The Blunt Truth
Should marijuana be legalized? The legalization of marijuana is currently one of the most controversial issues in the United States today. To answer this question it entails more than just and simple “yes” or “no”. There are a variety of reasons as to why someone would want to use this decriminalized plant, which is the result of the nationwide debate of legalization. Medical uses seem to be the most looked at area of this debate. Many doctors will support the use of marijuana because of its benefits to their suffering patients. Others will argue that the long term health effects and abuse risks are not too alluring. In the book “Understanding Marijuana” by Mitch Earleywine, Woody & MacFadden state that 200 to 300 million people report smoking marijuana in 1999. This leads to another valid question; with the amount of arrests involving marijuana, what could it do for our economy if legalized? The popularity in medical marijuana has drastically climbed because of its aids to many disorders and diseases. The plant consistently appeared in pharmacopoeia and folk medicine as a treatment for pain, seizure, muscle spasm, poor appetite, nausea, insomnia, asthma, and depression. It also has reports of alleviating labor pains and menstrual cramps in multiple medical reports from ancient to present (Earleywine). If we have had knowledge of marijuana being helpful in the past why are we still using drugs that are stronger and more dangerous like morphine and other pain killers that are legal to prescribe? It is known that marijuana does not impair lung function and can even increase lung capacity. Also one chemical found in marijuana, called cannabidiol, prevents cancer from spreading. Medical marijuana use has surged in the 16 states and the District of Columbia that allow its use (New York Times). Main reasons are for Glaucoma, Cancer, ADD and ADHD, Crohn’s, and even Alzheimer’s. Along with many benefits people who do not support the legalization of medical marijuana dispute that it has many long term health risks. Marijuana’s effects can vary based on each person. There has been research shown that It's fairly common for people who are using marijuana regularly to complain that their ability to think clearly is impaired — to remember, to organize their thoughts, to follow through with multitasking." Roffman later goes on to say “not everyone who uses marijuana regularly experiences problems with thinking and memory, but researchers have not been able to predict which users will and which won't” (Payne & Healy). Another argument prohibiting legalization and defending health reasons is that marijuana is what they call a “gateway” drug. Anti-legalization activist would argue that marijuana's status as a gateway drug makes it more dangerous to users in the longer term, by introducing people to the involvement of possessing and consuming an illegal drug. However, the pro-legalization activist insists that it will ensure people purchasing marijuana get it from a reliable source that will not try and introduce or sell hard drugs later on. They believe that if is available there will be no need to go out of the way to try different drugs that are not as easily accessible. The legalization of marijuana would dramatically help our economy in multiple ways. Taxation on the product would bring a massive amount of money to the government. Seeing that our economy is in decline, our government can use as much extra money as we can provide. The amount of money that goes into the courts and prison systems in our country over drugs and specifically marijuana is unbelievable. Today, there are eight times as many people in prisons, than there were in 1970 which was at 200,00 people (Friedman). Not only are we exhausting money to hold and take care of these inmates, we also spend money and time for officers and government appointed or court officials to deal with matters consequential from marijuana. In 1971, fewer than...
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Cathy Payne and Michelle Healy. "Marijuana 's Health Effects: Memory Problems, Addiction." USA Today. Gannett, 7 Dec. 2012. Web. 03 Feb. 2013.
Earleywine, Mitchell. Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.
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Milton Friedman. "There 's No Justice in the War On Drugs." There 's No Justice in the War On
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"The Cost of a Nation of Incarceration." CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 22 Apr. 2012. Web. 13 Feb. 2013.
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