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Legalization of Marijuana Essay

For many years, the United States government has prohibited marijuana from being sold. Marijuana’s illegality has made marijuana notorious for its bad aspects to the public and continues to be a very controversial topic. This subject has been debated numerous times over the past few year and the issues surrounding it are both varied and complex. Many people in the world have their own personal views and beliefs on this topic.

There are people believe that the legalization of marijuana is only acceptable for medical purposes. Supporters argue that it will greatly benefit our economy and that it is no more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol. The anti-marijuana view suggests that there are more negative effects that will come from the legalization than keeping it banned. Others feel that marijuana is a gateway drug and it can only lead to more serious problems. We must value both sides of the argument. However, there are many positive aspects of marijuana legalization benefiting individuals, as well as increasing the nation’s resources and economy.

“It is estimated that the United States government spends ten billion dollars a year in its attempt to keep marijuana, while the state of California has revenue of fourteen billion annually for the product of its legalized medical marijuana.” (“Pros of Marijuana Legalization”) Even though marijuana is not legalized all over the United States today, teens and adults still find an easy access to marijuana whenever they want it. It’s just as easy to get marijuana as it is to get alcohol or cigarettes. Smoking marijuana is a means of socializing within groups that share the same hobby or habit of doing so.

Some turn to marijuana because of depression or other problems that they face in life. However, according to a drug-abuse research and associate professor at U.S.C. Steve Sussman, people who smoke to deal with such problems don’t learn how to cope with real life and emotions (Morrow). When people are high on marijuana, they tend to focus on one thing at a time such as the music or food. Time tends to slow down, making minutes seem like hours.Since marijuana is commonly labeled the gateway drug, many researchers feel that using marijuana leads to the usage of more dangerous drugs.

People may become chemically dependent on marijuana. This is a problem because they crave the drug and need more to get the same effect. According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, the side effects of marijuana can cause problems as well. After using marijuana you might experience anxiety, paranoia, altered time perception, sleepiness, and trouble remembering things.

There are also many common physical effects including tremors, nausea, headache, breathing problems, reduced blood flow to the brain, and changes in the reproductive organs (“Marijuana – Info- Facts- NIDA”). Marijuana also contains numerous harmful chemicals that can damage the lungs and cause cancer.There is always more than one side to an issue though. Many throughout the country feel marijuana should be legal. They also have strong and powerful points for their reasoning. Supporters feel that legalizing marijuana will bring enormous economic wealth to our country.

They believe the crop will be just as successful as tobacco and gross billions of dollars. It will also benefit by saving millions in drug enforcement. With marijuana legal, it would greatly reduce the amount of illegal drugs entering our country. Therefore, the police and coast guard would not need as much in funding. Also, we would obtain money from the taxation of the drug. Many believe that marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco. In fact, some people feel that alcohol can be more toxic to the body and impair the brain more. Most people agree that if marijuana becomes legal, laws similar to those regarding alcohol will need to be created.

Therefore, the safety of the public would be insured and marijuana will be regulated. Legal marijuana would contain filters which would make it less damaging to the lungs. Marijuana being the most commonly used illegal drug, it is used so frequently and by so many people because of its availability and low cost. There are a large number of marijuana users already in the country and that amount increases daily. If this drug were made legal there would not be a drastic increase of marijuana smokers because those who choose to smoke already do. Once it’s legal, the Federal Drug Administration would be in charge. Smokers would then realize what they are actually smoking.

Therefore, smokers would be able to smoke a more pure crop rather than a more deadly one.More than seventy million Americans have tried marijuana, and more than twenty million have smoked it in the last year, but does marijuana really affect people and their thinking process, and should pot be legal in the United States? There are many pros and cons to the use of marijuana. Many people use this drug for medical use, and others use it for entertainment. In the United States, using marijuana for medical purposes is illegal. “Since the 1970’s thirty-five state legislatures have passed laws supporting marijuana’s use as a medicine” (“Marijuana as a Medicine”).

The effects of one marijuana joint on the lungs are equivalent to four tobacco cigarettes, placing the user at increased risk of bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. A single joint contains the same amount of tar and other noxious substances as approximately fourteen to sixteen filtered cigarettes. Marijuana smokers typically inhale more deeply and retain smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers. As a result, marijuana smokers get more dangerous material in the lungs each time they smoke. Smoking pot is very harmful to your health, family, and friends.

It makes no sense to maintain people in prison for using marijuana when alcohol and tobacco have more ill side effects than marijuana. Our prisons require space for more serious crimes than selling or using marijuana.One sixth of the people in prison are convicted for non-violent marijuana offenses (“Pros of Marijuana Legalization”). Prisons are overcrowded and the price to keep a person in prison is very costly. Due to high criminal rates and the unwise decisions to imprison people with non-violent marijuana offenses, the illegality of the possession of marijuana is sought to be far more severe than the murderous crimes our society encompasses.

Legalizing marijuana would make room in prison for violent offenders who deserve to be confined behind bars. The money that can be saved on law enforcement can turn into a profit or be used for treatment and education of drug use. The United States can set a tax rate on the distribution of marijuana generating a unanimous amount of money increasing the nation’s economy.The cost of keeping marijuana illegal is expensive. Another important reason that marijuana should be legal is that it would save our government money.

In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the “War on Drugs.” We currently spend billions of dollars every year to chase peaceful people who happen to like to get high. People get locked up in prison and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. We have to pay for food, housing, health care, attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses to institutionalized drug offenders which become extremely expensive. We could save billions of dollars every year as a nation if we stop wasting money locking people up for having marijuana.

In addition, if marijuana were legal, the government would be able to collect taxes on it, and would have a lot more money to pay for effective drug education programs and other important causes. We would have more money to spend on important problems.What about liberty? People deserve freedom to use marijuana. The first most basic reason that marijuana should be legal is that there is no good reason for it not to be legal. Individuals deserve the right to make choices for themselves.

It is just like people have the right to smoke cigarettes just as much as others have the right not to smoke. The government only has a right to limit those choices if the individual’s actions endanger someone else. The government may also have a right to limit individual actions if the actions pose a significant threat to the individual. This argument should not logically apply only to marijuana because marijuana is far less dangerous than some drugs which are legal, such as alcohol, tobacco, and salvia. Individuals deserve the right to decide whether or not they should use marijuana.

The government should not tell individuals what to do as long as it’s not harmful to others. Does prohibition work? Another reason for its legalization is because prohibition does not help the country in any way, and causes a lot of problems. There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use. One unintended effect of marijuana prohibition is that marijuana is very popular in American high schools because it is available. There is no legal age limit to purchase marijuana.

Drug dealers usually do not care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many high school students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated to keep it away from kids. If our goal is to reduce drug consumption, then we should focus on open and honest programs to educate youth, regulation to keep drugs away from kids, and treatment programs for people with drug problems.

We tried prohibition with alcohol, and that failed miserably. It is the same effect with drug dealers now working out in the streets just as the role the Mafia played in the 1920s during prohibition. Education and treatment are better ways to address the drug problem. Marijuana can be used as medicine because it helps to stimulate appetite and relieve nausea in cancer and AIDS. Marijuana decreases the nausea and vomiting that often accompany chemotherapy treatment for cancer and treatments for AIDS. Marijuana also reduces the physical tremors, loss of appetite, and other symptoms.

The hemp plant is a valuable natural resource. Legalizing marijuana would eliminate the confusion surrounding hemp and allow us to take advantage of hemp’s agricultural and industrial uses.In the perspective of America’s war on drugs, marijuana is one of the biggest enemies. And since alcohol and tobacco, two life threatening substances, are legal it is a relevant question to ask why marijuana is illegal. The fact that marijuana is illegal is sufficiently caused by the amount of money, jobs, and pride invested in the drug war. In order to demonstrate this cause, the difference between illegal and legal substances (specifically alcohol and marijuana) must be abolished. Alcohol, as we all know, was once illegal.

The reason that it was illegal was because the ill effects of alcohol led many people to fight for the prohibition cause. Some of these ill effects are direct and some alter the behavior and motor skills of the drinker, helping them do things they would not usually do.Marijuana on the other hand seems a little out of place in its classification as illegal. Also, recently a heated debate has arisen on the medicinal value of marijuana. Whether there is a definite use for marijuana is unclear, but there is surely no such debate concerning alcohol. So why is marijuana illegal if it is not more dangerous than substances that are legal?

The American government’s investment in the war on drugs spans the spectrum of governmental offices.A more intangible investment that the government makes in the war on drugs is its pride. The government makes a concerted effort to inform the American public that marijuana is bad for the taxpayers. In light of all this information, the legalization of marijuana would be quite a defeat in their investment. It is not only the amount of money invested in the enforcement of anti-marijuana laws or only the jobs that count on marijuana being legal.

Nor is it only the pride with which the American government takes in fighting the supposed evils of marijuana. If marijuana were to be legalized then the whole loss of all these factors would be the real heartbreaker. In addition to this, the government, as an investor, is in a rather unique position. They have virtually total control over the decision of legalization.

Would it then be prudent for them to suddenly throw away their money, jobs, and pride without extreme pressure from an outside source? No, it would not; the government would never alienate so many people and so much money, unless they had to politically. In conclusion, one can see that the legalization of marijuana is a highly debated issue. It has been argued numerous times and will continue to be debated for years to come. This debate has strong points on both sides. We cannot overlook one side of the argument. If we do then we will not have a complete understanding of the subject. We must include it into our reasoning for our own personal view.

Legalization of marijuana is one of the most controversial topics in American society today. Each side provides valid and strong arguments supporting their views. According to Steve Bloom, marijuana legalization is much a civil rights issue (Bloom 2). The purpose of this paper is to carefully examine each opposing side and try to find some way to come to a compromise.

References
Bloom, Steve. “Steve Bloom: Legalization or Bust: A Brief History of Marijuana Prohibtion.” Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. 28 Oct. 2010. Web 28 Sept 2011. “Marijuana as a Medicine.” Cannabis Evaluation | Legal Marijuana | Cannabis Healing, 2010.Web. 28 Sept 2011. “Marijuana – InfoFacts – NIDA.” NIDA. National Institutes of Health, Nov. 2010. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. Messerli, Joe. “Balanced Politics.org – Legalization of Marijuana (Pros and Cons, Arguments For and Against).” Balanced Politics.org – Free Balamced, Non-Partisan Discussion of Politcal & Social Issues for Debate (Pros and Cons – Decisions Making Politics).

18 Apr. 2011.Web. 28 Sept. 2011. Morrow, Lance, James L. Graff, Elaine Rivera, Ann M. Simmons, and James Willwerth. KIDS & POT – TIME.” Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com. Times Inc, 9 Dec. 1996. Web 21 Sept. 2011. “Pro’s of Marijuana Legalization – MarijuanaToday.com” Marijuana Today – Pros and Cons ofMarijuana Legalization. 2011. Eeb. 28 Sept.2001.


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