The Legalization of Marijuana

Topics: Cannabis, Drug addiction, Tobacco smoking Pages: 6 (2378 words) Published: May 20, 2011
The Legalization of Marijuana – A Compelling Case for a Misunderstood Plant

Abstract
The prohibition of marijuana has sparked heated debates for years about its effects on the human body, its medicinal properties, and its effect on society; just to name a few. Although many are against the legalization of marijuana, this paper will argue that the legalization of marijuana is warranted. It will prove this by weighing marijuana’s effects on the body when smoked against the effects on the body when drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco, by presenting research facts on its medicinal qualities, and showing how the prohibition ultimately contributes to organized crime.

The Legalization of Marijuana – A Compelling Case for a Misunderstood Plant

The prohibition of marijuana has been a heated debate for many years. Just like the prohibition of alcohol in the early1900’s, the prohibition of marijuana in 1937 is having an adverse effect on society. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2010), marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with 60 percent of users using marijuana only. Clearly, prohibition fails to eliminate or even significantly deter the use of marijuana among the American public. Why do so many people smoke marijuana when it is illegal? There are many personal reasons why people smoke marijuana and there are logical ones, as well. As research proves, marijuana is no more harmful than alcohol or tobacco; and actually has been proven to be less harmful than these two leading recreational drugs. The recorded therapeutic properties of marijuana have helped medical patients cope with the side effects of many illnesses and disabilities. The prohibition also forces those who continue to smoke marijuana to interact with the black market, ultimately contributing to organized crime. This paper will show you that marijuana should be legalized because it is less harmful than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco; because of its powerful medicinal properties; and because of the unfavorable results of its prohibition.

Death Reports of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Marijuana – How do they compare?

Alcohol and tobacco are among the top causes of preventable deaths in the United States and are often used together. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010), approximately 79,000 deaths are attributed to excessive alcohol consumption and 443,000 deaths are attributed to cigarette smoking each year in the United States. These numbers are extremely high compared to the number of deaths attributed to smoking marijuana. A report submitted by the Food and Drug Administration compared the number of deaths caused by marijuana to the number of deaths caused by seventeen FDA approved drugs. Twelve of the FDA approved drugs were chosen because they commonly replace prescribed medical marijuana. The results showed that marijuana is identified as a primary cause of death in zero cases from 1997 through mid-2005 (ProCon, 2009). A mortality data report submitted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2009) also reports “Marijuana is rarely the only drug involved in a drug abuse death. Thus, the proportion of marijuana induced cases labeled as ‘one drug’ will be zero or nearly zero” (p. 25). Not only are alcohol and tobacco the leading causes of preventable death, they are the primary cause of many illnesses and disabilities; however, they are declared legal for consumption by the United States government where marijuana is illegal. Why? Long-Term Effects of Drinking Alcohol

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) funded the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and the results indicated that 65 percent of the U.S. population drinks alcohol and that about 13 percent either abuse alcohol or are dependent on alcohol (2006). Beverage alcohol is a...

References: American College of Physicians. (2008). Supporting research into the therapeutic role of
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American Medical Association. (2009, November 30). American medical news: Delegates support review of marijuana’s schedule 1 status. Retrieved on April 14, 2011, from http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/images/prhd1123.pdf
American Medical Association
National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2011, January). Adverse effects of cannabis. Retrieved on April 14, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21462790
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2011). Rethinking drinking: alcohol and your health. Retrieved on April 14, 2011, from http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/default.asp
National Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2011). NIDA infofacts: Marijuana. Retrieved on April 14, 2011, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/marijuana.html
ProCon.org
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2010). Substance abuse. Retrieved on April 13, 2011, from http://www.hhs.gov/opa/pubs/hp2010/hp2010rh_sec2_substance.pdf
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