Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

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Marijuana continues to be one of the most used illegal drugs in the United States. Marijuana has been used for many years and at one time was legal to consume. Throughout the years, marijuana has been used for treatment of different medical conditions and has been used recreationally by people of all ages. While the use of medicinal marijuana has proven to be effective in treating medically ill patients, society continues to question its recreational use and the long term effects it will have on its users. Some feel that legalizing marijuana will only open up avenues for the use of more potent drugs, causing an increase in criminal activity. However, a number of people question why it is considered illegal being it is a naturally growing plant or weed as some see it. It has also been asked why the government continues to have such strong restrictions on the use of recreational marijuana. Legalizing marijuana will bring about significant health benefits, assist in mending the poor economic situation, and lessen the number of marijuana related crimes. The use of marijuana dates back to centuries ago. At which time, marijuana consumption was legal. It wasn’t until 1965 that a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was identified in the flowering head of the cannabis sativa plant. This chemical is considered to be the primary psychoactive component in marijuana (Danovitch). At that time, it was found that tetrahydrocannabinol was the main chemical in marijuana which stimulates receptors that are in the human body and brain. THC is what causes the “high” feeling that users get after consuming marijuana (Danovitch). In addition to the “high” feeling, a user may experience several short term effects which usually last only ... ... middle of paper ... ...t that it is no longer a crime. As statistically noted, the production, sale, and use of illegal marijuana has shown no decrease which indicates that prohibition is ineffective. Medicinal use of marijuana has proven to be highly effective in helping thousands of chronically ill people. Recreational use of marijuana has been studied and has not produced any life threatening side effects which warrant the drug to remain illegal. Legalizing marijuana offers several benefits including aiding with medical conditions, economic stability, and a reduction in criminal activity. As stated by Itai Danovitch, “Overall, an enlightened regulatory approach towards marijuana would eliminate the harmful impact of ineffective criminal policy, while protecting the health of at-risk populations, and taking measures to provide resources to those who suffer adverse consequences” (108).

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