Should Marijuana Be Legalized? In society today, many people look for a feeling of freedom. Many people go on vacation and spend money. The most common gateway for people is drugs. Our American society is facing a tremendous drug problem. It has become a highly controversial issue whether drugs such as marijuana should be legalized or not. Some people advocate this issue and believe that legalization is the only solution left for the nation while others oppose it because it will increase the number of drug users and drug-related crimes. Marijuana is a drug that is illegal in the United States. This drug as you know is bad and causes severe side effects to your brain and body. Marijuana has both short-term and long-term effects. However, according to scientific experiments, marijuana is known to be beneficial in medicine. The question is should marijuana be legalized?
One of the consequences of legalization will be a tremendous increase in drug users. Right now, drug users have fear of law enforcement agents, but if drugs were to be legalized, they no longer will have fear and will feel that it will be okay to use drugs. Over twenty years ago, estimates of drug use among Americans went as high as 24 million, but we now estimate that the number of Americans who use illegal drugs is down to about 11 million. And a recent study done by my office shows that Americans are spending less on illegal drugs, not more. In 1993, Americans spent $49 billion on illegal drugs, down from $64 billion in 1988 (Brown 629). This decline is due to more officers on the streets and drug awareness programs. An increase in drug use will result in an increase in drug-related crimes if drugs are legalized. Supporters of drug legalization believe that crime and violence would decrease if drug use was legal.
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Statistics tell us that almost half of those arrested for committing a crime test positive for the use of drugs at the time of their arrest. Making drugs more readily available could only propel more individuals into a life of crime and violence (Brown 629). Also, drug users turn to crime to pay for their habits because they are stimulated by drugs and therefore act violently. If the drug is sold legally, it will become easy for users to buy it around the corner. Thus, it will increase the already existing problem of crime. Church mentions that every year drug lords make over twenty billion dollars from the cocaine and marijuana business, and legalizers believe that legalization will wipe out their major sources of funds (Church 12). However, drug use is a matter of supply and demand. As long as demand exists, someone is going to supply it, either legally or illegally.
Supporters of legalization believe that if the government regulates drugs such as cocaine and marijuana by imposing taxes, then the black market will be eliminated (Church 12). However, the higher the tax rate, the higher the price of the drugs and not many users can afford to buy high-priced drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. Therefore, they will have to go to drug gangs who sell marijuana and cocaine under the market price. In addition, children and teenagers will be obviously banned from purchasing marijuana and cocaine just as they are prohibited from buying beer and liquor. Nevertheless, there will be drug pushers who will continue to encourage the youngsters and try to get them hooked to marijuana and cocaine. Hence, legalization will encourage a growing criminal black market. The main benefit of marijuana legalization can be in medicine and will give patients with severe and dangerous diseases a new and effective medicine to help them. Yes, marijuana can help in medicine. “Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known” (Nagorney 1).
“One of marijuana’s greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. Marijuana is also far less addictive and far less subject to abuse than many drugs” ( Grinspoon and Bakalar 1875). Marijuana as medicine has been studied for many years. In some cultures, it is already used as medicine. There are many good uses for marijuana to be used as medicine which will be discussed. The problem is that in order to be used in the United States as medicine, marijuana must be legalized. Many doctors already recommend that their patients break the law and get marijuana. That’s because there is very strong evidence that marijuana works as a medicine. Marijuana is often useful in the treatment of the following diseases:
- Cancer: Marijuana alleviates nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the chemotherapy treatment.
- AIDS: Marijuana alleviates nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the disease itself.
- Glaucoma: Marijuana by reducing intraocular pressure alleviates the pain and slows the progress of the disease. This disease damages vision by gradually increasing eye pressure. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
- Multiple Sclerosis: Marijuana reduces muscle pain and spastically caused by the disease.
- Epilepsy: Marijuana prevents epileptic seizures in some patients and allows more fresh areas of bronchi to open up.
- Chronic Pain: Marijuana reduces the chronic often debilitating pain caused by a variety of injuries and disorders.
In order to be effective, marijuana must be taken daily. It seems to be the most effective three hours after dosage, and last for five hours. Some critics contend that after taken for a period of time, the person may become tolerant to the drug and reduce effectiveness. This is true for a lot of pain-relieving drugs. A person cannot rule out marijuana because it has not been proven that a person will develop tolerance. “Marijuana could benefit as many as five million patients in the United States” (Nagorney 2). This situation to many people is intolerable. Those patients who choose to stay within the law suffer and die, both from disease and from many prescription drugs that cause side effects. “Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects, but marijuana is not such a substance” (Nagorney 2). This successful use of marijuana has given many patients a much more positive outlook on their treatment.
There is now an enormous amount of public support for medical marijuana. A scientific survey of oncologists (cancer specialists) found that 54% of those control medical marijuana availability and 44% have already broken the law by obtaining marijuana illegally. “Thirty-four states letting patients with certain conditions smoke dope” (Foreman 25). States such as Texas, California, Massachusetts, etc., have recognized marijuana’s therapeutic potential and have passed legislation supporting its value. These reforms could be passed throughout the nation with the help of people like you. Meanwhile, the only way for patients to gain legal access to marijuana as medicine is from the doctor. The patient must get a written note from the government and participate in a special program set up for them.
We know that legalization is neither a reasonable nor rational policy for this country. One of the things that bother me most about the legalization argument is the mixed message it sends to our young people. The legalization will advance a nonjudgmental attitude about drugs. I believe that we must change public attitudes toward drugs and focus on prevention and treatment, but we must also maintain the laws that make drugs illegal. Some of the drugs such as marijuana and cocaine should be legalized for medical purposes. “Polls and voter referenda have repeatedly indicated that the vast majority of Americans think marijuana should be medically available” (Grinspoon and Bakalar 1875). A final important prevention strategy is to enforce the laws against illegal drugs in order to control their availability.
There are many uses for marijuana, and many are unexplored. Actually, some are explored in-depth because of interest, and others are left behind. There are probably many other uses that have not been found because of the lack of experimentation on the drug as a whole. If marijuana is legalized there will be much more research done on the drug, and hopefully, the drug will begin to be approved for use. Marijuana is a drug that is illegal in the United States. This drug as you know is bad and causes severe side effects to your brain and body. Scientists have found that smoking marijuana can cause you to lose your memory. Marijuana has many psychological and physical effects. People usually smoke marijuana in cigarettes or pipes, but it also can be mixed with food and beverages.
Short-term effects of marijuana include both psychological and physical reactions. These reactions usually last for three to five hours after a person has smoked marijuana. The psychological reaction, known as high consists of changes in the user’s feelings and thoughts. Such changes are caused mainly by THC. The effects of a marijuana high vary from person to person and from one time to another in the same individual. In most cases, the high consists of a dreamy, relaxed state in which users seem more aware of their senses and feel that time is moving slowly. Sometimes, however, marijuana produces a feeling of panic and dread. The different reactions result partly from the concentration of THC in marijuana.
Other factors, such as the setting in which marijuana is used and the user’s expectations, personality, and mood, also affect a person’s reaction to the drug. The long-term effects of marijuana are not completely known, but studies have shown that some people who have used marijuana regularly for several months or longer have developed serious long-term problems. Among males, marijuana use can reduce the production of sperm and of the male sex hormone testosterone. Among females, it can cause menstrual irregularity and reduced fertility. Extended use of marijuana also has a long-term psychological effect on many people. These individuals lose interest in everything. However, according to scientific experiments, marijuana is known to be beneficial in medicine. The question is should marijuana be legalized?