Army Bob: Marijuana harmful, but legalization inevitable

“Marijuana smoke contains about 50% more benzopyrene and nearly 75% more benzanthracene, both known carcinogens, than a comparable quantity of unfiltered tobacco smoke (Tashkin, 2013). Moreover, the deeper inhalations and longer breath-holding of marijuana smokers result in greater exposure of the lung to the tar and carcinogens in the smoke. Lung biopsies from habitual marijuana-only users have revealed widespread alterations to the tissue, some of which are recognized as precursors to the subsequent development of cancer (Tashkin, 2013).”  — The University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

Let’s talk about marijuana. My generation, the Baby Boomers or Boomers, grew up on the belief smoking marijuana was and is a good thing to do; I have a good friend who is a rabid believer in the miraculous benefits of the drug.

When I bring up the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, who are all warning against the use of the drug, mostly smoking it, he merely states that many people do not believe them or they are are in the pocket of the distillers. 

For the life of me I cannot understand how inhaling any burning vegetable matter is good for your health. Burning leaves, burning homes, burning organic or inorganic matter inhaled are all toxic, but marijuana is good for you? During the Civil War tobacco smoking, mostly using a pipe, was considered a miraculous disease preventive. Yellow fever and malaria were rampant, spread by insects who were deterred by smoke, any smoke; those who smoked tobacco had less disease than those who refrained.

The supporters of legalization of cannabis will not be deterred by common sense or logic; marijuana will be legalized in Michigan. We will pay a long-term price along the lines of the price we pay for alcohol and tobacco use in future generations, but the belief in the sanctity of the cause of legalization is paramount, the long-term harm be damned.

As a good capitalist I believe that the sale, processing, quality control and distribution of a toxic substance like tobacco, alcohol or marijuana, if legal, needs to be capitalized upon.

For a period of well over 100 years some counties in many states were “dry.” They did and in some cases, and still do not allow the sale alcohol; indeed Jack Daniels whiskey is made in a dry county. The distillery is located in Moore County, in the city of Lynchburg, Tenn. The prohibition of alcohol may make folks feel good, but it changes little; incidents of domestic assault did go down during National Prohibition, 1920-1933 but overall it did little in the short run.

When (and not if) Michigan legalizes yet one more harmful drug, the governments in the five communities this august publication serves should allow the production, sale, packaging, testing and distribution of the drug. The use of marijuana for medical purposes is one of those things that folks latch on to and they cannot be dissuaded by common sense. The chemical compounds in marijuana that aid folks have been developed in pill, inhaler, and vaporizer form and are more effective and safer to use. These delivery methods do not require the smoke from burning vegetable matter to be inhaled, smoke that contains many toxic substances.

Marijuana is smoked in a way that intensifies the harmful effects of smoking. To maximize the effects of the drug it is inhaled deeply and then held in the lungs until the need to exhale. The deep inhalation combined with the holding of the smoke in the lungs maximizes the euphoric effect of the tetrahydrocannabinol, but it also maximizes the long-term damage to your body. 

Marijuana can be used in bakery products, brownies and the like, but how many folks do you know who bake the drug compared to smoking?  

Like it or not and I do not, legalization will come to Michigan and in Allegan County, it’s best if we profit from one more legal, even if harmful, product. 


  • 1. Smoking it – or anything – is harmful, as is correctly pointed out. Marijuana can be ingested in other way, and there is yet to be anything linking eating, drinking, or inhaling vapors (not smoke) of the weed as being harmful.
    2. My libertarian friends tell me the government has no business prohibiting this substance – except when driving autos, etc.
    3. Legalizing it would diminish the profitability of drug cartels.
    4. Legalizing it, and taxing it, would help generate income for things like schools, fire protection, health care, etc.
    5. Many states now have legalized recreational marijuana use, and have seemed not to have undergone the calamitous results predicted.
    6. In some places, there is still governmental focus on eradicating use of the herb by private American citizens, and this money could be put to better use.

  • Mr. Basura,
    Thank you for the comment.
    The lung, heart and cancer folks state long term use is and proven to be harmful, however people have the right to be stupid and use dangerous legal substances.

  • The US attempted to ban alcohol with Prohibition. It was a move that created vast wealth for organized crime and made drinking homemade moonshine an adventure when unscrupulous producers would use wood alcohol as an additive.

    Alcohol was made legal again with better production controls and clear labeling of alcohol content.

    Part of marijuana legalization will be standardized THC levels so users and prescribers of marijuana will know what they’re getting. There will hopefully be additional laws so producers can’t add chemicals like the tobacco industry did for years.

    Tobacco legal and still causing cancers, heart , lung and circulatory disease. Alcohol is legal and is still causing cirrhosis, brain damage in children when their mothers drink and dementia for long term drinkers.

    Marijuana has many of the same risks seen in tobacco and alcohol use. Like any other controlled substance , they all have to be used responsibly

    • Couchman
      Thanks for the comment.
      In a perfect world we would not have folks using dangerous drugs for recreation, we are not in a perfect world.
      Thanks again.

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