Should Marijuana Be Legalized Essay, Research Paper
Should Marijuana be Legalized?
“It’s like jumping into the ocean even though you can’t swim. Don’t start and you won’t have to quit.” These are the words of Jeff. A 37 year old man who smoked pot fo 17 years. Jeff’s position in the matter is very similar to the position of many others who are toally against legalizing marijuana; Marijuana is drug that should undoubtedly not be legalized. At his point in the battle the anti-marijuana supporters are definitely in the lead in this old debate. Te question to this is why? Most of the reasons against marijuana come from the old stereotypes hat show users as lazy “hippie” types and new views and statistics that show that marijuana use as gone up during the nineties. One thing throughout the whole debate that has always remained constant is that the arguments tend to stray from the scientific fact and instead lean more towardssociety’s view of the drug and the personal opinions of those involved in the debate.
The reason why this issue has been so hard to resolve is that there are a multitude of arguments supporting both sides of the coin. The 60’s was the time when marijuana became accepted as a common social drug. The post 60’s era was when the proposed legalizing of marijuana started off. The first argument for decriminilizing marijuana was the argument that it would be devestating for the economy to have to seek out an approximate 13 million marijuana users and at the same time imprisoning these same users.(McVay pg 147) 13 million is a large percentage of the population and that of course could not be had.
Money also plays an important factor for the argument supporting the legaliztion of marijuana. Having possesion of marijuana as a criminal offense costs the tax payers billions of dollars. All this money goes into anti-drug advertisement and action plans, the enforcing of the law, and of course all the money spent to keep all the marijuana drug offenders in our prison system.(McVay pg156) This money would be much better suited for action against drugs that are much more harmful like crack cocaine, LSD, and heroin. The money saved could also be put into advertising and action against marijuana. The key would be to legalize it but to put out a message that marijuana is as bad for your health as are cigarettes, and seeing as cigarettes are
legal, why isn’t marijuana. Research also found that the ill effects of marijuana are very similar to those of cigarettes. This will give those who are trying to send out the message that marijuana is bad a head start when it comes to figuring out ways to try and educate society about the negative short and long term abuse a marijuana. Studies have shown that even though alcohol is legal in the U.K. the amount of people abusing have gone down thanks to education on alcohol. Also part of the allure of marijuana to young people is the need to rebel against either their parents or against society as a whole. Advertising of the drug should be illegal though. In order for the anti-marijuana education system to work, the government must make sure that there will be no advertising of the product. This could cause for marijuana to become too socially
accepted and them possibly become the popular thing to do.
Health issues are also a very important aspect when arguing the point that marijuana should be legalized. There is never any guarantee as to the contents of the marijuana that is being bought off of drug dealers. Chances are that this marijuana can contain many other various substances that are even worse for your health. If the government were to have control of the production of marijuana it would eliminate the drug dealers and the product that the consumers are receiving would be more pure and have a much less chance of being tampered with. With the selling of marijuana by the government the costs would be much lower because there would be no greed factor coming from the governments side whereas drug dealers can charge what ever they want for the product and will typically make the price high to satisfy their own greed. At this point everyone would be buying their marijuana from the government and it would be easier for the government to keep the marijuana out of the hands of minors by enforcing age restrictions on the purchasing of marijuana just as they do with cigarettes.
The youth of today is receiving many mixed messages as to the usage of marijuana as compared to other harder drugs. Because all these drugs are illegal many users use marijuana as a stepping stone to the hard drugs like ecstasy, mushrooms, cocaine, heroin, etc… If marijuana was to be legal it would put up the gap between a soft drug like marijuana and hard drugs and end much of the confusion that younger abusers of the drugs feel towards what is good and what is bad.
Though many reasons to legalize marijuana exist there are also very many reasons for the contrary. In today’s society there is no actual scientific reasearch which shows that marijuana actually helps cure or aide the curing process of any of the diseases that it is supposed to assist. If marijuana were to be legalized it would still have to go through all the rigorous testing that any other new drug would have to go through just so that it could be prescribed by doctors or sold at pharmacies. (www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v98.n975.a04.html/all) The chances of this happening is quite slim although considering the following medical reasons:
Marijuana contains more than 450 chemicals, including 66 cannabinoids — the THC chemicals at give marijuana its mind-altering effects.
Today’s marijuana is 10 times as potent as the marijuana of 20 years ago.It takes 5-8 days for just half the THC in a single marijuana cigarette to clear from the body.
Chronic marijuana use causes loss of short term memory.
The chemicals in marijuana alter the person’s perceptions. Users say it enhances their performance, but controlled tests prove the opposite.Smoking pot carries all the risks of smoking cigarettes. Marijuana causes much more damage to the lungs; it contains 2-3 times as much tar as cigarettes.(www.teenchallenge.com/main/legalize/page3.html)
Another important issue is the possible addiction to the substance and the social effect it has on its users. Marijuana causes a definite lack of motivation. If the legalization of marijuana increases the number of users would that mean there would be a great brain drain of thpossible youths and already skilled workers that are competing for jobs and for college and university acceptances. The fact that marijuana being a soft drug also leads to the common thought that it is used as a gateway drug to harder and more harmful drugs. People willconstantly use marijuana and then eventually become desensitized to effects and then in the quest for the “better buzz”, look at harder drugs to satisfy their needs.
After exploring both sides of this issue, I’ve concluded that there is more reason for marijuana to be legalized than not. An actual study conducted by the french government showed that marijuana ranked in the least dangerous category when compared to other drugs including alcohol and tobacco. It was considered “weak” for social hazard and addictiveness as well as “very weak” for general toxicity and zero for neurotoxicity. Alcohol was at the very top of the list in these categories.(marijuana.newscientist.com/nsplus/insight/drugs/marijuana/highhazards.html) Seeing that alcohol is completely legal, why shouldn’t marijuana be? Most police cheifs will admit that marijuana is not a serious cause for concern. I beleive it is more the politicians that are holding back the legalization of the substance. An analogy that I was once told definitely sticks in my head when I consider this issue. What would you rather have? A football team, out partying after a game, drinking a lot of alcohol, causing a raucus where ever they are, possibly getting violent, and then driving home drunk, endangering their lives as well as others. The other side would be these same players smoking some weed and just hanging out at a house, ordering some pizza, all relaxed and not causing any problems. Tell me which one would be easier for the police to handle. I believe it’s time for the governments to start looking at some of the cold hard facts concerning the issue and perhaps making some compromise as to whether or not this now illegal substance called marijuana should be legalized.