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Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Essay

The legalization of marijuana is a widespread debate with many valid arguments for both sides. Some will state that it should be available for those seeking relief from various medical situations, or that if legalized, marijuana could be regulated by the government for safety reasons. Even the fact that there are no deaths directly caused by marijuana is a strong point on the pro-legalization side. However, I believe that the legalization would lead to more problems in a society that is already full enough with other issues and debates concerning our health and safety. The fact that relief can be attained in a pill form without the hazards of smoke inhalation and other dangerous chemicals strikes a blow to the pro-legalization claim that pot has medicinal value. Also, it is widely regarded as a gateway drug, which means that although perhaps it could be regulated, it may lead to a higher percentage of people trying harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is that the legalization would make pot available to the youth in a similar way to how alcohol and cigarettes are obtained.

The legalization of marijuana would lead to a decline in the standards of our society. It is often said that marijuana has medicinal value, and could be a valuable asset to those who have undergone chemotherapy for cancer, or other patients with AIDS. This is true, however, the other dangerous chemicals associated with marijuana use have the possibility of creating more health problems such as lung cancer. The active part of marijuana that eases the pain of these patients that is known as tetra-hydro-canibol, or THC, is available in a pill form, that does not contain the “more than 400 different chemicals found in tobacco smoke”[1]. The pill called Marinol is a solution to the dangerous inhalation of “harmful chemicals and carcinogens that are by products of smoking”[2]. With the only ingredient with medicinal value already available in a pill form, it is not a sound argument to suggest that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes. The regulated distribution of marijuana controlled by the government has been something that has been considered.

Although this would make it safer to use, it would be foolish to say that the government could regulated marijuana as a safe drug. Regardless of the fact that government distributed marijuana would not be mixed or laced with other illegal substances, it is well known that “marijuana is a doorway drug to harsher and more dangerous drug use” [3]. This means that if marijuana was available legally, it would create the possibility of a higher percentage of hard drug use among our population, such as cocaine and heroin. Recent information provided by the FBI states in a graph that when violence towards a police officer occurred, “24% were under the influence of drugs, and 72% had a history of drug law violations” [4]. Although marijuana is not the only drug considered in these statistics, it is said that even “under a legalization scenario, a black market for drugs would still exist” [5]. It is clearly evident that although the legalization of marijuana may make it safer for use, it is still a drug that causes harm, and can be directly tied together with crime.

The legalization would only amplify this harm and the amount of crime. Lastly, the legalization of pot would “make the drug readily available to our country’s youth” [6]. Similarly to the way youth can obtain cigarettes and alcohol, with the legalization of marijuana, a wave of underage supplying would occur. It is only common sense to realize that if there are people who will ignore fines and supply minors with substances that are illegal to them as defined by their age, it would only be the same in the situation of marijuana. The usage of marijuana, during ones youth especially, has a deteriorating effect on the education of the user and is said to “create an a-motivational syndrome” [7]. With the health effects aside, the legalization of pot would also send the message that using drugs is ok, and accepted by society. In conclusion, marijuana should not be legalized. The chemical in pot that has a medical use is already available in a pill for, therefore ridding the need to smoke pot for medicinal purposes.

Regulation of marijuana by the government would only put a small dent in the underground pot subculture, and although it would provide people with pot that is less harmful, the efforts would be contradictory because of the fact that marijuana is a gateway drug, and many people may end up trying harder drugs as a result. When something becomes legalized, it is more easily obtained by the youth. If it were to be legalized, it would send a message that suggests that drug use is ok. Allowing marijuana to be legalized would undoubtedly increase the usage among teens, which would create conflict with the education of many students. These few negative aspects of the legalization are just some of the many reasons that pot should not be legalized or decriminalized for any purpose whatsoever.

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