The Lesser of two Evils

Marilyn Regan
4 min readOct 14, 2018


Marijuana is now legal in Massachusetts. The push to sell it recreationally is on, but many towns are pushing back.

The horrors of recreational marijuana! We will have stoned people driving and sitting on their couches for hours munching out on Doritos, cheese puffs, and pizza.

“Popcorn and chips and candy, oh my!”

Some claim that marijuana is a gateway drug leading to, among other things, opioid, cocaine, and heroin misuse and ultimately death. With all the attention focused on illegal drug use, one of the most dangerous and longstanding legal drugs has been ignored.

It has been around longer than marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or opioids and will not only kill you, but may cause heart diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, emphysema, and lung cancer. It exacerbates asthma and even being in the same room with someone using this drug can, over time, cause the same chronic diseases.

It causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol consumption, motor vehicle accidents, and firearm-related accidents combined.

It can cause cancer anywhere in your body.

It is still the leading cause of death and disease in the United States resulting in 480,000 deaths each year in the compared to 64,000 opioid overdoses and 30,000 overdose deaths. And it is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide.

Other interesting facts:

Use of this has caused 10 times as many deaths of U.S. citizens than all the wars the U.S. has fought in combined.

It is responsible for 90% of cancer deaths and increases the risk of death from all causes in men and women. Those who use it are sicker from common ailments and use more emergency room resources than those who do not use it.

It stimulates brain dopamine pathways the same way heroin, cocaine and alcohol do. And yet is socially accepted, taxed, and treated as normal.

Can you guess what it is? It’s really a they….cigarettes.

Cigarettes in Canada have an additional warning label:


Studies have shown that tobacco can be harder to quit than heroin or cocaine.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says nicotine is as equally addictive as heroin and causes more dependence than any other chemical in the United States. Fluid used in electronic cigarettes, aka vaping, also includes nicotine in varying amounts.

Nicotine addiction stimulates alcohol consumption and there is a correlation between nicotine cessation and successful recovery from other addictions with a 25% greater chance of long-term recovery from alcohol and other drugs.

Nicotine is available and accepted everywhere. It is openly marketed and taxed and yet it creates dependency, disease, death, and costs our overtaxed healthcare system $300 billion a year: $170 billion for direct medical care for adults and over $156 billion in lost productivity. Illness related to second-hand smoke exposure costs the United States $5.6 billion in lost productivity.

And still, the tobacco industry is allowed to peddle their poison.

Smoking affects the shape of your face, your skin, the appearance of your teeth and even lingers in your hair.

Cigarettes contain not only nicotine, but over 4,000 chemicals that contribute to sagging skin and wrinkles as it damages collagen and elastin.

Smoking effects fertility and sperm count and has been linked to low birth weight.

Smoking is pervasive to your entire body, like sand at a beach, and affects every part of your body, every system. There is not one part of your body smoke leaves unscathed.

So as we go forward to ban the sale of recreational marijuana, maybe, consider that you should take a step back and ban a far more dangerous and insidious drug. And if you are a smoker, consider taking steps to quit. The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline offers support to help you become tobacco free.

How can we expect kids to say no to drugs if we partake in the most socially acceptable and debilitating one there is?

“A large new study suggested that for people between the ages of 15 and 49 years old worldwide, alcohol was the leading risk factor for death in 2016.” ~ Business Insider

According to a study published in the Lancet, alcohol is a bigger risk factor for death and disease than marijuana, and if nicotine stimulates alcohol consumption, it stands to reason that we are focused on restricting the wrong drug. Also, consider that you can purchase alcohol and cigarettes in the same place.

Given these facts, banning the sale of recreational marijuana seems a bit discriminatory, i.e., my drug is better than your drug.

No, it’s not…

Yes, it is….

And the band played on.



Marilyn Regan

Marilyn is a writer, yogi, and spiritual medium. Her favorite people are animals, especially ones that meow. She loves the ocean and hates one-use plastic.