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Should Marijuana be Legal in the US?

One of the most hotly debated topics in America today is the legalization of cannabis, commonly known as marijuana. With states like Colorado and Washington fully legalizing recreational and medical usage of marijuana, it rightfully deserves to be greatly debated among Americans. Proponents of weed argue that marijuana has been around for ages and that it is no worse than alcohol, while opponents state that although it was used by ancient cultures, marijuana presents a completely unfamiliar set of medical and social issues.

Cannabis has a very long history as a recreational drug. It is indigenous to South and Central Asia and the first known evidence of marijuana smoking can be dated to as far back as 3 BC. Ancient Hindus were believed to have used it for burial purposes and the Assyrians are known to have used it for its psychoactive effects. Even ancient Christians, Jews, and Muslims used it as a religious sacrament. The criminalization of marijuana only began in the early 20th century when the United States first banned the sale of marijuana in 1906, and soon after, almost every other country did the same. For nearly 60 years, the sale, transport, and smoking of weed was a punishable crime in every country, with a few exceptions, until 2013 when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to officially legalize weed.

Americans have slowly softened their views toward marijuana. A recent Gallup poll suggests that over 58% of the country supports legalizing marijuana, and it is a well-known fact that over 100 million Americans have or continue to smoke marijuana in the last year alone. Proponents of weed argue that most users have access to cannabis illegally from drug dealers and other dangerous sources. This no...

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Marijuana is commonly viewed as a “gateway” drug by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. This means that studies have shown that marijuana users eventually progress to more deadly and illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines. Cannabis is already an easily accessible drug in middle and high schools all over. Opponents suggest that these drug addicts will get tired of marijuana and progress to drugs that pose a greater risk to themselves and society, which has the potential to transpire to more wasted tax payer money.

While the majority of Americans now view marijuana as harmless and support legalization, it is undeniable that cannabis has the potential to be a very deadly drug. More research needs to be done on the health, societal, and fiscal effects of marijuana legalization before any final laws are enacted.

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