Good Essay About The Legalization Of Marijuana
Listening to the news, we often hear about country-to-country relations, outbreaks of war in various countries, and natural disasters that have recently affected our world. However, within the states, one of the most popular and controversial subjects is the legalization of marijuana. Supporters lobby for the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal uses. Strong arguments have been made for and against the legalization and as both are considered, it seems as though more public leaders are finding there are many benefits to its legalization. The believe the two most firm arguments for the legalization are its reduction in alcohol-related deaths and the treatment of certain ailments. There are many articles in support of the standpoint. The first was an article by Jacob Sullum, in which he wrote about the inverse relationship of alcohol and marijuana for Forbes Magazine (Sullum). The second was an article on CNN.com that recounted a story of a girl in Colorado who had seizures since she was a newborn and since starting her use of the herb, her seizure count has dropped and she now only has two to three a month as opposed to having around 300 a week (Gupta). Therefore, with arguments such as these, it can be realized that cannabis should become legal throughout the 50 states, as there are more benefits than disadvantages to its use by citizens.
Since I can remember, I have been very anti-drug, including cannabis, the drug that everyone seems to try at least once. My peers have said it is not an addictive, gateway drug as some suggest. However, I have seen friends become addicted to the lackadaisical lifestyle that and become careless in their everyday responsibilities, including school work. These friends didn’t seem to have a care in the world. However, after recently reading various articles, I am beginning to change my opinion on the matter. I think my friends found enjoyment in the risky behavior because it is still illegal in our state. There was a thrill to smoke when there was a chance of getting caught. Additionally, because its use is still restricted, there is a need to feel rebellious and use the drug. For example, my one friend had very strict parents growing up. However, going to college and getting out of her parents’ house, she realized she was on her own and could experience things her parents told her not to do, including smoke marijuana. Her rebellious stage began with drinking and then progressed to smoking marijuana. She then fell into that aforementioned category of smoking all the time and doing nothing else; she became a victim of the careless, relaxed lifestyle.
Other arguments against its legalization include its impairment to brain function and the possible harmful side effects, the risk of developing schizophrenia, and the harmful effects smoking has on the human body. However, none of these statements have adequate supporting arguments. Others will lobby against the herb’s legalization due to its potential abuse and how it will make individuals try even worse drugs. However, if it were to become legal, there is less of a chance that others will find it as appealing as it is now and use it in an abusive manner. Another contradicting thought to its abuse is the use of prescription drugs. Morphine and morphine derivatives are used in a clinical setting as pain relief and these substances are highly addictive. I have known many who have developed a tolerance for pain relievers and thus started abusing the drugs. Even more than that, individuals have become addicted to benzodiazepines (used for anxiety) and sedatives (used to aid in falling asleep). These two classes of drugs are prescribed daily by many health care professionals and filled at our local pharmacies. There are commercials on TV asking you to “ask your doctor if this drug is right for you.” We have allowed these very dangerous substances to exist and are prescribing them to individuals who are in need of relief. However, keeping cannabis illegal, we are denying relief to others when no other legal treatments have succeeded.
As more states assume the position of legalizing the drug, young adults find less of a thrill in smoking the drug as they are no longer being rebellious due to its legality in those states. I think if my friend were to have gone to a school in one of those states, she would have still tried the drug, but not have become so addicted to the smoker’s lifestyle and forget about her responsibilities. Additionally, because of this legality, there would be an advantage in the decrease of money used to arrest and prosecute the delinquents that use the drug. Thus, the economy would grow and law enforcement could focus on the more serious crimes that exist.
The advantages do not stop there. The medicinal benefits of cannabis are beginning to gain popularity as its use is being researched. In Gupta’s article, he opens his audience’s eyes to these medicinal uses and makes a very convincing argument that I now support. With the use of medicinal marijuana, we can treat some of the most common diseases that plague many, as synthetic, pharmaceutical drugs do not always work for everyone. After reading that one article, I found another, written a year later in which Gupta has spent more time analyzing the plant and looking into its medicinal benefits as well as looking into other drugs that remain legal. He states that marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, meaning that there is a high potential for abuse and that is not used for any medicinal purposes (Gupta). Other drugs in that category include Molly, Ecstasy, and Heroin. When comparing it to those other drugs, cannabis is not considered to be that dangerous. Moving forward, he continues to report on the fact that cocaine and methamphetamines are Schedule II drugs, meaning they are used medicinally with a prescription from a doctor (Gupta). Even more astonishing is that fact that people die from drug overdose of prescription drugs, but have we ever heard of anyone overdosing on marijuana?
If this isn’t enough, Gupta goes on to say that he knows for fact that there are over 100 different families that have traveled to legalized states, such as Colorado, in hopes of treating an illness of someone within their family. They have left everything behind in hopes of receiving some relief of the illnesses that have been treated for years and years with different pharmaceutical drugs that have yet had no avail over their disease. These families cannot send away for the herb because it is still illegal in their states and they will get prosecuted if caught (Gupta). This has left them no option but to move to the legalized states.
Furthermore, the herb can be used in the prevention of medical conditions. Sullum’s article suggests that alcohol and marijuana use are inversely related, so as more people smoke the herb, they are less likely to abuse alcohol. His thoughts and statements are based on studies completed by two economists at universities in Colorado and Montana (Sullum). They found that marijuana consumption decreased around the age of 21, the age of legal alcohol consumption. It is also stated that in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use have seen a decrease in beer sales and a decrease in heavy drinking (Sullum). The CDC stated that in four years alone, from years 2006-2010, excessive alcohol use caused approximately 88,000 deaths ("Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Your Health”). This is astonishing fact when you realize these deaths are preventable. So it can be inferred that if more people smoke and less people drink, then there would be a decrease in alcohol-related deaths.
In economic terms, marijuana can have advantages to our communities by establishing more jobs and funding government programs (Diehm). Cannabis’ advantages include an increase in jobs as we will need farm workers to grow the crop, and an increase in government funding as the taxes on marijuana can go towards funding schools and other community programs. Legislators and government officials sometimes look to cutting back school funding in order to spend their money in what they think our better ways. Giving marijuana tax money to the schools can improve education and after-school activities to help develop our younger citizens. Another concern for Americans are the jobs that are being displaced to counties overseas. The production of marijuana farms would create more jobs for farmers and packaging companies (Diehm).
In final, the use of marijuana can provide many more benefits that people realize and thus should be legal throughout the United States. The legalization of cannabis can provide medical and economic benefits that can affect many citizens throughout all 50 states. We must also ask ourselves how other drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, are still legal, but marijuana is not. We hear of these other drugs and how they negatively affect our health and our lives. They lead to various diseases, such as lung cancer and liver disease. Tobacco use kills more people annually than the combined number of AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicide cases ("Toll of Tobacco in the United States”). Furthermore, alcohol can cause death to others in the form of automobile accidents, as we often hear on the news. How many families have been affected by drunk drivers and the death of a loved one? There are organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), that devote everything to the awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol. However, it is still legal. In looking at these facts and statistics, lawmakers should take a step back and reconsider their stance on the legalization of marijuana. As more and more studies are done on the benefits, I think more people will begin to press legislation on making marijuana legal.
Diehm, Jan, and Katy Hall. "Why Legalizing Weed Just Makes Sense, In 12 Charts." The
Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/14/weed-legalized-_n_4262033.html>.
"Fact Sheets - Alcohol Use and Your Health." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 Nov. 2014. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <http://ww.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm>.
Gupta, S. “Gupta: 'I am doubling down' on medical marijuana.” CNN. Cable News Network, 6
March 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2015 <http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/health/gupta-medical-marijuana/>.
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Aug. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/>.
Sullum, Jacob. "More Pot, Safer Roads: Marijuana Legalization Could Bring Unexpected
Benefits." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 3 Apr. 2014. Web. 2 Feb. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/04/03/more-pot-safer-roads-marijuana-legalization-could-bring-unexpected-benefits/>.
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