Marijuana Essay Introduction
Whether or not marijuana should be legalized is a controversial question that has and still is being discussed. Marijuana is a drug that is currently illegal not just in America but many other countries. The drug is derived from the hemp plant. While a lot of people especially the younger groups believe that the drug should be made legal, others see this as a bad decision that would cause adverse effects to the users and the economy as well. The proponents do not understand that there are long-term effects of using marijuana in addition to its addiction tendencies. The opponents on the other hand are refuting claims that marijuana has medicinal benefits (Claukins et al, 24).
The major reason why marijuana should not be legalized according to the opponents of this debate is because of its adverse effects to the body. Even though there are slight medical benefits when marijuana is used in a controlled environment, (medical marijuana) it does not necessarily mean it is healthy to use the drug. Recreational Marijuana has negative effects on the heart, the lungs and the brain. Regular users of “pot” also have a higher risk of developing some mental disorders such as schizophrenia as well as depression. The drug is also quite addictive. Studies have revealed that one out of ten users end up developing an addiction to marijuana, making it very hard to stop usage since some withdrawals symptoms like irritability and anxiety are experienced. More than half of the 7.2 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with illegal drug abuse or dependence are addicted to marijuana. Consequently, legalizing it would make it accessible to even more people and increase addiction. Another serious concern is violence and crime. According to Jordan, (100) studies show that regular marijuana smokers are more likely to engage and commit crimes associated with violence compared to non-users. Addiction experts have also described marijuana as a form of entryway drug which conceivably introduces the user to even more extensive substance abuse. A study conducted in New Zealand showed that habitual marijuana users were sixty times more prone to use other illegal drugs compared to those who had no prior experience with cannabis. This means that legalizing it would not just cause more use and addiction but also an increase in the overall use of other illegal drugs.
Conversely, those advocating for recreational marijuana to be legalized believe that smoking marijuana is a harmless activity that brings pleasure to the user hence it is wrong to deny adults the right to engage in the “victimless crime”. They also argue that marijuana is harmless compared to tobacco and alcohol which are legal. Mack et al, (89), explain that the drug has also been proved to have medical benefits such as prevention of epilepsy, treating glaucoma as well as lessening some symptoms of illnesses like multiple sclerosis. Another reason why marijuana should be legalized is the fact that it would eliminate the illegal sale by gangs and therefore reduce the bad influence and regulate the safety and quality of marijuana. Once it has been legalized then the authorities will be more focused on the drug peddlers who cause more harm. Another argument for legalization of recreational marijuana is the tax issue. In the United States, estimates suggest that legalizing the drug would result in approximately 18 billion dollars annually. This money would be from revenues from the legal sales as well as the cost saved in the justice system.
A good example of the effects that would occur if marijuana was to be legalized can be observed in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is well known globally for having legalized certain amounts of recreational marijuana, making it a tourism hub for marijuana smokers since they can use it freely. Things seem to be going the wrong way because the city has now banned its sale near schools since they come to class under the influence. This goes to show that the legalization of marijuana leads to a lot of young people being exposed from early ages. The government is also making plans to reduce the number of coffee shops that sell marijuana along the Amsterdam streets as well. As the debate continues In America and worldwide, some states such as Hawaii, Vermont, Illinois, Minnesota, California, Louisiana, New-York, New-Jersey and New-Mexico among others have legalized medical marijuana. Some have legalized recreational use of marijuana like, DC, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington among others.
Caulkins, Jonathan P, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. , 2012. Print.
McMullin, Jordan. Marijuana. Detroit: Green haven Press, 2005. Print.
Mack, Alison, and Janet E. Joy. Marijuana As Medicine?: The Science Beyond the Controversy. Washington, D.C: National Academy Press, 2001. Print.
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