Legalize Marijuana | Teen Ink

Legalize Marijuana

May 16, 2014
By JTeske BRONZE, Odessa, Minnesota
JTeske BRONZE, Odessa, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

We all know about the controversy around marijuana. How it’s the worst thing for you possible or it’s the best medicine money can buy. Well we are going to show you both sides of this argument. One side of this controversy are people who are for the legalization of MARIJUANA; the other side are people who don’t think it should be legal at all.

This is a hot topic throughout the USA. There’s quite a few states trying to get medicinal marijuana legal. Then they move to get recreational marijuana legal, which means that anybody can use marijuana without a prescription.

The side that thinks Marijuana should be legalized has many points. Their biggest point I believe has to be all the medical benefits Marijuana has. Medical marijuana can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, MS, glaucoma, and other conditions. The biggest down side to medical marijuana is risk of lung cancer from smoking it, which basically is the other side's argument. You don’t have to smoke medical marijuana to get the medicine. There are other ways like: butter/cooking oil(use to make foods), oil(use as lotion or add to food), tonics(a liquid you can drink), vaporizer(heating marijuana’s active ingredients to produce a vapor which is safer than straight up smoke). You can see there are safer ways to get marijuana’s active ingredient THC into your system. If you don’t know what THC is, it’s tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. THC changes behavior by fitting together like a lock and key to receptors on the nerve cells. THC relieves pain, but it doesn't bind to the same receptors in the brain as opioids such as heroin, morphine and other drugs derived from the poppy plant(Cox).

Prohibition of alcohol in 1919, made the sale of alcohol illegal by the 18th amendment. The era of prohibition didn’t stop the distribution of alcohol, but instead it drove alcoholic beverages underground. That’s when speakeasies became prominent and started to sell alcohol illegally. By, 1933 noticing the failure of Prohibition the congress made the 21st Amendment getting rid of the 18th. That ties into the federal ban on marijuana, which took a totally different route. In 1937, the federal Marijuana Tax Act required sellers of marijuana to get a license, but no such license were ever issued(Ford). Making all traffic in marijuana illegal, but prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually, cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States, and marijuana is grown all over the planet. Claims that marijuana prohibition is a successful policy are ludicrous and unsupported by the facts, and the idea that marijuana will soon be eliminated from America and the rest of the world is a ridiculous fantasy(High Times).

If the government realized how much money they could get by taxing the sale of marijuana like they do with cigarettes, we wouldn’t be in as big of a debt right now. The study estimates that the average price of 0.5 grams (a unit) of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while its cost of production was only $1.70(Moffatt). That’s a profit of $6.90 on each unit sold in a free market. But sooner or later more and more people would start their own production of marijuana increasing to supply on the streets. Then if there is more supply the prices would drop closer to the production cost but none of this happens since this drug is still illegal. If the government made marijuana legal they could put taxes on it and in return they would make millions maybe even billions a year.

Marijuana should stay illegal. There’s too many cons of the legalization of marijuana. It’s a schedule 1 drug which are, substances, or chemicals defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.
Also, marijuana is a gateway drug, which means it can lead to the use of many other harmful drugs. Children ages 12-17 are 85 more times likely to use cocaine. Marijuana has also been linked with teen violence, suicide, crime, and unsafe sex(Wright). Marijuana is sometimes mixed with other drugs like PCP, which is a white powder. They dip joints into PCP causing violent behavior and creating severe physical reactions including seizures, coma and even death. That’s not all they mix marijuana with, they can mix it with basically any drug. The vast majority of cocaine users (99.9%) began by first using a “gateway drug” like marijuana, cigarettes or alcohol(Wright).

Is marijuana addictive? Estimates from research suggest that about 9 percent of users become addicted to marijuana; this number increases among those who start young. Long-term marijuana users can suffer from: irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving. When long-term marijuana abusers try to stop using the drug, they often suffer with a number of unpleasant symptoms, which make it difficult to quit. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC. When someone smokes marijuana, THC rapidly passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to the parts of the brain that create memory loss, thoughts, concentration, sensory, time perception, and coordinated movement.

Both sides to this topic have really good arguments that make picking either side really hard. While the side that’s for the legalization of marijuana main argument has to be how marijuana has a lot of medical benefits. Also, if the government makes it legal they’ll be able to tax it like cigarettes and alcohol to make millions a year. Just like the alcohol prohibition, marijuana is still being sold without a problem even if it is still illegal. So, making it legal would make everything easier and then police officers don’t have to waste their time with marijuana and focus on more dangerous criminals.

It’s still illegal and should stay illegal. It’s a schedule I drug for a reason, it’s also very addictive and can lead to other drugs. That’s all the side against the legalization of marijuana needs to say. There’s no getting your life back once you started smoking marijuana since it’s addictive. One puff won’t hurt, weeks later you could be doing cocaine looking for that bigger buzz.

After researching this topic hours after hours I feel that all medical marijuana should be legal. If there are people out there suffering from cancer and smoking a little marijuana can slow it down or maybe cure it, who are we to say no to that. But making recreational marijuana legal, I’m still not sold on that yet. There are just too many downsides to the full legalization of marijuana. Maybe someday someone will find a way to make marijuana less harmful, but until that happens I’m saying no to it.

Works Cited
Ford, Adam Walter, Andrew. “Point: Marijuana Should Be Legalized.” Points Of View: Legalizations Of Marijuana (2013): 3. Points of View Reference Center. Web. March 2014
Rich, Alex K. Stingl, Alexander. “Legalization of Marijuana: An Overview.” Points Of View: Legalization of Marijuana(2013): 1, Points of View Reference Center. Web. 14 March 2014
Wright, George Newton, Heather. “Counterpoint: There Are No Good Reasons To Legalize Marijuana.” Points of View: Legalization Of Marijuana (2013): 2. Points Of View Reference Center. Web. 16 March 2014

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