Should marijuana be legalized?

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Richard M. Nixon, the former president of the United States of America, was a controversial president, who ended his presidency in a controversial way. It seems only fare to open a topic that is controversial as the former president himself. Should marijuana be legalized?
A debate about marijuana legalization, although not a scientific one, on debate.org (website that organizes debates about different topics) does provide some insight about different views for and against legalization. A simple Google search will yield many results covering this ongoing debate as well as many scientific articles that either argue or just provide research or experiment results concerning marijuana production and consumption.
To better understand the topic about marijuana legalization, let us first describe what marijuana is. First of all, it is understandable that many believe that marijuana and cannabis refer to the same thing. While this is true when it is referred to as a psychoactive drug, botanically speaking, cannabis is the correct term. Cannabis is a plant that belongs in the Cannabaceae family of plants in the order Rosales. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the word marijuana could have roots in the Spanish word, meaning prisoner (Oxford English Dictionary).
As far as history records go, in terms of cannabis, the cultivation of this plant probably began in ancient China for production of fiber (ElSohly). The first European record dates back to classical Greek times, where the historian Herodotus described the usage of cannabis plant in a burial ceremony (Deitch).
Why is this plant then regarded as controversial? The issues arise from the plant’s chemical content. Marijuana is formed with over 400 chemical compounds of which...

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... with a divide history. Algora Publishing, 2003. Print.
ElSohly, Mahmoud A. Marijuana and the Cannabinoids. Totowa, New Jersey 07512: Human Press Inc., 2007. Print.
Nordqvist, Christian. "What Is Marijuana? What Is Cannabis?" 18 June 2013. Medical News Today. Web. 7 May 2014. .
Oxford English Dictionary. "marijuana, n. : Oxford English Dictionary." 12 2000. Oxford English Dictionary - The definite record of the English language. Web. 6 May 2014. .
Soros, George. Why I Support Legal Marijuana; We should invest in effective education rather than ineffective arrest and incarceration. New York, N.Y., 25 October 2010. Web.
Stimson, Charles. "Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No." 13 September 2010. Heritage.org. Web. 7 May 2014.

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