Marijuana Essay, Research Paper
Eng 015- 099
Pot, marijuana, hash, joints, blunts, green trees, etc., the list goes on and on. Whatever you want to call it, marijuana is currently illegal in the United States. Whenever marijuana is brought up, it becomes the cause of much commotion and debating. Many people feel it is the gateway drug, and have heard of the negative side effects that are greatly overblown. Although many people feel that legalizing marijuana would increase the amount of drug use, I feel that it should be legalized. It will greatly reduce the amount of money spend on enforcement, and will increase our options for spending our tax dollars and lessen crime, and it will also be useful in treating certain medical conditions.
Many people feel that legalization is unnecessary, and they fail to see the possible benefits of legalization. However, one possible benefit of legalization is that it will be profitable to the global economy. It will allow money that is spent on drug law enforcement to be spent on other programs. There have been escalating costs spent on the war against drugs and countless dollars spent on rehabilitation. Every year in the United States, ten billion dollars are spent on enforcing drugs alone. Drug violators accounted for forty percent of all criminals in federal prisons (Schwenk 73). In 1989, a Republican county executive of Mercer County, NJ estimated that it would cost approximately one billion dollars to build the jail space required to house all the drug users in Trenton alone (Schwenk 98). All of this money could be spent on things of greater importance.
Drug violators are a major cause of extreme overcrowding in US prisons. We currently have close to one million inmates nationwide, and a high percentage of these prisoners are in because of drug related incidents. Since 1982, there has been about a 160% increase in inmate population. Most of this increase is attributed to drug violators, and sadly this number will only continue to rise. Police have also estimated that about 40% of all homicides are drug related (Ford 45). Legalizing hemp and other drugs would deter future criminal effects and therefore effectively and perhaps slowly lessening crime. By making marijuana legal, you will be taking it out of the hands of criminals and into the hands of businesses. The government will also then be able to regulate marijuana much better than they do now. Also, the legalization of marijuana will free up more prison space for the real criminals, such as rapists, murderers, and burglars.
In addition, legalizing drugs would also increase countries revenue. During prohibition, alcohol use was still rampant. People were still drinking only it was illegal. The 21st amendment annulled prohibition and alcohol taxes were increased. The same thing could be done with marijuana today. Marijuana could be heavily taxed to help increase revenue like with what our government does with cigarettes today. Additionally, marijuana could be produced by big companies that are currently regulated by the government, that way the quality will be assured and will not contain any unnecessary poisons. Legalizing alcohol never increased alcoholism, so why would legalizing marijuana increase drug abuse. The fact is if you really want to do drugs, you will find a way to do it, whether it is legal or illegal.
Another argument as to why marijuana should be legalizes is because medical professionals have found several applications for the hemp plant. Until 1937, marijuana was legal in the United States for all purposes. But, as of the fall of 1995, only eight Americans were legally allowed to use marijuana as a medicine (Rosenthal 134). Hemp is considered a controlled substance, and therefore if you posses it you can be fined or jailed, depending on the amount that you posses. This is true even if you are smoking marijuana to help cure an illness. It has been proving that marijuana can help ease glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. For example, a woman in New York was busted for growing a ten-foot tall weed plant in her front yard. She was growing it for her son, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, but police arrived at her home, ripped the plant from the ground, and she wound up serving six months probation (Ford 137). A recent Harvard survey of oncologists showed that almost half would prescribe marijuana if it were legal. Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known (Joy 45).
Nobody has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. Yet there have been many instances of death concerning other legal substances. For example, tobacco is responsible for 340,000-395,000 deaths a year. Alcohol is responsible for about 125,000+ deaths a year (excluding accident or crime). Also, prescription drugs are responsible for about 24,000-27,000 deaths a year. However there have never been any instances of someone overdosing from pot (Ford 3). In fact, the only way to overdose on pot would be to smoke three quarters of a ton of it in fifteen minutes. Now that is humanly impossible. Why is marijuana illegal when it is much more safer than many of the substances that are out there legally?
Marijuana also has many medical benefits. It is considered one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. In AIDS patients, marijuana can reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the ailment itself and by treatment with AZT and other drugs. When pot is used with someone with glaucoma, it can help alleviate pressure within the eye, and help reduce the pain and the progress of the condition. It is also useful for cancer patients. It stimulates the appetite and relieves nausea and vomiting, which is a common side effect of chemotherapy (Bello 98). Marijuana is also reportedly helpful for treating arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps, itching, depression, and other mood disorders. Even though it could be helpful for millions of people suffering from these conditions, it remains illegal. Therefore the patients have two choices, both continue to suffer, or obtain it illegally and risk the consequences.
Our world is plauged by many pollutants. Alcohol, Nicotene, and a variety of other substances continue to supress the survival and well being of mankind. Our laws are here to protect that very fact, and I belive and have complete faith in our laws. Our laws provide freedom. Marijuana has been proven time and time again to be harmful to our health. Memory losses, lack of motivation, addiction are undeniable results of marijuana use. However, Consequences occur with every bad habit, (Cigarettes, Alcohol, Cholesterol from Red Meat). Our laws protect freedom. What is freedom without choice? While the repercussions of choice are sometimes costly, it is still choice and freedom. I cannot and will not advocate the use of illegal narcotics. That is not purpose. However I feel it would be wise to make it legal. It would help solve a lot of problems that keeping marijuana illegal can cause.
The debate to legalize marijuana is one that has been going on for many years. Personally, I feel that it should be legalized and it will help solve a lot of problems if we do legalize it. It should be legalized because it is very useful in the medical profession, will allow for money spent on enforcement to be spent more wisely and help increase revenue, and it will take marijuana out of the hands of the criminals and into the hands of businesses. Legalizing marijuana will also help reduce overcrowded prisons, and will be another source of revenue for the government. It seems illogical to me to have tobacco and alcohol legal, yet have marijuana illegal. Legalizing marijuana would be a wise move for our country.