Home » Drugs » Legalization of Marijuana

Legalization of Marijuana

In 1968, when American soldiers came home from the Vietnam War addicted to heroin, President Richard Nixon initiated the War on Drugs. More than a decade later, President Ronald Reagan launches the South Florida Drug Task force, headed by then Vice-President George Bush, in response to the city of Miami’s demand for help. In 1981, Miami was the financial and import central for cocaine and marijuana, and the residents were fed up. Thanks to the task force, drug arrests went up by 27%, and drug seizures went up by 50%.

With that, the need for prosecutors and judges also rose. Despite these increased arrests and seizures, marijuana and cocaine still poured into south Florida. At this stage, the root of the problem, the Colombian Cartels, was not attacked. The DEA soon realized that they needed to crack down on the cartels. In 1982 the DEA went to Colombia to eradicate fields of marijuana and coca plants. These fields were located and burned. The hard part now, was finding the labs used to turn the coca leaves into cocaine. These labs were in very remote locations, to avoid surveillance.

The DEA suspected that the cocaine labs were very large, but the Colombians kept eluding them. Finally the DEA was able to track down the chemicals used in the processing of cocaine to one of the labs, and the DEA scored their first major bust. On March 10, 1984 twelve tons of cocaine were seized from a very remote lab. The DEA thinks they made an impact, but amazingly the cocaine availability on American streets remained the same. The DEA is shocked, and realizes just how big the drug problem in the United States was.

Because the Cartel leaders had money, they also began to acquire power. The dealers run for political office and win. Drug dollars poured into Colombia, building cities. The United States respond to the rise in the drug lords’ power by pressuring Colombia to extradite narcotics traffickers to the U. S. The Colombians, who want no Colombians in American Jails, oppose this. The drug dealers both respected and feared extradition, and recognized the threat. When the Colombian Justice Minister openly supported extradition, he was assassinated. Still, the U. S. essures the extradition issue.

In 1985, anti-Government Guerillas, mainly composed of the drug dealers, attack the Colombian Supreme Court. The extradition requests were destroyed, and eleven Supreme Court Justices were killed. In total, over 200 people lost their lives. At this point, the drug lords are using terrorism to force the Colombian government to back off the extradition issue. During the 1980s, it appeared that Central America was awash in drugs, and drug money. The violence continues today, through drug related gang violence, to botched drug raids.

Drug dealers often carry weapons, some illegal, to defend themselves and their drugs. The drugs themselves do not cause violence; it is the fact that they are illegal that causes the violence. If two drug dealers have a dispute, they have no legal way for it to be settled. The only option for them is violence. At this time, the Parent’s Movement is focusing its attentions on marijuana and children. Nancy Reagan makes her famous “Just say No! ” speech and President Reagan makes marijuana a top priority.

Upon examining the relationship between marijuana use and violent crime, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse concluded, “Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behavior through its purported effects of lowering inhibitions, weakening impulse control and heightening aggressive tendencies, marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user, interfering with muscular coordination, reducing psychomotor activities and generally producing states of drowsiness lethargy, timidity and passivity.

When also examining the medical affects of marijuana use, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse concluded, “A careful search of the literature and testimony of the nation’s health officials has not revealed a single human fatality in the United States proven to have resulted solely from ingestion of marihuana. Experiments with the drug in monkeys demonstrated that the dose required for overdose death was enormous and for all practical purposes unachievable by humans smoking marihuana.

This is in marked contrast to other substances in common use, most notably alcohol and barbiturate sleeping pills. The World Health Organization reached the same conclusion in 1995. The World Health Organization released a study in March 1998 stating: “there are good reasons for saying that [the risks from cannabis] would be unlikely to seriously [compare to] the public health risks of alcohol and tobacco even if as many people used cannabis as now drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. ” Marijuana was seen as a gateway to other drugs, giving birth to the Gateway Theory.

Unfortunately, the Gateway Theory is flawed in many ways. In 1937 Harry Anslinger, then head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics testified before Congress, saying that there was no connection between the use of marijuana and the use of harder drugs, and in fact, the users of different drugs typically did not associate with one another. It also does not seem logical that the use of one drug would cause a craving for another drug, never used before. Many drug users say that the first drugs they ever used were the two socially sanctioned drugs, alcohol and tobacco. These drugs are both harmful and legal.

In March 1999, the Institute of Medicine issued a report on various aspects of marijuana, including the so-called, Gateway Theory (the theory that using marijuana leads people to use harder drugs like cocaine and heroin). The IOM stated, “There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. ” The Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on marijuana explained that marijuana has been mistaken for a gateway drug in the past because “Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular.

Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana, usually before they are of legal age. ” The 1999 federal National Household Survey of Drug Abuse provides an estimate of the age of first use of drugs. According to the Household Survey, the mean age of first use of marijuana in the US in 1997 was 17. 2 years. The mean age of first use of alcohol in that year, on the other hand, was 16. ears, and the mean age of first use of cigarettes was 15. 4 years old.

The same survey reports, “The rate of past month illicit drug use among youths was higher among those that were currently using cigarettes or alcohol, compared with youths not using cigarettes or alcohol. In 1999, 5. 6 percent of youth nonsmokers used illicit drugs, while among youths who used cigarettes, the rate of past month illicit drug use was 41. 1 percent. The rate of illicit drug use was also associated with the level of alcohol use. Among youths that were heavy drinkers in 1999, 66. ercent were also current illicit drug users.

Among nondrinkers, only 5. 5 percent were current illicit drug users. ” Over 72 million Americans have used marijuana, yet for every 120 people who have ever tried marijuana, there is only one active, regular user of cocaine. Marijuana is also thought by many people to have medicinal properties, and people do use it for medicine. However, marijuana is illegal, turning the people who use it as medicine into criminals. In spite of the established medical value of marijuana, doctors are presently permitted to prescribe cocaine and morphine – but not marijuana.

In the 1970s, cannabis was “re-discovered” as a medical substance. Controlled studies have revealed its therapeutic utility in the treatment of cancer chemotherapy side effects, glaucoma, and spasticity ailments. Federal regulations continue to make research with the drug very difficult, however, and many promising areas of therapeutic application have received little or no attention. These include: asthma, AIDS, epilepsy, analgesic action, tumor retardation, nervous disorders, glaucoma and mental illness.

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, intended to prohibit marijuana’s social use, was most effective in prohibiting medical use of the drug. Strict regulations governing cultivation of the plant made its production impractical. New synthetic drugs caught the fancy of physicians and marijuana was used less frequently, Finally, in 1942, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics convinced the U. S. Pharmacopeia to remove the drug from its listing. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 established five categories, or “schedules,” into which illicit and prescription drugs were placed.

Marijuana was placed in Schedule I, which defines the substance as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. To contrast, over 90 published reports and studies have shown marijuana has medical efficacy. The DEA’s Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young concluded: “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death.

Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis, marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care. ” The most profound activist for marijuana’s use as a medicine is Dr. Lester Grinspoon, author of Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine. According to Grinspoon, “The only well-confirmed negative effect of marijuana is caused by the smoke, which contains three times more tars and five times more carbon monoxide than tobacco.

Nevertheless, even the heaviest marijuana smokers rarely use as much as an average tobacco smoker. And, of course, many prefer to eat it. ” His book includes personal accounts of how prescribed marijuana alleviated epilepsy, weight loss of aids, nausea of chemotherapy, menstrual pains, and the severe effects of multiple sclerosis. The illness with the most documentation and harmony among doctors which marijuana has successfully treated is MS. Grinspoon believes for MS sufferers, “Cannabis is the drug of necessity. ”

One patient of his, 51 year old Elizabeth MacRory, says “It has completely changed my life… It has helped with muscle spasms, allowed me to sleep properly, and helped control my bladder. ” Marijuana also proved to be effective in the treatment of glaucoma because its use lowers pressure on the eye. Glaucoma is an eye disease that afflicts more than four million Americans and is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. According to the National Society for Prevention of Blindness, there are 178,000 new cases of glaucoma diagnosed each year. Glaucoma can strike people of all ages but is most often found among those over 65.

The most common form of glaucoma is chronic or open-angle glaucoma. It is characterized by increased pressure within the eye (intraocular pressure or IOP) which can cause damage to the optic nerve if not controlled effectively. Other types of glaucoma include narrow-angle and secondary. Treatment of narrow-angle glaucoma is primarily surgical. In approximately 90% of the open-angle and secondary glaucoma topical (eyedrop), preparations along with some oral medications can effectively control the disease, but at least 10% of all cases fail to be completely controlled by available prescriptive drugs.

In some instances, available glaucoma medications can cause side effects such as headaches, kidney stones, burning of the eyes, blurred vision, cardiac arrhythmias, insomnia, and nervous anxiety. These side effects may become so severe that the patient must discontinue use. Scientists have been working to develop a marijuana eyedrop for several years. Until recently, they concentrated on delta-9-THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. Some researchers, however, have begun to wonder if other constituents in the cannabis plant might be more effective in reducing IOP.

The few glaucoma patients who have continued, legal access to marijuana bolster this theory. In these cases, synthetic THC is only effective for a short period of time. Natural marijuana, however, consistently lowers IOP. Marijuana is the best natural expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust and the phlegm associated with tobacco use. Marijuana smoke is a natural bronchial dilator, effectively dilating the airways of the lungs, the bronchi, opening them to allow more oxygen into the lungs.

That makes marijuana the best overall bronchial dilator for 80% of the population (the remaining 20% sometimes show minor negative reactions. ) Statistical evidence – showing up consistently as anomalies in matched populations – indicates that people who smoke tobacco cigarettes are usually better off and will live longer if they smoke cannabis moderately, too. Dr. Donald Tashkin, UCLA Pulmonary Studies, stated, “Taking a hit of marijuana has been known to stop a full blown asthma attack. ”

On September 6, 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known…. [T]he provisions of the [Controlled Substances] Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance. ” The Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on medical marijuana summarized the medical value of marijuana saying: “The accumulated data suggest a variety of indications, particularly for pain relief, antiemesis, and appetite stimulation.

For patients, such as those with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, who suffer simultaneously from severe pain, nausea, and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs might thus offer broad spectrum relief not found in any other single medication. The data are weaker for muscle spasticity, but moderately promising. The least promising categories are movement disorders, epilepsy, and glaucoma. Animal data are moderately supportive of a potential for cannabinoids in the treatment of movement disorders and might eventually yield stronger encouragement.

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey’s assertion in his Scripps-Howard News Service column that no clinical evidence demonstrates that smoked marijuana is good medicine, is inconsistent with the facts. Whether this is an intentional deception, as part of the federal government’s stated public relations offensive against medical marijuana, or whether it is based on ignorance does not matter. The reality is General McCaffrey’s statements are not consistent with the facts. In the early 1980s the DEA focus was mainly cocaine and marijuana.

However, a new problem was on the rise, crack. Crack was distributed to the U. S. through the Bahamas. The Bahamas were ideal because of the islands and waterways, and the fact that Florida was only 90 minutes by air. At this point the drug smugglers have the advantage over the DEA. The smugglers were always just a few steps ahead of the law. The DEA tried using helicopters to catch the smugglers’ boats, but by the time the helicopters got close enough to make the grab; they would have to turn back because they were close to running out of gas.

The DEA was seen as a dog trying to catch rabbits; the dog would catch one or two, but most of the time the rabbits get away. Crack really began as a problem in Harlem, New York. The spread of crack moved like fire through dry brush in the New York Tri-State area. This drug hit the Black and Latino communities the hardest. Crack became more popular in inner cities because it was cheap compared to cocaine. Cocaine was seen as a drug for the rich, and crack was for the poor. Crack was also more addictive than cocaine, since smoking it made it more concentrated.

Before the onset of crack, women were not statistically addicts. When women started using crack, it brought about a total disintegration of the family. Babies born to mothers who used crack were addicted themselves. Heroin has been an abused drug since it’s conception in the late nineteenth century as a patent medicine. Today there are treatments available to heroin addicts, however users are still stigmatized and because of that stigma of being a “junkie”, many do not seek help. The health problems brought on by using heroin are usually associated with the use of needles.

Hepatitis C and HIV are two of the biggest heath problems that IV heroin users face. Users that snort heroin or smoke it (referred to as “chasing the dragon”) have very few of these problems. There are different opinions on how to stop America’s drug problem. Two of those opinions are education and treatment, and prison. D. A. R. E. is a popular education tool for teaching children how to avoid the subtle pressure to do drugs, and how to manage stress and conflict without drugs and violence. D. A. R. E. is very popular, and one of the reasons is because it puts the local police in the “good guy” position.

Having a policeman come into a classroom can be an effective way to teach important survival skills, such as traffic rules, and bicycle safely, and resisting predatory strangers. In recent years, newspapers have published several accounts where children credited D. A. R. E. with helping them thwart an improper approach by a stranger. D. A. R. E. is especially popular among the children themselves. Most D. A. R. E. officers are friendly, affable officers, and develop good rapport with the kids, who are charmed by tales of adventure in law enforcement.

Police departments like D. A. R. E. because it provides additional revenue and a useful opportunity to engage in community relations. D. A. R. E. officers are frequently personable, attractive officers who make an excellent impression on children and present a positive image of police in general. However, informal surveys have found that D. A. R. E. is no more effective than any other drug education program. “The D. A. R. E. program’s limited effect on adolescent drug use contrasts with the program’s popularity and prevalence.

An important implication is that D. A. R. E. could be taking the place of other, more beneficial drug education programs that kids could be receiving. ” Because of attempting to prevent all drug experimentation and/or use, D. A. R. E. ’s objectives are not only unrealistic but also possible counter-productive because they are obviously unattainable. As an example, some studies have shown that adolescents who have experimented with illicit drugs (especially marijuana) are better adjusted than either abstainers or frequent users and were more socially skilled with higher levels of self-esteem than abstainers.

Some people say that drug addiction is a disease, and addicts should be treated as people needing medical help. “Whatever conditions may lead to opiate exposure, opiate dependence is a brain-related disorder with the requisite characteristics of a medical illness. ” There are a few different methods of treatment, but for the sake of simplicity, this paper will cover methadone and narcotic antagonists. Methadone is a synthetic narcotic analgesic that was developed in Germany during World War II due to the lack of opiate based pain medication.

Methadone prevents often-excruciating withdrawal symptoms, yet blocks the pleasurable effects of heroin. For a heroin addict, he is either “straight” (feeling normal), “high”, or “sick”. He wakes up sick, shoots up, and gets high. That lasts for a few hours maybe, and he shoots up again if he can, to avoid getting sick. In this viscous cycle, it is easy to see how holding a job or living normally is out of the question. “Although a drug-free state represents an optimal treatment goal, research has demonstrated that this goal cannot be achieved or sustained by the majority of opiate-dependent people.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Methadone maintenance treatment is effective in reducing illicit opiate drug use, in reducing crime, in enhancing social productivity, and in reducing the spread of viral diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis. ” “All opiate-dependent persons under legal supervision should have access to methadone maintenance therapy… ” Methadone maintenance is long-term, if not permanent. However, the methadone is given in a controlled environment; patients must come to the clinic once or twice a day for their dose.

This way the patients were not given a narcotic that they could sell on the street. A daily appearance at the clinics and the opportunities for counseling is cited as one of the major reasons for the success of the methadone program. “Of the various treatments available, Methadone Maintenance Treatment, combined with attention to medical, psychiatric and socioeconomic issues, as well as drug counseling, has the highest probability of being effective. ” Narcotic antagonists, such as the drug naltrexone, work by blocking the effects of narcotics such as heroin.

Naltrexone works only if the addict has already been detoxed, and is motivated to take the drug. Narcotic antagonists work best for those addicts that tend to relapse impulsively. “The unnecessary regulations of methadone maintenance therapy and other long-acting opiate antagonist treatment programs should be reduced, and coverage for these programs should be a required benefit in public and private insurance programs. ” The National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES) found that with treatment: drug selling decreased by 78%, shoplifting declined by almost 82%, and assaults (defined as ‘beating someone up’) declined by 78%.

Furthermore, there was a 64% decrease in arrests for any crime, and the percentage of people who largely supported themselves through illegal activity dropped by nearly half – decreasing more than 48 percent. Another way of thinking is that drug addicts are criminals and should be punished. Certainly, this is one of the objectives of the War on Drugs, to put the drug traffickers in prison. However, how many millions of people do you think we have to put in prison to have the best results? Under current laws, most users also fall under the category of dealers, due to either the amount carried, or the way the drugs are packaged.

Potentially forty million people would have to be imprisoned under these laws, and that is just impossible. Although people may think that the War on Drugs targets drug smugglers and ‘King Pins,’ of the 1,559,100 arrests for drug law violations in 1998, 78. 8% (1,228,571) were for possession of a controlled substance. Only 21. 2% (330,529) was for the sale or manufacture of a drug. Simple possession of marijuana accounted for 38. 4% (598,694) of the total arrests. Even if only ten percent of the drug dealers were put in prison, the U. S. would have to build four prisons for every one we have now.

How many people need to be in prison for drug offenses to effectively control the drug problem? The government has asked the taxpayers to write a blank check for prisons to jail non-violent offenders. Since the enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug users, the Federal Bureau of Prisons budget increased by more than 1,350%, from $220 million in 1986 to about $3. 19 billion in 1997. The ONDCP in its 2000 annual report detailed administration requests for major increases in funding to the Federal Bureau of Prisons for drug-related prison construction.

These include an extra $420 Million in fiscal year 2001, and advanced appropriations of $467 Million in 2002, and an additional $316 Million in 2003 – all drug-related. The 1997 National Treatment Improvement Evaluation Study (NTIES) stated, “Treatment appears to be cost effective, particularly when compared to incarceration, which is often the alternative. Treatment costs ranged from a low of $1,800 per client to a high of approximately $6,800 per client. ” To contrast, the average cost of incarceration in 1993 (the most recent year available) was $23,406 per inmate per year.

For a single drug user to be put in prison, it costs taxpayers about a half million dollars. That includes $150,000 for arrest and prosecution, $150,000 for a new cell, and approximately $30,000 a year for the next five years. In the same respect, that amount of money could provide education and treatment for one hundred people. Which do you think is the better option? In California, and in a few other states, schools, libraries, and medical facilities are being closed in order to build more prisons. The money is being taken from education and treatment in order to build more prisons.

Is this planning for our children’s future? Prisoners sentenced for drug offenses constitute the largest group of Federal inmates (58%) in 1998, up from 53% in 1990 (table 21). On September 30, 1998, the date of the latest available data, Federal prisons held 63,011 sentenced drug offenders, compared to 30,470 at yearend 1990. ” Table 21 notes there were 56,989 Federal prisoners in 1990, compared to 108,925 in 1998. : Over 80% of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 were due to drug convictions.

In 1998, drug law violators comprised 21% of all adults serving time in State prisons – 236,800 out of 1,141,700 State inmates. Nonviolent offenders accounted for Eighty-four percent (84%) of the increase in state and federal prison admissions since 1980. Department of corrections data show that about a fourth of those initially imprisoned for nonviolent crimes are sentenced for a second time for committing a violent offense. Whatever else it reflects, this pattern highlights the possibility that prison serves to transmit violent habits and values rather than to reduce them.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Home » Drugs » Legalization of Marijuana

Legalization of Marijuana

Research has been published in favor of legalizing marijuana. The legalization of marijuana is a political issue that has continued to surface for decades. There is countrywide support lobbying for reinstating the right to use this natural product. A large majority of this country’s population refuses to accept the United States government’s decision to prohibit citizens from enjoying the benefits that this organically grown herb provides. In my paper I will research and have knowledge on the legalization and political issues about marijuana.

Most Americans do not want to spend scarce public funds incarcerating nonviolent marijuana offenders, at a cost of $23,000 per year. Politicians must reconsider our country’s priorities and attach more importance to combating violent crime than targeting marijuana smokers. Marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers at least $7. 5 billion annually. This is an enormous waste of scarce federal dollars that should be used to target violent crime. Marijuana prohibition makes no exception for the medical use of marijuana.

The tens of thousands of eriously ill Americans who presently use marijuana as a therapeutic agent to alleviate symptoms of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis risk arrest and jail to obtain and use their medication (Grinspoon and Bakalar). Americans, it turns out, aren’t conflicted in their attitude toward marijuana. They want it illegal but not really enforced. A Time/CNN poll last week found that only 34% want pot to be totally legalized (the percentage has almost doubled since 1986).

But a vast majority have become mellow about official loopholes: 80% think it’s O. K. to dispense pot for medical purposes, and 72% think people caught with it for recreational use should get off with only a fine (Time Magazine, Oct 2002). Between 1978 and 1996, 34 states passed laws recognizing marijuana’s therapeutic value (Wesner). Most recently, voters in two states — Arizona and California — passed laws allowing for the medical use of marijuana under a physician’s supervision.

Yet, states are severely limited in their ability to implement their medical use laws because of the federal prohibition of marijuana. America tried alcohol prohibition between 1919 and 1931, but discovered that the crime and violence associated with prohibition was more damaging than the evil sought to be prohibited. With tobacco, America has learned over the last decade that education is the most effective way to discourage use. Yet, America fails to apply these lessons to marijuana policy.

By stubbornly defining all marijuana smoking as criminal, including that which involves adults smoking in the privacy of their own homes, we are wasting police and prosecutorial resources, clogging ourts, filling costly and scarce jail and prison space, and needlessly wrecking the lives and careers of genuinely good citizens. Marijuana legalization offers an important advantage over decriminalization in that it allows for legal distribution and taxation of cannabis.

In the absence of taxation, the free market price of legal marijuana would be extremely low, on the order of five to ten cents per joint. In terms of intoxicating potential, a joint is equivalent to at least $1 or $2 worth of alcohol, the price at which cannabis is currently sold in the Netherlands. The easiest way to hold the price at this level under legalization would be by an excise tax on commercial sales. An examination of the external costs imposed by cannabis users on the rest of society suggests that a “harmfulness tax” of $. 0 – $1 per joint is appropriate. It can be estimated that excise taxes in this range would rise between $2. 2 and $6. 4 billion per year. Altogether, legalization would save the taxpayers around $8 – $16 billion, not counting the economic benefits of hemp agriculture and other spin-off industries.

Personally, I believe that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal uses, but I do not think that it will ever totally legalized in the United States. For one, no one has died directly from Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) poisoning, mostly because a 160-lb. erson would have to smoke roughly 900 joints in a sitting to reach a lethal dose (Merrit). I think that it is a travesty that millions of suffering Americans can’t be prescribed marijuana. Many studies conducted over the years have shown marijuana’s medicinal benefits. I don’t believe that marijuana will ever be legalized because our governments fear of marijuana. Even though most people in politics have smoked marijuana before (my opinion), marijuana is just considered taboo and will never be legalized.

The government fears that people who were prescribed marijuana would begin to try and sell it. In my opinion this is just ludicrous. If someone were being prescribed marijuana, (there are around 10 people currently and a waiting list of about a thousand) they would never be stupid enough to try and sell it. They would be under so much security and scrutiny that I don’t think the thought of selling the marijuana would cross people’s minds. Also the government thinks that legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to children.

I think that this is just another bland statement for the government to stand behind. If someone was prescribed marijuana they could either smoke it away from children or, if the child was mature enough, explain the medicinal values and why they were smoking marijuana. People have even gone so far as to state that the government has sabotaged the marijuana research. I wouldn’t put this past the government, but I don’t think that it is likely they would do this.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Home » Drugs » Legalization of Marijuana

Legalization of Marijuana

Marijuana is a plant, known as cannabis sativa and cannabis indica, which contains a psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The effects of THC include disruption of psychomotor behavior, short-term memory impairment, intoxication, stimulation of appetite, antinociceptive, and antiemetic activities. Marijuana, the Mexican name given to cannabis is a mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the plant. Cannabis is a term that refers to marijuana and other preparations made from the same plant.

Hemp is a form of cannabis, cannabis sativa L, which contains less than one percent THC; it is used to make clothing, paper, and building materials. Tobacco is smoked just like marijuana is smoked, rolled in paper or in a pipe. The only difference is that tobacco is legal and marijuana is illegal. The government spends billions each year on the war on drugs, yet it is still around. For people under the age of 21 it is much easier to get marijuana then it is to get alcohol. Although many primarily associate marijuana with its harmful side effects, in actuality there are many benefits from its use as well.

Marijuana was a large part of culture throughout the entire world, it has been around for thousands of years and still continues to grow. Hemp was a large help with early American settlers, the hollow stalk was used to make clothing, rope and paper. Hemp was used well before this though, the Chinese used it to make fishing nets and bow strings for their archers. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who are considered to be forefathers for America, both grew hemp. Benjamin Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on paper that was made of hemp.

During World War II, the US supply of hemp was cut off by the Japanese, and the US Army and the Department of Agriculture promoted the “Hemp for Victory” campaign, which encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the cause of the war. Hemp was also used in making sails and ropes for ships. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act prohibited the use, sale, and cultivation of marijuana and hemp in the United States. It is said that marijuana is a “gateway” drug, and it will lead to harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin, though this is not a proven theory. Over time, there has been no consistent relationship between the use patterns of various drugs” (National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Main Findings 1993). Marijuana is considered a gateway drug, because marijuana is the most widely used drug and it is usually the first drug that is encountered by people. Most drug users though, start usually before the legal age with alcohol and nicotine before they use marijuana. In the National Survey of Drug Abuse in 1997, the average age of people who first started to use marijuana was 17. years old, average age of people who first started to use alcohol was 16. 1 years old, and the average age for people who first started to use cigarettes was 15. 4 years old.

I have talked to many people who have smoked marijuana for awhile now, and none of them have had the urge to try harder drugs. “While marijuana use-rates have increased in the Netherlands, cocaine use-rates have not – indicating that separation of the hard’ and soft’ drug markets has prevented a gateway effect’ from developing. In 1992, about 1. % of 12 to 18 year-olds had ever tried cocaine and only . 3% had used it in the past month” (Key Data: Smoking, Drinking, Drug Use and Gambling Among Pupils Aged 10 Years and Older). Netherlands is where marijuana is legal and can be purchased and smoked in government regulated coffee shops. Gentile 3 Marijuana is said to be addicting, and that can be true in some respects; however, marijuana is not physically addicting. In reality though, anything can be addicting and I do not think this is a valid argument.

Marijuana is said to contain more than 400 chemicals, proving that it is dangerous; although coffee contains more than 1,500 chemicals and rat poison only 30 chemicals. There is no correlation between the number of chemicals a substance contains and its toxicity. Today’s marijuana is more potent and harmful than it was many years ago there is no medical evidence that shows high-potency is more harmful than low-potency. Claiming that high-potency marijuana is more harmful than low-potency marijuana is like claiming wine is more harmful than beer.

High-potency is preferred over low-potency marijuana, because less of it is consumed which lowers the amount of smoke entering your lungs and the risk of respiratory problems. “When human subjects were administered daily oral doses of 180 – 210 mg of THC, the equivalent of 15 – 20 joints per day, abrupt cessation produced adverse symptoms, including disturbed sleep, restlessness, nausea, decreased appetite, and sweating. The authors interpreted these symptoms as evidence of physical dependence.

However, they noted the syndrome’s relatively mild nature and remained skeptical of its occurrence when marijuana is consumed in usual doses and situations” (Clinical Studies of Cannabis Tolerance and Dependence). Each year, more then 400,000 Americans die from diseases related to the smoking of cigarettes, more than 150,000 Americans die of alcohol abuse each, and in the thousands of years of marijuana usage not a single death has ever been recorded (National Survey Results on Drug Use, from Monitoring the Future Study).

Alright, so marijuana hasn’t killed anyone and cigarettes and alcohol, both of which are legal, take their toll on Americans by killing more than 500,000 people combined. Marijuana, like many other substances that are available, can be abused and the most common problem is lethargic, or dull, behavior, but that does not cause serious health problems. Marijuana can cause short-term memory loss, but only while under the influence; marijuana does not impair long-term memory.

Smoking and inhaling anything in your lungs is not good for you, but that can be eliminated by non-smoking methods, like adding it to baked foods, using a vaporizer, or by making it into a liquid. In 2002 there were 1538,813 total drug arrests (Drug War Facts ), out of those, 697,082 were marijuana arrests only. 83,096 of the arrests were for trafficking and sales arrests; the rest, 613,986 were for possession of marijuana. About 40% of the people arrested for drug offenses were just for simply possessing marijuana.

In 2001 the average cost of housing an inmate for one year was $22,650 (State Prison Expidentures ). The government is using that much money to house someone who has such a small offense, when this money could be put to good use. Recently the debates of the medical purposes have been going on, and if marijuana should be used a medicine. “For thousands of years, throughout the world, people have used marijuana to treat a variety of medical conditions” (The Therapeutic Potential of Marijuana). Some states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Marijuana can be used to treat nausea, pain, and muscle spasms; it alleviates, which means relieves, symptoms of glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, migraines, and other debilitating ailments. Marijuana helps in the treatment of patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, THC helps reduce vomiting and nausea that is caused by chemotherapy. Marijuana helps AIDS sufferers by improving their appetite and forestalling the loss of lean muscle mass. Marijuana reduces the muscle pain and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, and may also help patients with bladder control problems and relieve tremors.

Glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States, is caused by increased pressure inside of the eye, and marijuana reduces this pressure. The DEA’s Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young concluded: “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure f rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care” (In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition). Marijuana is not nearly as bad for you as cigarettes and alcohol are for you, it is a fact that hundreds of thousands of people die each year from smoking cigarettes which are legal. Marijuana has been used for many years by people all over the world for all different types of things, such as medical and recreational uses. If people have the choice of smoking cigarettes each day, then why don’t they have the choice of smoking marijuana?

Marijuana is a way to relax and be peaceful, and has been smoked for many years, and will be for many years to come. I think the real facts about marijuana should be stated instead of errors, guesses, and propaganda. The government made many false claims to try and scare people away from marijuana, but it is not as bad as it is made out to be. I do not see why it should be illegal for simply possessing a plant, when there are many plants in the world, which you can smoke if they are dried and rolled up. The fight for the legalization of marijuana will continue until marijuana is finally legalized.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment