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Factors For and Against Essay

Reasons for legalization (ranked from strongest to weakest)

1. Medical benefits for terminal illnesses such as cancer. 2. Police and court resources would be freed to pursue more serious crimes. 3. The FDA could regulate the quality and safety of the drug. 4. This drug has fewer side effects that most currently legal narcotics. 5. Legalization would lower prices, thereby reducing crimes such as theft. 6. If taxed sales of this drug would help lift the U.S. economy by billions of dollars a year. Reasons against legalization (ranked from strongest to weakest) 1. Issues such as driving under the influence may increase. 2. Legalizing this drug might increase the number of juvenile users. 3. This drug may be a gateway drug to more dangerous drugs such as heroin or cocaine 4. There would be an increase in lung damage and the damage to non-users through second hand smoke. 5. Legalization of this drug could lead to legalization of “harder” drugs 6. Some consider this drug morally wrong.

I have seen the effects this drug has on a terminally ill patient. My late husband, who was just 39 years old when he died of colon cancer, used Marijuana on just a couple of occasions and the difference before and after its use were abundantly clear. Tom was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 36, and only given 15 months to live, because of his military and ethical background he swore he would never use Marijuana unless it was legalized. As his illness got worse his thinking changed, he just wanted to feel better, and the narcotics he was prescribed by his oncologist made him weak, tired, decreased his appetite and caused nausea.

He hated being on these narcotics as he didn’t feel he could enjoy the little life he had left, he could barely get out of bed let alone play with his children. During the second year of his illness we went camping with some friends, to a little cabin 2 hours off the paved road. Tom could scarcely sit up in front of the campfire, but tried his best to enjoy possibly the last camping trip of his life. After the children were asleep one of our friends began to smoke marijuana and asked if we wanted any, I declined but Tom wanted to try it, just to see how it would make him feel. Within five minutes of smoking marijuana Tom was up walking around, he ate, laughed and even began helping cut wood and attend to the fire. The difference was noticeable to us all, it was amazing. First thing in the morning he smoked some more marijuana, and was able to play with his children, go for a mile long walk and eat some more.

Upon returning home Tom stated that while he would like to use the drug again, but he couldn’t bring himself to break the law, and therefore did not try the drug again. During Tom’s illness those two short days in the mountains were some of his best. The marijuana took away his nausea and pain, his appetite was increased and his pain was nowhere near the same high levels he experienced without the drug. Because I have seen the benefits of this drug in person, I have placed this as my strongest argument for the legalization of this drug.

It was very difficult for me to rank the arguments for the legalization of marijuana, because I found them all to be quite beneficial, yet I had to place the fiscal benefit towards the bottom of the list. My reasoning for this is because if this drug were moved from a schedule I drug to a schedule II drug, and was only legal if prescribed, the prescription would not be taxed thereby eliminating this argument for the legalization.

My strongest reason against the legalization of marijuana is the possible dangers of driving while under the influence of this drug. This is a big issue with most any drug, most notably alcohol, but this danger is not only posed to the user but those around the user as well. While many people are stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, it would seem logical that this would only increase with legalization, much like alcohol.

My weakest argument against legalization is that it is considered morally wrong by some people. The reason I placed this last is because not all people would consider this morally wrong. There are many things that people consider morally wrong, yet they are legal. For example the Mormon religion believes that alcohol, tea, coffee and caffeinated drinks are morally wrong, yet these are not made illegal. This argument seems to be the loosest of all the arguments, and therefore was placed at the bottom of the list.


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