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Antilegalization Of Marijuana Essay Research Paper Dear

Antilegalization Of Marijuana Essay, Research Paper Dear Congressman, I am honored to be writing to you on such a significant topic of national concern. Average citizens are annoyed and just plain fatigued

Antilegalization Of Marijuana Essay, Research Paper

Dear Congressman, I am honored to be writing to you on such a significant

topic of national concern. Average citizens are annoyed and just plain fatigued

with the drugs and crime problems in America. These upright citizens, that

contribute to the growth of American society, are being told that legalization is

a reasonable alternative to dealing with these problems in their communities.

Legalization of any drug is not a positive way to fight crime. In fact, there is no

legitimate reason to legalize drugs. The Legalization of marijuana is the starting

point of the pro-legalization of drugs movement. The issue of legalizing

marijuana is truly a controversial one, and certainly one that requires a plethora

of considerations at the top levels of the legislative branch. When considering

the possibility of legalizing marijuana as a recreational drug, there are a number

of concerns that come to mind. Is marijuana physically harmful to the user? Is

marijuana an addictive drug? Does the use of marijuana lead to dependency

situations? Does it act as “gateway” to more hazardous drugs? Does the notion

of legalizing marijuana send an immoral, wrong message to the youth of

America? Mr. Congressman, the answer to all these questions is YES.

According to the DEA (1998), the supreme ruler of drug knowledge in

America, there are over 10,000 scientific studies that prove marijuana is a

harmful and addictive drug. Yet there is no reliable study that proves marijuana

has any medical value. Marijuana is an unstable mixture of over 425 chemicals,

which when smoked are converted to over thousands. Most of these are toxic,

psychoactive chemicals which are unstudied and appear in uncontrolled

strengths. Marijuana leads to many different consequences depending on the

personality and general characteristics of the individual using the drug. These

may include, but are not limited to: premature cancer, addiction, coordination

and perception impairment, mental disorders, hostility and increased

aggressiveness, general unconcern of life, memory loss, reproductive

disabilities, and impairment to the immune system. Marijuana is currently up to

25 times more potent than it was in the 1960’s, which makes the drug even

more addictive. In 1994, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that marijuana should

remain a Schedule I drug: highly addictive with no medical usefulness.

Marijuana is a harmful substance. The use of marijuana for the purposes of

intoxication leads to a number of serious health risks. Research has proven that

marijuana damages short term memory, distorts perceptions, impairs complex

motor skills, alters the heart rate, can lead to severe anxiety, and can cause

paranoia and lethargy. A condition called Amotivational syndrome take places

after chronic use. It is defined by Dr. Harry Avis (1996), professor of

psychology as, “a condition characterized by a lack of ambition or desire to

succeed, presumed to be the result of smoking marijuana.” As reported in The

Medical Journal of Australia, “Marijuana causes birth defects, fetal damage,

lung cancer, long-term impairment of memory, schizophrenia, suppression of

the immune system, and even leukemia in the children of marijuana-smoking

mothers” (Nahas & Latour, 1992). The National Institute on Drug Abuse

(1996) reported that the chemicals found in marijuana smoke suppresses the

neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus. This is the

part of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of

sensory experiences with emotions and motivation. Marijuana, should it be

legalized, would ruin many Americans’ abilities to learn, and would abruptly

decay the development and progress of the American Society. Marijuana is

dangerous, and it is more dangerous than it ever has been. The federal Drug

Abuse Warning Network, or DAWN, claims that recent statistics show

increases in the number of patients mentioning marijuana in hospital emergency

rooms (”The Marijuana Debate Goes On”, 1998). Inexperienced users may

suffer acute anxiety the first time they use it. This could be a direct result of

the increase in potency of marijuana. Growers have access to the latest

agricultural technologies and scientific methods which enable them to grow

more powerful marijuana. “Growers have become extremely sophisticated

about developing varieties of marijuana with high concentrations of THC” (”Is

Marijuana Dangerous? Is It Addictive?”, 1995). THC, or

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the 400 chemicals in marijuana. It

accounts for most of marijuana’s psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects (”Facts

About Marijuana and Marijuana Abuse”, 1996). The levels of THC found in the

modern drug markets’ marijuana are much higher than they have ever been.

The concentration of THC will keep increasing in the future. This directly leads

to more and stronger addictions to marijuana. One argument that the

pro-legalization movement pleads is that there are thousands of legal medical

drugs on the market that have possible side effects that can be dangerous to

the user. One effect can be dependency and addiction to prescription drugs.

Now, sure there are perception drugs on the market that are potentially

dangerous to the person taking the drugs, but their effects are nothing

compared to that of marijuana. Such a comparison can be made with a knife

and a gun. Both are potentially lethal and dangerous. Just being careless with a

knife can result in death or injury, but with the gun, all one has to be is stupid

enough to mess with it. Also, recreational marijuana users are not taking

marijuana under a doctor’s supervision, or taking a prescribed dosage from a

pharmacist. This argument is by no means grounds for possible consideration of

legalizing marijuana. The addictive ability of marijuana has been studied and

discussed for some time now. Many studies have transpired to verify these

addictive effects. It is said that marijuana is not physically addictive but is

psychologically addictive. None the less, there are obvious signs that marijuana

users become addicted in some manner. “Nationwide about 100,000 people a

year seek treatment to get off marijuana,” according to Alan I. Leshner,

director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (”Is Marijuana Dangerous? Is

It Addictive,” 1995). Dr. David Smith, founder of Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics

in San Francisco, says that, “the clinics there treat about 100 youths a month

who seek help with marijuana dependency” (”Is Marijuana Dangerous? Is It

Addictive,” 1995). Most people probably aren’t aware, but an organization

called Marijuana Anonymous actually exists. The only requirement for

membership is a desire to stop using marijuana. Such an organization would not

exist if addiction and dependency were not associated with marijuana use. The

physically harmful and addictive effects of marijuana should be grounds enough

to stop the legalization campaigns. We need to stay focused though, on a much

more critical problem our nation faces with this pro-drug crusade. That is

protecting the American children from throwing their lives away on drugs. If

marijuana were legalized with restrictions, similar to the age restrictions on

tobacco and alcohol, the use of marijuana by children under such an age would

increase. If it’s legal, children would get the notion that it isn’t harmful. The

physical effects of marijuana mentioned previously are much more dangerous

to the youths of America, who’s minds and bodies have not even finished

developing. The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Statement on

Marijuana for Medical Purposes (1997) says, “marijuana use among kids has

increased 78 percent in the last four years alone”. With drug use by young

people increasing, we must not send a mixed message to our youth about the

dangers of marijuana. The recent proposals for legalization and the medical

usage laws are sending messages to the American children that it is “ok” to

smoke pot. And it simply is not. Our nations goals must be to reduce, not

promote the use of illicit drugs by our children. Marijuana is the first step that

children take into the dark world of drug abuse. It acts as a gateway to more

serious problems. The idea is that cocaine and heroin users don’t just start out

with cocaine and heroin. They start with drugs like marijuana that are easier to

get, to try, and are less legally offensive. According to the National Center on

Addiction and Substance Abuse (1998), “teens 12-17 who use marijuana are 85

times more likely to use cocaine than non-marijuana users”. The CASA

president, Joseph A. Califano, says, “that the gateway effect means that recent

increases in marijuana use among teens will translate into 820,000 more

children who will try cocaine in their lifetime, of whom 58,000 will become

(narcotics) addicts”(”The Marijuana Debate Goes on,” 1998). The number of

children that will use cocaine will increase should marijuana be legalized.

No-one debates the issue of legalizing cocaine. And no one should. Cocaine,

heroin, crack, and every other illicit drug out there should all remain illegal too.

There is no debate about the dangers of these drugs. When local drug dealers

know that your younger brother, sister, or child has tried smoking pot they see a

new customer for some of their more dangerous drugs. “If marijuana is a

gateway to hard drugs, it is likely due to its illicit status that the purveyors of pot

can put your adolescent in touch with the local crack connection” (Clark, 1997).

These drugs can kill the first time that they are used. There is no dispute about

the dangers of addiction and withdrawal that accompany the use of such drugs.

Do you want these dealers hassling the children of America? Legalizing

marijuana would set us on a slippery slope toward accepting any and all drugs.

Many pro-legalization organizations try to compare prohibition of alcohol to the

illegal status of marijuana. They try to make claims that marijuana isn’t as

dangerous as alcohol and should then be legal as well. This argument could be

debated for years, supported by scientists with physical studies backing up both

sides of the issue. Alcohol is definitely a dangerous and addictive drug. It leads

to thousands of deaths a year, be it drunk driving or other crimes executed

while intoxicated. It truthfully doesn’t matter which drug would eventually be

deemed the most dangerous. The fact of the matter is that this pro-legalization

argument is not a valid reason to legalize marijuana. The alcohol situation that

transpired during the early part of this century was totally different from the

current situation with marijuana. Prohibition of alcohol was repealed after just

13 years while prohibition against marijuana has lasted for more than seventy

five years. Alcohol prohibition struck directly at tens of millions of Americans

of all ages, including many of societies most powerful members. Marijuana

prohibition threatens far fewer Americans. Most of which are young and

relatively subordinate Americans. Alcohol prohibition was repealed and

marijuana prohibition was retained, not because scientists had proved that

alcohol was the less dangerous of the various psychoactive drugs, but because

of the prejudices and preferences of the majority of Americans. Marijuana has

no place in American society. The cost to society of the two legal drugs,

alcohol and tobacco, has been and still is enormous. As De Leon (1994) puts it,

we certainly don’t need to add any more problems by increasing the availability

of marijuana. “Even if it is relatively ineffective, we have developed social

control over the use of legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Among most

drinkers, solitary drinking, drinking and driving, and being intoxicated are

socially sanctioned, while drinking moderately with family and friends and

taking precautions about driving are encouraged. No such controls prevail over

marijuana or any other drugs.” (Avis, 1996). Marijuana should remain illegal

because of the enormous number of side effects and the addictions that result

from use. The illegality of drugs helps to discourage at least some people from

trying them. Making marijuana widely available would undoubtedly increase at

least experimental use, and given the stronger potency of modern marijuana,

most users would go on to develop abuse-related problems (MacCaoun, 1992).

Marijuana is still a drug! That fact can not be changed no matter how many

people vote on it. Drugs lead to Crime. And Crime breaks down society.

Average citizens, fed up with crime and drugs, are being told that legalization is

a reasonable alternative. As Thomas A. Constantine, administrator for the

DEA, puts it (”Speaking Out”, 1999), legalization is not an alternative, but rather

a surrender which will reduce our quality of life. Health and social costs

associated with the increased availability of marijuana would break our

economy. Crime would not decrease. The moral fiber of our country would be

ripped apart.

d11

Avis, Harry. (1996). Drugs & Life. Chicago: Brown &

Benchmark. 137-156, 245-265. Clark, Thomas W. (1997, May/June). “Keep

Marijuana Illegal.” Humanist, 57, p. 14. De Leon, G. (1994). “Some Problems

with the anti-prohibitionist position on the legalization of drugs.” Journal of

Analytical Toxicology, 1-7,14. “Is Marijuana Dangerous? Is It Addictive?…”

(1995, July 28). CQ Researcher, p. 666-667. MacCoun, R. (1992). “Drugs and

the law: A psychological analysis of drug prohibition.” Psychological Bulletin,

113, 497-512. Nahas, C.G., & Latour, C. (1992). “The Human Toxicity of

Marijuana.” Medical Journal of Australia, 156, 495-497. National Institute on

Drug Abuse. (1996, May/April). NIDA publication: Facts About Marijuana and

Marijuana Abuse [Publication posted on the World Wide Web]. Washington,

DC. Retrieved April 15, 1999 from the World Wide Web:

http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_NOTES/NNVol11N2/MarijuanaTearoff.html

Office of National Drug Control Policy. (1997, August 4). ONDCP publication:

ONDCP Statement on Marijuana for Medical Purposes [Publication posted on

the World Wide Web]. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 23, 1999 from the

World Wide Web: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/policy/medmj.html

Shalala, Donna E. (1995, August 18). “Say ‘No’ to Legalization of Marijuana.”

Wall Street Journal, pp. A10. “The Marijuana Debate Goes on.” (1998,

November 20). CQ Researcher, p. 1018-1019. U.S. Department of Justice:

Drug Enforcement Administration. (1999, February 10). DEA press release:

DEA Arrests, Seizures Rise in 1998 As National Crime Rate Drops [Press

Release on the World Wide Web]. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 28, 1999

from the World Wide Web: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/legaliz/contents.htm

U.S. Department of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA

publication: Say It Straight: The Medical Myths of Marijuana [Publication

posted on the World Wide Web]. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 28, 1999

from the World Wide Web: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/sayit/myths.htm

U.S. Department of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration. DEA

publication: Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization [Publication posted on the

World Wide Web]. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 28, 1999 from the World

Wide Web: http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/legaliz/contents.htm

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