Throughout this paper, there will be the highly debatable discussion between legalizing medical marijuana and regular marijuana. Both sides of the argument have their pros and cons and there is an in depth description of both sides of the argument. At the end of the day though, the paper thoroughly supports the legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana in general. Medical marijuana less harmful than most other legal tobacco products and has the ability to reduce the pain within ailing people. Cannabis also can be a curable and more natural drug to help people in pain. Marijuana also has the potential to raise the U.S. out of their tough economic struggle as well as lower crime rate and create more jobs for many more people. On the other hand researchers believe that medical marijuana is still bad for people’s health and the government does not know how to regulate the production and sell of marijuana. Both sides have valid arguments, but the pros outweigh the cons by a significant amount. This paper has opinions of lots of credible sources, doctors and researchers explaining their side of the story. But read on to create your own personal opinion.
Marijuana should be legalized for medical use across the country. Marijuana has a negative stigma attached by the government and public, but is actually a natural and effective medicine. The argument about medical marijuana is starting to spread across the country like wildfire, and the topic should be addressed. This paper will go into depth explanation and reasoning on why medical marijuana should be legalized as soon as possible. History of Marijuana
Medical marijuana and marijuana have had a long, lengthy history of repeated use in the United States. First, from 1900 to 1940, marijuana, including opium and cocaine were considered part of everyday drugs. As time went on, the U.S. cracked down on crack and opium, eventually outlawing them, but continued to be very “loose” with the use of marijuana. Eventually, as time continued to roll on, the use of marijuana became “frowned upon.” Marijuana was illegal and the U.S. government became very strict with the cannabis laws. This began around the 80’s and then started to become increasingly worse. Then, around the late 90’s and early 2000’s, scientific studies started to produce jaw-dropping results. Scientists started to discover that marijuana can significantly help people that have become ill. Medical Marijuana has been tested to help people with cataracts, cancer and severe depression, just to name a few (Zeese 1999). With this new worldwide discovery, the argument about medical marijuana ignited. States wanted to only make medical marijuana legal so it may help sick people, but the government did not want any form of marijuana legal. The law that was known throughout the United States was any form of marijuana was illegal. But now with this new discovery, doctors in states across the country wanted the legalization of medical marijuana. But states can overrule the laws of the government, because states are given the decision to decide on some of their major laws. Thus came the beginning of the legalization of medical marijuana.
The first state to allow the use of medical marijuana was California in 1996 (Zeese 1999). The only distribution of medical marijuana though is through the recommendation of a certified doctor. Other states began to follow in the footsteps of California such as Arizona and Colorado. One thing led to the next, and now there is up to fourteen states that have legalized the distribution of marijuana medically, with many more to come. These states allowed the use of medical marijuana to help people with anxiety, certain types of cancer and cataracts. But the U.S. federal government has tried to prevent patients from obtaining cannabis and threatened physicians who prescribe it with criminal prosecution or loss of their license to practice. But yet, the growing support for medical marijuana has grown massively in numbers over the past 20 years. And before people realized it, the United States government now has to ask themselves: Is marijuana actually not as bad as drug as people thought? And should the United States just simply legalize all forms of marijuana? U.S. View of Medical Marijuana
As discussed in the history of marijuana, the American view on marijuana is very pessimistic. The government already feels they are bending backwards by allowing medical marijuana, but they still disagree with everything about it. The government even created the movie called “Reefer Madness” which is
a 1936 movie that wanted to make people believe that when people smoke marijuana then they would become crazy. Starting from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, and descent into madness. At the tail end of the eighties, the use of marijuana and other drugs started to reach a new height. At first, lots of people started using the drug because the party scene started to grow increasingly. But by the end of the eighties, society started to abuse cannabis. Along with the abuse of marijuana, drug gangs started selling marijuana along with other drugs, creating more crime throughout the United States. Thus this creates the negative impact on the view of marijuana. The government labeled the use of “marijuana” as being part of a gang or being a criminal. Then soon after, research in the early eighties showed some negative effects of smoking marijuana. The view of marijuana would retain the title of a “bad drug” until the recent 2000’s. These are multiple reasons why marijuana got the “bad image” by the U.S. government.
World View of Medical Marijuana
Throughout the world there is a wide variety of rules and laws that pertain to medical marijuana and marijuana in general. Other countries around the world have much less stricter laws when it comes to the matter of medical marijuana and marijuana. In countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia, they actually encourage the use of medical marijuana and give exemption of pursuing criminal charges to distributers. Then there is the country of Holland, which allows full legalization of every form of marijuana. Holland encourages lots of small business owners to encourage smoking and eating of marijuana. Another way marijuana can be consumed is by baking the cannabis in different types of food, which then allows a different type of high. The high supposedly is more of a body high, which is different from smoking marijuana or taking a pill. But Holland encourages local bake shops to “cook” marijuana within the their foods. By doing this, small local businesses attract more and bigger crowds to come try their new food that has a kick. Holland’s tourism rates have increased slightly since the legalization of marijuana or hash (more pure type of marijuana). It may not have a drastic change in their economy, but it sure does have a small impact. Finally, there is Portugal, which has no laws against any drug of any kind. All drugs from marijuana to cocaine, to heroine are legal. Portugal decided that the people that want to do drugs, then they would. Prison costs drastically changed and statistics show that the crime rate went down, including fewer arrests. Law enforcement now does not have to worry about minor issues like drug related crimes. It allows the law enforcement to put their main focus and priority towards catching more serious criminals such as murders, rapists and theft. The most important aspect is the use of marijuana decreased. Showing that making something illegal, gives the user the thrill of breaking the law and by going through with using the drug. But when marijuana is legal, the thrill is gone, and less people will want to try it. Pros
Medical marijuana is never acknowledged for its benefits and use of good in the world. Lots of people simply just write off marijuana as just a bad drug. Compared to modern pharmaceuticals, cannabis is viewed as a radical medicine because it is natural and contains unique chemical compounds. Compounds such as a stimulant within the cannabis that acts as a hunger enhancer. This means, that by smoking or taking a pill version of marijuana, it then makes people get hungry, known as the munchies. So people with diabetes and anorexia can smoke marijuana to create hunger. The direct result is eating more and making those sick individuals better. But if the legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana occurs then there is an extraordinary amount of goodness to come. Also there is numerous medical cases where cannabis has helped sick and people in pain. Certain people that have cancer, have to go through chemotherapy which can be extremely painful. So doctors prescribe medical marijuana for these people so it helps dull the pain. I know off personal experience with the correlation with cancer, chemotherapy and the use of medical marijuana. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and had to go through chemotherapy to kill the cancer. She was in pain most days, feeling extreme agony from what the chemotherapy was doing. The chemo is a chemical that is designed to kill something; like cancer for instance, and the side effects is that it hurts the body also. My mom was prescribed medical marijuana after a couple weeks of the chemo because the pain became too much for her. After she started smoking the marijuana the pain was much less intense and helped her significantly overcome her fight with cancer. Next, there is strong scientific evidence that shows that tobacco products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc. are far worse than the use of marijuana. Cigarettes not only have tobacco that hurts the lungs and mouths but all tobacco products contain nicotine in them. Nicotine is extremely addictive which causes people to smoke or chew more. But yet these tobacco products are legal and are even allowed to sell to individuals of the age of eighteen, so technically still teenagers. To add on, thousands of people are being thrown into jail for possession and distribution of marijuana. So in sense, innocent people are being thrown in federal prisons and jails for possessing or selling a less harmful drug than others.
This simply does not add up, and raises another reason to why marijuana should just simply be legalized. These will be the main points in favor for legalizing medical marijuana throughout this paper. Medical Marijuana is not as unhealthy as the media and government says it is. Medical Marijuana could have the potential to raise enough money to help the United States to get out of the recession that we are currently in. The government could make more money for the United States economy by legalizing marijuana. By simply applying higher tax rates on the sell of marijuana and then sell the high taxed herb to the public. The government already uses this method with tobacco products. Officials inflate the tax on tobacco products by incredible amounts so the country receives some of the profits off the tobacco products. To make a cigarette costs two cents to produce, twenty cigarettes in a pack, so that should be around forty cents for a pack of cigarettes. But in reality a pack of cigarettes costs about 5-7 dollars depending on what part of the country one is located. If the government goes through this same process with marijuana then that would create many more opportunities to make money for the United States. But how would they package and sell marijuana? The best way the government could package and sell marijuana would be in a smaller version of cigarette packs. The government should have a package that can only hold about 10 rolled up marijuana joints or blunts. Then the government should tax the living daylights out of the pack and then the government would have a major inflation in the economy. The government believes that the public will not buy the marijuana because of the negative view on cannabis. But numbers keep increasing year after year as to the percentage of people that believe marijuana should just be legalized. If the government simply just legalizes marijuana and then raise the taxes on it, people will buy the drug. The other point that goes hand in hand with the legalization of marijuana is that it will lower criminal activity. Right now the people of the United States pay about 8% of tax dollars to keep prisoners in custody (Mikos, 2009). But some of these so called “prisoners” are only in there because they broke the law of selling marijuana. These prisoners are in jail because of a petty crime of selling or in possession of this harmless drug. If marijuana were to become legal, then lots of this “prisoners” would be released and would in the end result save the United States millions of dollars. Cons
Even though many activists that want marijuana legal believe that marijuana have no negative aspects, but multiple different test results believe otherwise. First off, the active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC acts on cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and then influences the activity of those cells. The cannabinoid receptors are part of the brain that influences pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory, time perception and coordinated movement (Buddy, 2011). Marijuana causes health risks in the heart and lungs. Within the first few minutes of smoking marijuana, the heart begins to beat up to 20 to 50 beats faster a minute. This causes the blood pressure to drop and creating a higher heart rate (Buddy, 2011). Researchers have discovered that marijuana smoker’s risk of a heart attack is four times higher within the first hour after smoking marijuana. The lungs also experience burning and stinging in the mouth and lungs when marijuana is smoked. Scientists have found that, “regular marijuana smokers can experience the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illnesses, increased risk of lung infections, and obstructed airways” (Buddy, 2011). One of the major reasons that the government will now allow marijuana to be legal is the government cannot set rules and regulations with the growing of cannabis. If the government legalizes marijuana then anyone in America can grow and smoke cannabis. The government fears that when they legalize marijuana then everyone will simply just grow their own. If the government were to
legalize marijuana then they would want to sell and tax the living daylights out of it. But cannabis is not a hard plant to grow. Marijuana is not like beer or liquor where it is hard to produce; it is extremely easy to grow. Beer and liquor must be made in factories where as marijuana can be grown almost anywhere. So since they cannot stop people from growing it, then it would make it hard for the government to tax cannabis. Then more legal questions arise throughout the country. Do officials arrest people growing marijuana? How can they arrest a person for growing something that is completely legal? The answer is that the government cannot do this, and if they do, they Congress would have to pass new laws that could result in multiple different loop holes. Medical benefits
The principal constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is effective in treating nausea, vomiting, appetite loss and acute and chronic pain. With this information doctors have begun to use and diagnose the use of medical marijuana. Marijuana may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, relieves chronic pain, and fights the effects of cancer (Pope, 1996). Also, recent research has shown that marijuana can fight the effects of fibromyalgia, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (Pope, 1996). These are serious illness and diseases that cannabis has already been known to help cure. All of this knowledge has been discovered in the last 20 years also! Just imagine what more time, and more support of this drug can do. If marijuana got legalized then, many more medical mysteries could be solved and could potentially save many more people from pain and dying.
This information is up to the reader to dictate and decide for their own, but I hope my opinion with credible facts and research has helped inform and give people a better understanding on this topic. And overall, persuade them to agree that medical marijuana and marijuana in general should be legalized. Marijuana is not a bad drug, because it has helped countless people get better and survive. With all these pros and few cons, it is inevitable that the legalization of marijuana should commence immediately. I also ask people to voice their opinions and take action, so the
legalization of this drug can occur so it can help and continue to help sick people.