Marijuana Background and Use in U.S.
Marijuana is by far the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States and in most other countries as well. More than seventy million Americans have tried marijuana, and more than twenty million have smoked it in the last year, but does marijuana really affect people and their thinking process, and should pot be legal in the United States. I believe that marijuana should be legal because people should live life how they want, even though it could lead to harm. Marijuana hit the United States big in the 60’s and 70’s. (Wikman) Through this time period many people thought this drug was harmless. Today we know that pot is much more dangerous than previously believed. There are many slang terms used for marijuana, some are pot, weed, cannabis, Mary Jane, hash, dope, bud, green, smoke, to name a few. (Zimmer, Morgan)
Pros and Cons to the Use of Marijuana
There are many pros and cons to the use of marijuana. Many people use this drug for medical use, and others use it for entertainment. In the United States, using marijuana for medical purposes is illegal. Since the 1970’s thirty-five state legislatures have passed laws supporting marijuana’s use as a medicine. (“Legalizing Marijuana-The Pros and Cons.”) People suffering from nausea and vomiting, who are unable to swallow and hold down a pill, smoking marijuana is often the only reliable way to deliver THC.
Another pro to the use of marijuana is diminishing glaucoma; it also can be affective in stimulating appetite in AIDS patients. There is also evidence that smoked marijuana and THC reduce muscle spasms from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis. Physicians have reported that smoked marijuana provides relief from migraine headaches, depression, seizures, insomnia, and chronic pain. (“Medical Marijuana Truth and Lies”) I think marijuana should be legal because if people sold pot in their stores, pot smokers would buy it, and it would boost the economy. I also think some drug crimes and innocent killings would go down an enormous amount.
Effects of Marijuana on Health and Activity
Even though I think pot should be legal, it does cause harm to your lungs. The effects of one marijuana joint on the lungs are equivalent to four tobacco cigarettes, placing the user at increased risk of bronchitis, emphysema, and bronchial asthma. A single joint contains the same amount of tar and other noxious substances as approximately fourteen to sixteen filtered cigarettes. Marijuana smokers typically inhale more deeply and retain smoke in their lungs longer than tobacco smokers.
As a result, marijuana smokers get more dangerous material in the lungs each time they smoke. Smoking pot is very harmful to your health, family, and friends. Some myths of marijuana and highway safety are marijuana-like alcohol- seriously impairs driving in some respects; pot is even more impairing than alcohol. (“The Effects of Marijuana.”) I think this is true because marijuana does affect perception and driving ability. I believe that pot makes many people drive different, and it makes you a dangerous person at the wheel, while on this drug.
There are very little problems associated with the legalization and there is no mad scramble for the drug since it is legalized. In conclusion, marijuana has very little harmful effects, and the effects it does have are very similar to tobacco and alcohol. It also has medicinal uses where people can have significant benefits by using marijuana for their illnesses. By prohibiting marijuana billions of dollars are being spent and people’s lives have been ruined.
Legalization of Marijuana.
In the year 1937, the United States government made the drug marijuana illegal. This ban had little effect on people until the mid 60’s and 70’s. This was a time where many mind altering drugs where experimented with and widely used. During this time was also when marijuana research took place. Early researches was vague and bias, but in the years after many legitimate studies have been conducted, and both sides of the issues have been revealed. While looking at these studies with an open mind, one can conclude that marijuana should be legalized. Even though there are some health risks associated with marijuana, it is no different than legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. (Wikman)
Ever since marijuana has become illegal, enforcing it has been an issue. The federal government of America spends millions of dollars each year trying to keep it off the streets and into dealer’s hands, but their tactics barely do a thing. The amount of money the federal Drug Enforcement Agency spends each year is $1.3 billion a year. Overall, federal anti-marijuana efforts have cost taxpayers $30 billion (Zimmer, Morgan). All of this money can be easily saved if the federal government can just legalize marijuana and regulate it. Also, the government would be making money off taxes, as they do with alcohol and tobacco.
Moreover, this would allow for farmers to grow marijuana and sell it to the government or individual buyers. By allowing the cultivation of marijuana, farmers who grow tobacco would be helped because tobacco farmers these days are struggling because of the high taxes put on cigarettes. The climate for growing tobacco is the same climate needed to grow marijuana, so this would help their incomes. (“Legalizing Marijuana-The Pros and Cons.”)
I think people that get caught with marijuana should not be punished as hard as they do. Marijuana arrest in the United States has doubled last 10 years. Tens of thousands of people are now in prison for marijuana offenses. An even greater number are punished with probation, fines, and civil sanctions, including having their property seized, their driver’s licenses revoked, and their employment terminated. Under federal law, possessing a single joint (or less) of marijuana is punishable by a fine from $1,000 to $10,000 and up to a year in prison . (Wikman)
For people on probation or parole for any criminal offense, a marijuana arrest can result in their immediate incarceration. For people who live in public housing, the arrest of any family member for a drug offense can cause eviction of the entire family. Under state and federal law, mere investigation for a marijuana offense can result in the forfeiture of property, including cash, cars, boats, land, and houses. Despite these civil and criminal acts, pot continues to be readily available and widely used. (Wikman)
Another reason legalizing marijuana would help the economy is the fact that there would no longer be dealers. The use of dealers makes the price of marijuana much higher than it should be. Mainly this is only due to the fact that marijuana is currently illegal, and dealers can set high prices. By legalizing marijuana the price would drop to a more reasonable price, and the people who use to strain their money to buy the drug will no longer have to. Legalizing marijuana would help the economy as a whole and for the individual.
In 1996 voters in both California and Arizona approved ballot measures exempting physicians and patients from criminal prosecution when marijuana is prescribed for medicinal purposes in the relief of pain or other symptoms caused by cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, arthritis, and other illnesses and chronic conditions. Four other states passed similar ballot initiative that year, including Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada, and legislatures in 37 states have passed bills in support of medical marijuana. Medicinal purposes for marijuana give people who have tried all different types of drugs for their illnesses hope for relief. (Wikman)
In order for marijuana to be legal, the government would have to regulate it as they do with alcohol and tobacco. First the government should set an age limit on the purchasing of the drug. This age should start off at eighteen, like tobacco, and if there seems to be a problem with the age then raising the age limit should be considered. Overall, the government should first look at countries in the world where marijuana is currently legal. In the Netherlands, the city of Amsterdam allows the usage of marijuana. (Zimmer, Morgan) The usage comes with many regulations though. For example smoking marijuana can be only smoked in coffee shops administrated all over the city. Also people can only buy a certain amount at one time, so the distribution of it illegally can be reduced.
Marijuana is still the most commonly used drug in the United States and probably will be for years to come. Marijuana is on the rise and will increase in popularity throughout the United States. I’m sure that our government will eventually legalize marijuana, but not soon. Many people argue the pros and cons of pot. I think our government should at least try to see what would happen to the economy if pot was legal, even though it is a huge risk to take.
This problem is argued as much as should the alcohol age be lowered again, many teenagers argue this because if there old enough to go to fight in a war, then you should be able to drink. Many younger kids smoke pot without a care and they don’t realize the affects of the drug. America needs to start taking a larger action, and try to get the point across to the youth of America. This will always be a huge argument throughout the world. The question that everyone asks, should pot be legal in the United States.
Zimmer, L., Morgan, J. Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence. New York: The Lindesmith Center, 1997
“Medical Marijuana Truth and Lies.” Drug Watch International. Atlanta: DWI, 1995
“Legalizing Marijuana-The Pros and Cons.” Growing Marijuana Seeds. 2002. <http://www.growing-marijuana-seeds.com/legalizing-marijuana.html>