Graphic by Gabe Kim

Major League Marijuana

Why I don't think marijuana is everything it's cracked up to be in baseball

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Major League Baseball is an organization that prides itself on having great talent on and off the field. Players are drug-tested fairly regularly and subject to different levels of punishment if caught with opioids or other banned substances. That is all changing with the legalization of marijuana in baseball.

Marijuana graces the covers of magazines and virtually everything in sight in modern culture like a groundbreaking scientific discovery. Seemingly everyone will go to great lengths to defend the devil lettuce’s honor if one attacks it. In general, marijuana is looked at like a god. Sure, people have benefited from it, but its usage has gotten out of control and the relaxed restrictions of marijuana in baseball are just more nails in the coffin.

With the increase in American marijuana users comes the increase of ramifications. While there are many compelling arguments for normalizing marijuana usage, there are also legitimate health concerns around it.

As a matter of fact, marijuana-induced emergency room visits have jumped up, particularly in more left-leaning states.

According to the Colorado Hospital Association, a collection of more than 100 hospitals in the state of Colorado, “the prevalence of hospitalizations for marijuana exposure in patients aged nine years and older doubled after the legalization of medical marijuana,” and “emergency department visits nearly doubled after the legalization of recreational marijuana.”

That is scary stuff. Maybe marijuana can wash away anxiety or depression temporarily, but to risk the added side effects is foolish.

Returning to the realm of Major League Baseball, we find ourselves in the midst of an organization that is trying to appeal to a younger audience by making games more enjoyable and watchable. After all, the kids are the future of the sport.

Yet the idea that loosening the grip on marijuana in baseball will do no harm couldn’t be more wrong. It is common knowledge that youth look up to ballplayers as role models in many different facets.

If marijuana is more debilitating to one’s health than beneficial, we should be making it clear that any, and I mean any, drug or substance will not be tolerated in baseball no matter how harmless it may be marketed as. I certainly wouldn’t want my kids to form the idea that they can get away with smoking weed like it’s no big deal. Marijuana and e-cigarettes are already being passed around like packs of gum in middle and high schools and it’s only getting worse.

“Drugs work very well, at first, for mentally ill people. If you’re anxious, it’ll go away with a couple of hits, a beer. It’s like magic. But then, the tolerance sets in. So, not only do they need to drink more to relieve the anxiety, but every single time they try to stop, the underlying anxiety comes back worse.”

Dr. Alex Stalcup

Beyond setting a bad example for the younger generation, people are using marijuana for non-medical purposes and leaning on it like another shoulder. Especially in Humboldt County, people are socially smoking marijuana and claiming it’s saving their lives.

I recognize there are some individuals who actually need it to function, but nonetheless, it’s spread like a wildfire and now it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t smoke it or consume edibles.

Mental health issues affect the extent to which people get addicted to marijuana or other substances, according to Dr. Alex Stalcup, medical director of the New Leaf Treatment Center in a 2016 interview with Healthline Magazine.

“Drugs work very well, at first, for mentally ill people,” Stalcup said. “If you’re anxious, it’ll go away with a couple of hits, a beer. It’s like magic. But then, the tolerance sets in. So, not only do they need to drink more to relieve the anxiety, but every single time they try to stop, the underlying anxiety comes back worse.”

Stalcup went on:

“Fifty to sixty percent of the people with an addiction to marijuana whom [my] clinic treats have some sort of underlying mental health condition,” he said.

Granted, it is only one clinic, but the point is an overwhelming amount of people across the country who abuse weed are dealing with a mental health crisis of some kind.

I will admit that I am in the same boat with a lot of these folks, but I will never use weed as a solution to my problems. There is an abundance of other remedies and treatments available to cure internal issues.

I can’t control what you do. I can’t control what Major League Baseball does. But I hope that baseball will go back to looking at marijuana as a banned substance that could incur fines and treatment.

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