Take A Closer Look


Take A Closer Look Essay, Research Paper

Those who oppose legalizing marijuana tell us that legalizing it would be

seriously detrimental. Are they looking at the facts? Or do they just

believe the same myths that our parents created when they were trying to

stop us from becoming drug addicts? Let&rsquos take a closer look at the


Violence surrounding drug dealing would be lessened by legalizing

marijuana because small time drug dealers would essentially be forced out

of business. Larger companies who could produce high quality marijuana at

lower cost would prevail. Most people would buy from these companies

because they would know the product was free of adulterants and would

contain no poisons. Wars between dealers of marijuana would end, and the

sale of marijuana could be monitored by government the same way as

essentially any other legitimate business. Sellers would be made

accountable and a culture of responsibility would be formed. Desperate

acts of theft and violence associated with its distribution would

disappear as the black market disappears. Additionally, marijuana abusers

who are currently being forced to live a life of shame and secrecy could

openly seek help.

Dangerous drugs such as crack cocaine and LSD are consistently placed in

the same category as marijuana. These drugs are admittedly dangerous, but

research has never been able to identify a link between crime and


Countless Americans have been branded as criminals and thrown into prison

for merely possessing or smoking marijuana. Truly violent criminals are

often paroled early for sheer lack of prison space because users of

marijuana occupy the space. Why not leave the rapists and murderers in

prison and let marijuana users engage in a relatively mild form of

personal stimulation?

Marijuana is safe and effective for medical use. Studies have proven that

it is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting and that it can stimulate

the appetite. This could help cancer and AIDS patients who face

emaciation. Marijuana reduces tremors, restores balance, stops muscle

spasms, restores bladder control, and restores speech and eyesight for

multiple sclerosis patients. It can even prevent epileptic seizures. It

can also alleviate pain and sometimes stop the progression of glaucoma

because it reduces intraocular pressure.

Marijuana is relatively harmless. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente in

Oakland and the University of California School of Public Health in

Berkeley compared the health risks of smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana,

and drinking alcohol. They found that smoking tobacco was a greater

hazard than smoking marijuana, and that the dangers of drinking alcohol

and smoking marijuana were about the same. Their studies indicated that

regular use of marijuana did not lead to a higher mortality rate. The DEA

has also admitted that marijuana does not pose a very big health risk.

There is a difference between “relatively harmless” and “safe”. Drinking

water is relatively harmless until you drink too much, upset your

electrolyte balance, and suffer death. Driving a car is relatively

harmless until you drive into a tree. Nothing is safe for all people all

the time. Marijuana, like anything else, will pose health risks when

abused or used irresponsibly.

Virtually anything may be addictive. Housework may be addictive, but to

say that it is would be ludicrous. To millions of people like me,

housework is anything but addictive. Roller-skating may be addictive.

Should we put warning labels on roller skates? For a drug to be

classified as addictive, it must be proven that numerous individuals have

trouble discontinuing its use or that it interferes with other life

activities. National epidemiological surveys show that one third of

Americans over the age of twelve have used marijuana. Of those same

people, only nine percent have used marijuana in the past year and only

2.8 percent have used it in the past week. Additionally, many daily users

consumed marijuana in a way that did not interfere with other life

activities. These studies tend to suggest that the majority of people who

try marijuana do not become addicted.

According to DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network), emergency rooms are not

flooded with marijuana users. In fact only about one percent of all

people admitted to the emergency room mention using marijuana alone (as

opposed to in combination with other drugs, which increases the percent

slightly). In fact, mentions of over-the-counter pain medications were

more frequent.

Numerous attempts have been made through research to prove that marijuana

induces an amotivational effect. The truth is this effect does not exist.

Studies have shown that marijuana has no effect on motivation, grade

point average, or job productivity. In fact, in Jamaica, marijuana is

often used to increase productivity when workers must endure longer


The legalization of marijuana would have many benefits for the federal

budget. First of all, the sale of marijuana could be taxed. Right now,

drug dealing is a tax-free operation. If marijuana were made legal, an

arrangement could be made to license the production of marijuana

cigarettes. The producer would have to pay a licensing fee and the

customer would be taxed at the time of purchase (as well as any retailers

in between). The companies making the cigarettes would also have to pay

income taxes.

As marijuana has many medical uses and is fairly expensive ($160 to $400

per ounce), pharmaceutical companies also stand to make a profit. Drug

paraphernalia could be openly sold and profits could be made there as


The court system would profit as well. Courts would not be burdened by

all of the marijuana cases that come before it. The cost of imprisoning

marijuana users is enormous. If they were not convicted to begin with, we

wouldn&rsquot need a place to put them.

The war on drugs is accomplishing as much by chasing marijuana users as a

fire fighter would by trying to put out a forest fire with one fire

truck. If it is fought back in one place, it pops up in another. Drug

enforcement officials are wasting their time and money trying to fight

marijuana use. If marijuana were legalized, the money could be better

concentrated on keeping minors off drugs. Achievable objectives could be

set for law enforcement. Illogical patterns of law enforcement could end

and a more responsible approach to controlling marijuana could be




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