One question that has haunted Americans for a long time is: ? Should the use of marijuana be legalized?? Some say, ?Yes?, while others say, ?No?. Owning marijuana was made a crime in 1937 when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. Despite this law the drug was still somewhat commonly used. Here we are years later, still without a satisfactory answer to the question. I think that legalizing the use of marijuana would have many medical benefits, economical benefits, and would decrease the incidence of crime.
There are others who disagree. These people feel that legalization would lead to the formation of other habits and to health problems, such as, the use of a harsher drug and to psychological and personality problems that can come from using marijuana. These individuals feel that the negatives of marijuana use far outweigh the positives, and feel that the use of marijuana should remain illegal.
To some people marijuana is considered a ?gateway? drug. Legalizing marijuana would lead to the use of other, much more harsh drugs. From the book Drugs, Teens, and Recovery Lauren a teenager that got mixed up in drugs describes how she got involved with marijuana, then with cocaine. She says, ?I was ten, in the fifth grade, the first time I smoked pot. I liked pot a lot better than drinking because it was easier. I loved it. Pot and alcohol, that?s all I needed. I didn?t want to get into anything else?. She continues, ?About this time, I started getting obsessed with cocaine and thinking about what the high would be like?. Just like Lauren people can start off with just smoking marijuana but they would get the urge to try something a little bit stronger.
Legalizing marijuana will cause Americans to suffer from psychological and personality problems. According to Elizabeth Scheichert, who is the author of Marijuana, The Drug Library, THC is the active chemical in marijuana that causes the user to feel ?high?. This is also the chemical that is most destructive to the user?s body and mind. The THC from smoking one marijuana cigarette can accumulate in the user?s body fat and stay there for weeks at a time. Smoking marijuana causes a lack of motivation, ambition, and creativity. Many user?s lose interest in life and become very lazy. People who use marijuana often find it very difficult to concentrate on anything more challenging than television. Marijuana causes a decreased attention span and feelings of isolation. High school and college students who are regular users of marijuana find themselves to be struggling with inner turmoil, feeling depressed, scared, and having very low self-esteem. To a frequent user, time and surroundings become constantly distorted, causing judgment, logical thinking, and memory to become impaired. Frequent users of marijuana struggle with having two completely different personalities. In Drugs, Teens, and Recovery, Lauren explains this to us as, ?I have two separate personalities: one that can act perfectly straight, one that wants to get trashed. I can talk to jocks, brains, and drug addicts equally easily? (63). Smoking marijuana will have many negative psychological and personality effects on those who choose to smoke it.
Marijuana usage has many medical benefits. It became popular as a medicine in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. Then, marijuana was used to treat general headaches, migraine headaches, depression, muscular tension, insomnia, and menstrual cramps. Today, marijuana has proven to be beneficial in the treatment of many more medical conditions including glaucoma, cancer, and asthma. In 1976, Robert C. Randall became the very first American to ever gain legal access to marijuana for medical purposes. In Marijuana, The Patients? Fight for Medical Pot, he describes how marijuana helped him through his battle with glaucoma, ?Marijuana has helped control it. Marijuana is helping me to save my eyesight? (14). Marijuana has helped Mr. Randall in his fight with glaucoma, and has the potential to aid in the treatment of many other medical situations. Another person that has gotten relief from marijuana is Myron Lindey. Lindey was suffering from cancer in the bladder before he started to use marijuana for his condition he was constantly losing weight. With the help of marijuana he was able to gain some weight as stated in the article ?Myron Lindey, backed medicinal use of marijuana? he states, ?It helped me to gain weight that the cancer had ate away?. He also says, ? I never smoked marijuana before my cancer and I haven?t smoked it since. But I firmly believe that when I need it, it saved my life?. Marijuana also helps people who has AIDS Charles Wynott suffers from AIDS. He smokes marijuana everyday to ease the wringing nausea imposed by his medicines. These two cases shows that marijuana is a help to people who needs it. Marijuana is legal in one state for medical purposes only. In 1996, voters in California approved a law that relaxes regulations on medical marijuana. The federal government cannot take action against California doctors who recommend marijuana to their patients.
Legalizing the use of marijuana has many economical benefits. Ethan Nadelman, an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University wrote in the book Drug Abuse, Opposing Viewpoints, about several strategies of legalizing the use of marijuana. One strategy would consist of the government exercising strong regulatory powers over all large-scale production and sale of marijuana. The second strategy is to make drug-treatment programs available to all those who need them. The last, but not least, strategy was to make marijuana available only to competent adults. This legalization strategy would allow the United States to reduce government expenditures on enforcing drug laws and would allow the United States to enjoy a new tax revenue from legal drug production and sales. According to Nadelman, his strategy would increase public treasuries of at least ten billion a year and maybe much more.
This strategy propose that legalizing marijuana would have many economical benefits on the United States. Former Mayor of Baltimore Kurt Schmoke was a strong believer in legalizing drugs. In the article, ?The War on Drugs Is Lost? he says, ?…the strategy for fighting it didn?t work, and as a result the war lasted too long and cost too many lives. The same is true of the war on drugs. It?s time to bring this enervating war to an end. It?s time for peace?.
I believe, with Mr. Schmoke, that by legalizing marijuana, the crime rate might decrease in the United States. The streets of America might automatically become much better and safer places. The drug dealers would possibly be put out of business, and the shootouts over drug related crimes would likely end. According to Nadelman, ?One year after prohibition was repealed, 1,600 innocent people who otherwise would have been dead at the hands of drug criminals would be alive? (197). Instead of drug addicts shoplifting, mugging, breaking into homes, and stealing from others to pay outrageous prices for marijuana from dealers. They could support their habit by simply holding an honest, decent paying job. From the book Drugs, Teens, and Recovery Bobby who was a freshmen in high school knows what it is like to have to steal to support his drug habit. He says, ?For drug money, I stole a lot. I didn?t take much from my own parents, but when I?d sleep over at another kid?s house, I?d get into his parent?s bedroom and see what I could take. I can?t express the torment I was feeling? (12). Another teen, Prudencia, describes how she got money for drugs, ?I stole a lot, [SIC] I?d steal cars, steal stuff from stores, break into houses, whatever I had to do to get money for drugs? (24-25).
According to Richard Dennis, the chairperson of the advisory board of the Drug Policy Foundation in Washington, DC, legalizing marijuana would have a very positive effect on the public. In Chemical Dependency, he reports: ?Once the drug war is considered in rational terms, the solution becomes obvious: Declare peace. Legalize the stuff? (133). Those who want marijuana legalized feel that they are not endorsing drug use, but instead, are recognizing the rights of Americans to make their own choices, which is very important to the future of America.
I believe that marijuana usage should be legal. I feel that if marijuana was legal the people who needs it for medical purposes can get it. I also believe that it would make the streets a little bit safer. We would not have to worry about crimes over drugs. Legalizing marijuana would also put the drug dealers out of business so that means they would have to get a job.