No matter where you stand on the issue of legalizing marijuana, the fact is that the laws are changing. The recreational use of marijuana is already legalized in two states, and more plan to follow suit. So, as we move forward in the short-term future, we must keep in mind that these changing laws are going to shift people’s views of marijuana.
Since marijuana is not legalized on a federal level, we have yet to determine what the true consequences of legalizing marijuana will be. We can say with some certainty that with the acceptance of this drug, people will be more willing to do it in public, even though it’s against city ordinances to do so.
How do we know? Because it’s already happening.
Pot Vaporizers Make Smoking in Public Difficult to Detect
The Channel 7 News in Denver recently reported that marijuana vaporizing pens are growing in popularity. With these pens, people can smoke marijuana on the streets without anyone knowing since they are discreet and odorless.
Vaporizing pens or e-pens or vape pens are similar to e-cigarettes. But instead of using nicotine, users inhale hash oil or cannabis. This behavior is not legal and does include a city penalty and fine if caught, but at the same time, it’s very hard to detect. Obviously, with the legalization of marijuana, police are not going to invest their time and money into tracking down vape pen users. So, while law enforcement is aware that this is going on, Denver police admit that they are not actively seeking users.
Smokeless Weed Products are Booming
Currently, products like O.penVAPE are sold exclusively in Colorado, Washington and California. As other states pass legislation, these products will be sold there, too. In fact, smokeless bud products are booming, so much that it can be hard to find a vaporizer at a recreational marijuana shop. This points in the direction of a new, profitable business that once again creates the image that smoking marijuana can be safe, convenient and fun. Even though these products do not condone smoking in public, they certainly make it easy to do so.
While Colorado may have a bigger economy when it comes to smokeless weed products, this trend is not limited to the western states. Newspapers from coast to coast have reported that vaporizing marijuana is one of the latest trends for teens and young adults. With acceptance toward e-cigarettes and a growing tolerance of marijuana, young people have no trouble putting the two together.
In fact, the New York Post reported last November that pot vaporizers have led to a new group of people called “secret stoners.” This group represents individuals who once hid their habit and smoked at home and now smoke in public without anyone knowing or being offended. Individuals who classify themselves as “secret stoners” admit that smoking through a vaporizer is smoother, cleaner and healthier. Since there is no odor, they aren’t being offensive either.
But somehow, all of this information just doesn’t sound right. Is this what we need now – more leniency on smoking marijuana AND the tools to do it conveniently?
Risks of Vaporizing Marijuana Should Not Be Overlooked
There will always be people who will stay away from chemical substances whether they are legal or not. But there are others who will use the drugs and experiment with marijuana just because it is legal and more acceptable.
In the meantime, our job as parents, educators, siblings, neighbors and coworkers is to educate young people on the dangers of smoking marijuana. There are still risks to be aware of, and vaporizers are not risk free. They, too, have been linked to toxic chemicals and carcinogens. They are not regulated by the FDA for safety, and the vaporizers that are made in fun flavors may carry even greater risk because they contain added chemicals to produce these flavors. Consider that it took decades to realize the risks of tobacco products, and we’re only in our infancy with e-cigarettes.
With new rules and regulations surrounding the legalization of marijuana, it’s difficult to fight what could soon be legal in most states. But, that doesn’t mean that we should cover up the risks that are associated with marijuana. We must also be aware of telltale signs that a person is abusing the drug, such as by carrying around an e-cigarette. It’s still against the law in all 50 states to smoke pot in public, so we can take this seriously for now.