Alcohol, Marijuana and the Youth of America (Part 2)

By Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris

Dallas, TX – -( A few weeks ago, I began to show from extensive studies and evidence how alcohol use and marijuana use compare in terms of addiction, withdrawal and using motorized vehicles.

This week, I will discuss in greater detail how alcohol and marijuana compare in their effects on our minds, bodies and relationships. And then I want to conclude by addressing the most overlooked aspect of the marijuana legalization debate: its effects on the youth of America.

CNN recently reported on multiple studies on alcohol and marijuana use. Of course, we know that long-term drinking can lead to neurological and psychiatric problems, liver disease, and increased risks of many forms of cancer. But not always apparent is the fact that compared with cigarette smoking, marijuana smoking increases by fourfold the concentration of tar chemicals, which can cause lung cancer, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Studies also show how both drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana lower inhibitions and therefore can increase risky behavior, including unprotected sex, which can lead to catching sexually transmitted diseases and having an unwanted pregnancy. Studies on men show that marijuana use promotes greater rates of sexual dysfunction, too, including loss of sexual pleasure and erectile dysfunction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol use kills roughly 88,000 Americans a year. Though an overdose of marijuana is highly unlikely, cannabis users have a 4.8-fold increased risk of a heart attack during the first hour after smoking. And again, as I pointed out last week, a study published in the British Medical Journal showed that marijuana users who drove within three hours of smoking nearly doubled their chances of causing a crash compared with sober drivers.

Regarding relationships, in the Psychology Today article titled “Weeding out your significant other? Marijuana and relationships,” Adi Jaffe, Ph.D. — the executive director of Alternatives addiction treatment and a lecturer at UCLA and California State University, Long Beach — demonstrated how there can be a direct relation between adolescent pot smoking and later relational conflicts, irrespective of social upbringing, personal hardships or other potential conflict exacerbations.

Jaffe explained: “A recent study conducted by Judith Brooks at NYU School of Medicine has revealed that one of those experiences, smoking marijuana (weed) may be associated with more relationship conflict later in life. What's amazing about this study is that the drug use here occurred earlier in life for most of the 534 participants, while the relationship trouble was assessed around their mid- to late-twenties.”

That is why one of my biggest concerns regarding the legalization of marijuana is its pervasive impact upon younger generations.

Ruben Baler, a health scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, explained that for young people, smoking marijuana also affects brain development by meddling with connections in the brain “at a time when the brain should be at a clear state of mind, and accumulating, memory and data and good experiences that should be laying out the foundation for the future.” Baler exhorted young souls by noting that every time they smoke marijuana, they're “cumulatively impairing (their) cognitive function. What's going to be the ultimate result, nobody can say.”

Moreover, seven other studies show, according to CNN, that “high doses of marijuana can also cause temporary psychotic reactions, such as hallucinations and paranoia in some people.

Younger people with a family history of schizophrenia are at a higher risk of developing the disorder after using marijuana.”

Even on the White House's own website, the form titled “The Public Health Consequences of Marijuana Legalization” explains the health detriments of marijuana smoking:

  • “Marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory illnesses, and cognitive impairment.
  • “Marijuana is also the second leading substance for which people receive drug treatment and a major cause for visits to emergency rooms.
  • “Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about implications for public health — especially among adolescents, for whom long-term use of marijuana may be linked with lower IQ (as much as an average 8 point drop) later in life.”

With the preceding health risks in mind — as well as past-month use of marijuana rates, which, among 12- to 17-year-olds, climbed from 6.7 percent in 2008 to 7.9 percent in 2011, went from 13.8 percent in 2008 among 10th-graders to 17.6 percent in 2011 and rose from 18.3 percent in 2006 among 12th-graders to 22.6 percent in 2011, and illicit drug use increases by 43 percent among Hispanic boys and 42 percent among African-American teen girls since 2008 — society must give greater consideration to the implications of marijuana legalization (and its subsequent increases in availability, acceptability and use) upon the youth of America. Are adult smokers of cannabis really willing to risk every last one of our posterity so that they can smoke it legally?

Travis D. Waters, a former associate of drug lord Pablo Escobar, was interviewed on Fox News Channel and said:

“I'm dumbfounded that states would even consider legalizing marijuana. … (That would) be so destructive to the young adults in America.”

Just a few weeks ago, two high-school students in Olathe, Colo., were taken to a hospital after eating marijuana-infused “cherry tarts,” which are being sold at a dispensary in Denver, according to ABC News.

And CNN reported that law enforcement in Northern California arrested an elementary-school teacher after she brought marijuana-laced food to an after-hours employee potluck dinner. As a result, one of the partygoers was hospitalized that evening with severe reactions. Another attendee was taken to the hospital the next morning because she was still under the influence. But worst of all, a 15-year-old also got sick after someone at the potluck brought leftovers home.

No wonder former Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Peter Bensinger, who served under three presidents, said about the legalization of pot in any state: It “will damage the young people in that state. It will damage the industries in the state and put the highways in jeopardy.”

I would imagine this is just the beginning of myriad incidents that will occur to adolescents as more and more U.S. states join the legalized pot pool and marijuana-infused edibles are made in kitchens and marketed on store shelves.

That is why I mentioned in the first part of this series and note again here: I'm not making a case for or against the medicinal use of marijuana.

However, it's very difficult for me to believe that America, average healthy Americans and particularly our younger generations are going to be better off with pot's legalization. Isn't it time we lessened rather than increased the potential stumbling blocks for our posterity? If we the people won't protect future generations, then who will?

In Part 3, I'll answer this question, asked by even many of my fellow patriots: But isn't legalizing pot really an issue of freedom and removing government tyranny over our choices?

Follow Chuck Norris through his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and Facebook's “Official Chuck Norris Page.” He blogs at

Action hero and Second Amendment activist, Chuck Norris is one of the most enduringly popular actors in the world. He has starred in more than 20 major motion pictures. His television series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which completed its run in April 2001 after eight full seasons, is the most successful Saturday night series on CBS since “Gunsmoke.”In 2006, he added the title of columnist to his illustrious list of credits with the launch of his popular Internet column. Now Chuck is a regular contributor to AmmoLand, click the following link to See more of Chuck Norris on AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.

  • 11 thoughts on “Alcohol, Marijuana and the Youth of America (Part 2)

    1. pepe – by your own libertine and hedonistic “logic” ALL drugs should be legalized. As a nation we already have enough problems with alcohol without compounding it with today’s hightest THC, meth, coke, heroin, etc. Your strawman argument of not hurting anyone stops when you and your stoner buttheads maim and kill my family and friends, and take funds out of my taxpaying pocket to fund your drug rehab. I work in a rehab center and by far most of the patients/inmates are druggies like yourself and whose treatment I am subsidizing via insurance or welfare tax outlays.

      If anyone is a leftist it is you and your secular humanist and amoral stoner cabal. As liberaltarians agree with the Left on social issues and national security policy, that makes you 2/3 liberal…

    2. I can not believe my eyes when i look at this article and the comments! Both show the exact same prejudice against marijuana users as hoplophobes against gun owners.
      You could rewrite this essay verbatim except for replacing “marijuana” with “coffee”; it would make perfect sense.
      Norris has no reason to treat marijuana worse than alcohol except that he just does. Everyone here who believes “but marijuana is so much worse–” is beginning with a belief and using it to prove itself. Besides, it isn’t relevant even if it were true.

      Your varied comments about protecting people from themselves is just the sort of thing slaveholders say about their captives. Nobody says We lock up people because it’s fun; he says We give them all the freedom they can handle…they just can’t handle it.
      Jimmy believes that we must punish people who DON’T misuse a drug because Joe Blo did misuse it. He also believes that everybody except himself is incapable of selfcontrol. Yes Jimmy can refrain from more drinks but everybody else must be tied up.

    3. Like most people, my opinion on these topics has evolved over time. When the recession started in 08, I went from managing a Maquiladora in Mexico to working in a refinery in Saudi Arabia to the Texas Oil Fields (yes evil Fracking and pipelines). I mention my background only because I want to point out I went from living in a heavy drinking culture (where most kids openly drink by 15) to one that had near zero drinking and drug use and only to go back again to live around heavy drinkers.
      My conclusion is a drug and alcohol world is dramatically different. I have first hand experience since I did not stay in a compound in Mexico or Saudi and I mostly socialized with local residents. I do enjoy having a few drinks but I would give it up to see the benefits. Here is the problem with both drugs and alcohol: while most users will not become addicted to either, too many will. Second, it is impossible to measure the collateral damage caused by DWI collisions, broken marriages, neglected children and ruined lives. All of the above not by addicts but by the majority of users occasional drinkers, like me, that can recall a time or two we drank too much and did something stupid.
      I know for a fact that when your in an enviorment without drugs and alcohol, you can still enjoy life and free time, without a hangover and with fewer embarrassing and stupid mistakes.

    4. I’m to the right of Rush Limbaugh, but I have to disagree with you, Chuck. There is no town in America where kids can’t buy drugs. There is no school in America – including private schools – where kids can’t buy drugs. There is no FEDERAL PRISON without a drug problem. If you can’t keep drugs out of the hands of people when you have 24/7/365 control of their lives, why on earth do you delude yourself about restricting them in a free society?
      Fact: Government has no business telling us what we can put in our mouths.
      Fact: The trillions of dollars spent on the “drug wars” have only served to militarize American law enforcement, empowering abuses and driving them further from the American people they’re supposed to serve.

    5. You lost me with an overdose is “highly unlikely” because is so unlikely that it has never happened. The pot being smoked today is stronger, and I don’t want my kids smoking it. That being said, I also don’t want big government telling me what plant I can consume and what plant I can’t. Chuck, you are flat out on the wrong side of this argument if you want to claim a conservative point of view. Now if you are siding with police and prison guard unions, or the ATF/DEA crew, then sure, keeping things illegal and putting more people in cages is a good business model, so sure, I can accept that argument. Just be honest about the position being taken. If the position is we want freedom to enjoy our liberty then by all means, the States should move to legalize as they see fit. If the position is that Fed Gov needs to keep us safe, then let’s talk about weed, AND cigarettes AND alcohol as the numbers harmed by the last two would indicate a strong need for federal nanny work. But. If adults are free to engage in bah visors if their choosing, the Chuck’s position seems weak at best.

    6. What better way to make them complacent to what’s going on? Smoking marijuana will surely sedate them. I find it puzzling that a government that portrays tobacco smokers as pariahs is OK with smoking marijuana? You can’t convince me only tobacco smoke contains carcinogens. With everybody “high” I guess proper health care won’t be a government concern like it currently is? LOL

    7. what is wrong with you study after study shows 5gal buckets of pot coke and heroin free on corner the humans that dont use wont use the ones that do illegally will they let humans drink wicked alcohol but wont decriminalize cannibals that’s dumbfounding because you wouldnt need as many cops or guns or bullets pot smokers are creative individuals that dont cause trouble dont speed dont fight they generally just work and mind there own business

    8. @11hotel; seems to me, that if you believe in freedom, as long as you don’t infringe on others freedom, is what being a conservative is all about. The left wingers are the ones using the law to push their agenda. Welcome to the left, maybe you could tell us about your “commonsense” gun control measures next?

    9. “I’m dumbfounded that states would even consider legalizing marijuana. … (That would) be so destructive to the young adults in America.” Yes, because now young people would never consider smoking pot because it’s illegal. What planet are these people living on?

    10. Chuck, thanks for your articles, but appealing to commonsense and science when dealing with the emotional, amoral, and hedonistic Liberal/Liberaltarians is an exercise in futility…

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