Marijuana use is on the rise, especially among teenagers and young adults. With the recent laws passed in eight states about legalizing medical marijuana , many stand divided when it comes to this never ending debate, but I firmly believe that this miracle working drug should be legalized throughout the United States.
Marijuana is by far the most commonly used illegal drug. Statistics show that over 70 million Americans have tried Marijuana and over 20 million smoked it last year. So it is safe to assume that although marijuana use may decrease in the years to come, as did Heroin and LSD, it is here to stay. Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon & Washington have already passed laws allowing the use of medical Marijuana. In the fall of 1996, California voters approved the medical marijuana initiative (proposition 215). The act is entitled The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and its purpose is to give Californians the right to possess and grow marijuana for medical purposes, where the medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a doctor who has determined the person’s health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of Cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.
Nothing in the act permits persons using marijuana for medical purposes to engage in conduct that endangers others, allows distribution of marijuana for non medical purposes or permits the buying or selling of marijuana. Dennis Peron, the man who launched proposition 215 also started the cannabis buyers club in San Francisco. The purpose behind starting this club was to distribute weed to AIDS, cancer and other patients. With only a doctors note the club’s 12,000 members could buy pot and then relax while listening to music, nothing harmful at all! And of course the San Francisco police department eventually closed the club down.
The main idea behind legalizing drugs is it’s medical advantages. Marijuana is said to have many uses as healing drug. Marijuana being used as medicine has been studied for many years. In many cultures it is used as medicine and stems back many generations. The first recorded use of marijuana as medicine was in China. It has been said that in Pen Tsao Ching during the first or second century, boiled hemp compound was used as an anesthetic for surgical patients. The compound is said to have many uses including, clearing the blood, cooling temperature, clearing fluxes, undoing rheumatism and discharging pus from patients. China isn’t the only country to use this drug in early times it was introduced in Southeast Asia in the sixteenth century. Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are said to have current uses of marijuana for medicine. In Cambodia they have an enormous list of uses, including, treating malaria, reliving asthma, calming the nerves, regulating the heart and treating paralysis. In Thailand, it’s used in folk medicine as well as in the official medical reports. In folk medicine, people dry the leaves and then boil them to treat migraines and dizzy spells.
Marijuana has survived the passing of time and still helps the sick today. The advanced stages of treatment for patients with Cancer, AIDS and other diseases often include, terrible nausea, vomiting, and different types of pain. Patients have reported much relief from these devastating symptoms by using marijuana. The alleviation of said symptoms can be so striking that some patients and their families having been willing to risk jail time to obtain or grow marijuana. Marijuana must be studied and tested more to prove effectiveness but because it is not legal, doctors don’t want to study a drug that they could never use.
In 1988 administrative law judge Francis Young found that marijuana in it’s natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. At present it is estimated that marijuana’s lethal dose is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. Or simply put, a smoker would theoretically have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette or joint, nearly 1500 pounds of marijuana in about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response. Which basically means marijuana is non-lethal, as it is impossible to consume that much in such a short amount of time. Advocates of legalization raise several points. They claim the there would be fewer people selling drugs because it would be regulated and profits would be cut. They also claim that drug-dealing criminals would virtually vanish causing crime and violence rates to plummet.
Legalizing marijuana raises a lot of questions for instance, who would sell the drugs? Private companies? The government? How would legalization affect health insurance and the overall cost of healthcare? And probably the most important question of all, would the use of legalized drugs by employees in certain occupations be prohibited? Since marijuana can remain in the body for weeks after use, would marijuana use by employees in jobs in which safety and security are issues be forbidden, even when off the clock? What about airline pilots, surgeons, police, firefighters, military personnel, bus drivers, railroad engineers, cross country truckers, nuclear reactor operators and even wall street brokers and teachers?? As far as America is concerned, we are the land of the free . Or are we? Do people have a right to “get high”? As times change and we progress into the future should our laws change as well? Only time will tell as the war against drugs wages on and the fight to legalized marijuana leaves a country divided.
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Miller, Lawrence Richard. The Case For Legalizing Drugs. New York: Praeger, 1991
Schaler, Jeffrey A. Drugs. New York: Prometheus Books, 1998
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