Marijuana, Should It Be Legalized?

Marijuana, Should It Be Legalized?

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Marijuana, Should It Be Legalized?

"Did you know that Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States" (Marijuana, par. 10)? "Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, including most of the harmful substances found in tobacco smoke. Smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits about four times more tar into the lungs than a filtered tobacco cigarette" (Marijuana, par. 11). These types of statistics might make one wonder, is marijuana really as harmful of a drug as most would think? Recently there was an article posted on CNN.com about the legalization of marijuana in Denver, Colorado. The article stated, "Residents of the Mile High City have voted to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults" (Denver Voters, par. 1). The results of the vote were quite appalling. 56,001 (54 percent) voters voted for the ordinance to pass. 48,632 (46 percent) voted against it (Denver Voters, par. 2). The main term stated under the ordinance was declared that any person over the age of 21 years of age could possess up to one ounce of marijuana (Denver Voters, par. 3). Bruce Mirken of the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project stated "I hope the approval will launch a national trend toward legalizing a drug whose enforcement causes more problems than it cures" (qtd. in Denver Voters, par. 5). Mason Tvert, a campaign organizer for Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation (S.A.F.E.R) made the comment, "Legalizing marijuana would reduce consumption of alcohol, which leads to higher rates of car accidents, crime, domestic and street violence" (qtd. in Denver Voters, par. 8). According to the article at the time it was released, all regular drug laws and regulations will apply for Denver, Colorado. My stance on this issue is exceptionally one sided when it comes to street use of this drug. I do not think this substance should be legal in the United States. I believe we have enough problems as a country; why would we want to legalize another?
While doing some of my research on this essay I came across an extremely interesting documentation by Leighann Hedman. She researched a lot of positive and negative issues that have to do with marijuana in different situations. One positive and negative effect she weighed was confrontation verses addiction. "We could reduce the black market and the violence associated with the sale of marijuana, as a positive.

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On the other hand, by legalizing the drug, more people would use it, and eventually become addicted to it" (Hedman, Chart, 1). She also weighed the government statistics. "The government could tax the sale of marijuana and use this income to lower the nation debt on the positive side. On the negative side, there would be an increase in people using the drug. Because of that increase there would need to be an equal increase in the rehabilitation programs, which would cost the taxpayers and the government more money in the long run" (Hedman, Chart, 5).
Although I disagree with the personal use of marijuana, I am in favor of medical marijuana. The Harvard Health Letter stated, "In the states where medical marijuana has been legalized, it remains a federal crime to purchase, prescribe, or even posses the drug. So even in states where medical use of marijuana is decriminalized for medical purposes, people have been prosecuted under federal law for possessing or using it" (Marijuana as, par. 10). In the case of Denver, Colorado, The residents of the city wanted to legalize the drug for personal use, not medical. Most of the people that use medical marijuana do not actually smoke the drug, but take THC pills (Marijuana in pill capsules) and related compounds (Marijuana as, par. 6). "Dronabinol was initially approved to treat nausea in cancer patients; later, treatment of weight and appetite loss in AIDS patients was added" (Marijuana as, par. 7).This way it is easier for investigators to control dosage per person (Marijuana as, par. 9).
As a society, we must think of our future to come from the legalization of this drug. What will our children be like in a world where marijuana is `Ok` to use? They may pose the question, if marijuana is ok, why not other drugs? These issues may not have anything to do with us in our present day, but it could possibly be a major topic of discussion in our children's future. Joffe Alain stated in her research that, "Because no country has legalized use of marijuana outright, there are no studies available to evaluate the potential effect of legalization in the United States" (Alain, par. 33). We need to look more in depth into what else combined with marijuana usage in our country will hurt our future. "Further data concerning adolescents' use of the two drugs that are legal for adults (alcohol and tobacco) suggest strongly that legalization of marijuana would have a negative effect on youth," stated Dr. Joffe (Alain, par. 33). From the statements made by Dr. Alain, we can assume that the legalization of marijuana in our country would have an overall negative effect. Alain also acknowledged that alcohol and tobacco causes far more harm in our recent society than marijuana, but it does not make rational sense to legalize a third addictive psychoactive drug (Alain, par. 32).
Different people have diverse opinions when it comes to the legalization of this drug. Dr. Joffe proposed a solution to the constant attempts to try and legalize it. "Rather than legalizing marijuana, an equally compelling approach would be vigorously enforcing current regulations regarding sale and use of alcohol and tobacco products to minimize health-related problems attributable to their consumption" (Alain, par. 32). This will be a topic for discussion for many years to come in our future. From this research, if we want to keep our future safe, the legalization of marijuana in the United States must not be approved
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