholics’.
The double standard allowing the real risk of alcohol to be treated with community efforts of education while cannabis users go to jail and violent drug trafficking operations make billions is unconscionable.
This divide is systemic prejudice against a plant known to be a safe medicine, food, and valuable industrial fiber.
Educating people about the safety of cannabis is vital and must begin to outweigh the din of prohibitionist propaganda.
Responsible use is what we should advocate for any drug including alcohol and cannabis. We should work to empower parents to educate their children about appropriate uses of all types of drugs and empower young adults to make good choices when they encounter them.