Legalization Essay, Research Paper
Have you ever been arrested for possession of marijuana? Last year there were more than 695,201 marijuana arrests in the United States. Of those arrests 87.2% were for possession – not for sale or manufacture of marijuana. There have been over 11 million marijuana arrests in the United States since 1965. 12.7% of today s overcrowded federal prison population is made up of people incarcerated for marijuana offenses, with an average sentence of about three to four years. Even with heroin use on the rise, the police seem to be preoccupied with arresting marijuana smokers. In 1990 there were over 34,000 emergency room admissions resulting from the use of heroin and four years later, that number had doubled. Many of those patients did not survive. Yet even though heroin has done much more damage to this society than marijuana has, statistics say the chances of a heroin dealer being arrested are 1 in 10,900 deals.
Is marijuana really a harmful drug? The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy asked the United States Institute of Medicine to conduct a research to assess the possible health benefits of marijuana. In March of 1999 the review was made public. The evidence concluded that the THC in marijuana is effective treatment for symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, and wasting , which is the resulting characteristics associated with cancer and AIDS treatments.
Recently it has also has been proven that marijuana reduces muscle pain and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, prevents epileptic seizures, helps bladder control, and reduces eye pressure and blood flow to the optic nerve in Glaucoma patients. This conclusive evidence brings up the question why not legalize marijuana as medical drug treatment. Marijuana has been proven to be less dangerous than cocaine and morphine, two legalized drug treatments that have been proven to be addictive. According to the Institute of Medicine, there is no evidence that marijuana use can lead to either addiction or to harder drug use. The first recorded use of marijuana as medicine was in China in 2727 BC. Marijuana was legal in the United States until 1937. The use of marijuana as medicine was rediscovered in the 70 s as many people used the drug for recreational purposes. Now people who suffer from a variety of diseases are begging for legal use of this drug.
Irvin Rosenfeld is a stockbroker who has smoked marijuana, supplied to him by the Federal Government, for 27 years. He has a rare disease that causes tumors to press into his muscles. The marijuana relaxes his muscles and keeps them from being torn. It also allows him to move with less pain. Rosenfeld says, When you have a devastating disease, all you care about is getting the right medicine… and not having to worry about being made a criminal. Many people feel that legalizing marijuana would increase the amount of use, yet throughout the past decades the demand of the drug has not diminished and it is highly unlikely that the demand will lessen in the future. Marijuana is basically going through the stages in which alcohol had during prohibition. Legal or not, people will still continue to smoke this drug. Legalization of marijuana is an option that deserves a chance. It would benefit the United State s financially because the country s revenue would increase on marijuana taxes. Also, there would not be as much money wasted on apprehending and prosecuting marijuana users. It would also give law enforcers a better opportunity to focus on the real war on drugs. Instead of incarcerating harmless marijuana smokers, they would concentrate on getting heroin, crack, and crystal meth off the streets, which is way more harmful that a little pot. At the same time it would lead to at least a five percent decrease in the homicide rate in the United States. In view of the new millennium upon us, there is a possibility that marijuana will become legal. It may never be legal to the general public, but the probability of marijuana becoming a legal medical treatment is high. The New England Journal of Medicine has declared publicly in favor of marijuana and the Medical Association has pleaded for the National Institutes of Health to conduct more research on the subject. The White House National Drug Control Policy said it is studying the development of a marijuana substitute, a cannabinoid inhaler, since inhaling the marijuana smoke can cause respiratory diseases.
In my opinion marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and any other drugs. If alcohol was legalized during the prohibition era, then marijuana should be given the chance to become legalized in the 21st century. If you think about it, how many people are killed because of drunk drivers? How many are killed because the driver was high? How many times have you heard of a man beating a woman because he had too much to drink? How many times have you heard of a man beating a woman because he had too much to smoke? That s the questions I am still trying to find out. What do you think?