According to dictionary.com, marijuana is a green, gray, or brown mixture of dried, shredded leaves that come from the hemp plant called cannabis sativa. This drug is used as a psychoactive recreational drug and used for some medical ailments and also for spiritual and religious purposes. Throughout life, everyone is told that ‘Drugs are bad for you,’ time and time again, but as a kid, you don’t have an understanding or reasoning behind it, and you don’t ever question it. I remember being told this my entire life and till this very day. But as I got older, I realized that people would still use drugs even though it’s illegal. I could never understand why someone would go against the law and jeopardize their life just to use drugs? The drug that I am talking about is marijuana, and surprisingly it is all around us.
Marijuana has become a drug that’s even portrayed in today’s media. Mainstream media sources that people enjoy, such as music, movies, and TV shows, they don’t even bother to leave drugs out of these media. Now being a young adult and having my own personal experience with the drug and knowing its effects on others, I wonder why it’s not legal. Why is it that this drug has become illegal all over the world? The debate to legalize marijuana in the United States of America has been fought over nonstop since the existence of the drug and its effects. Marijuana has been tested and proven to provide a very positive impact on American society for many reasons. Some of these reasons are for America’s economy, health and even crime. According to The Nation.com, by Katrina Vanden Heuvel is the writer of this article and she is an activist ‘creating pathways of success on behalf of progressive causes.’ She writes how ‘Marijuana is indeed a gateway drug,’ we have seen this in the past three presidents of the united states from Clinton- ‘I didn’t inhale it’, Brush- ‘I was young and foolish’ to Obama- ‘teen years in the Choom Gang’ (Thenation.com)
The whole point is that these presidents inhaled frequently and they were elected leader of the United States. People have a misconception of marijuana, this is a natural drug that from the Cannabis plant used for medical or recreational purposes. Throughout history, we see how in 1920 the 18th amendment banned alcohol, and it took 13 years to realize how this was a failure. The information Katrina has provided is recent information that is a cross-reference to the year 1999 when the discrimination of marijuana and other drugs, and the use in public health. In 2010, we see how that state of California starts it legalize process for marijuana. Why has it taken other states so many years to also issue this, is it because other states have shown the way? Or because legalize of pot is something that is becoming more and more common. The problem is not making this legal or not because we see how people still consume it but rather a ‘law that regulates, control and tax’ (Thenation.com) which moderate this drug war on race, age, community, wealth statue etc.
The Stat website by Joe Kennedy III, U.S. Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district since 2013. He talks about how there is a marijuana shop that is opening up their doors for people to smoke in closed areas. In the past couple of years, 33 states have now legalized marijuana in some sort of form. Joe talks about how he is a little skeptical on legalizing this drug because he has seen the effect this has had on youth and many families that been torn apart due to the abuse of drugs. Throughout his research, he has interviewed many mental health advocates that express their concern to those who are prone to abuse access to marijuana. Marijuana-like many drugs can be addictive especially to young adults. He has also educated himself and interview parents that have a different perspective because they have kids with epilepsy and marijuana is used to calm their seizures, also a veteran that has trauma it eases.
The effect they have on minority and people of color, we have heard of many cases of where a group of teenagers is smoking for fun and the black kid gets arrested vs the white ones that committed the same impurity is only given a warning. Joe has been exposed to both perspective having legalized this law in a federal level is ‘badly broken’ it doesn’t benefit either party 100% ‘ elderly man suffering from cancer whom marijuana may help nor the young woman prone to substance use disorder whom it may harm'(Thenation.com).
Having this law shows the inconsistent and dysfunction there is in society. The federal government has relinquished their responsibility and authority in regulating marijuana. Joe states how he believes that the Federal government should take action before all state implements their own guidelines, this would make it harder to stabilize a general control in a Federal level. In 1970 marijuana has been a part of the CSA which is a schedule I drug which means that it has no medical use but however is a high potential for abuse they go hand and hand with ecstasy, heroin, and LSD.
The FDA has approved prescription that acquires from marijuana and other countries recognize it as a legitimate medical use and they have seen how the rate of nicotine and alcohol have lower within time. ‘We see it in our system of health care, where our country lags woefully behind in research needed to ensure that the use of marijuana — whether medical or recreational — meets the highest health and safety standards as outlined by the FDA. The Schedule I classification of marijuana makes clinical research difficult, if not impossible, to pursue on American soil. At least 15 American companies have fully moved their clinical trials to Israel, where research on marijuana is better supported'(Thenation.com)
Both of these websites use selective information, Katrina and Joe both exposed and elaborated on important point on this common topic, however, I feel both articles are very selective on the information they provided. I also see how they are both targeting two different audiences and that also plays a huge role. In the Stat article, Joe talks about how legalizing have a more negative effect than positive. He wants those who are reading it to know the consequences there are for those who consume this on a regular occasion. Katerina, however, talks a different approach she justifies that if other countries and states have done it there can’t be anything that bad about it. She goes on saying that the consumers don’t harm anyone because it’s a drug that people use to do recreational activities.
There haven’t been any studies that show how marijuana can affect someone to injure someone else. So she emphasizes that if there are other places that have passed this law why can’t it just be federally legalized? She does make a good point that allowing each state to determine their own laws and regulation can bring long-term problems such as where can it be consumed, how much can a per carry and who is exposed to it. If the government just makes the ultimate decision many small things can be prevented and it would be the same nationwide. People won’t need to figure out what’s allowed when traveling state to states. In the article, I found elaborate on the short-term effects of marijuana use which are more predictable than the long-term effects. Some of the main problems are short-term memory which affects the ability to comprehend, organization and problem solving etc.
These effects can enlarge the more you consume the drug. However, some long-term effects are cancer the same causing chemicals found in tobacco are also found in smoking marijuana. The problem isn’t the marijuana itself but whatever you inhale affects the air passageways to your lungs which causes the long-term effect like cancer, breathing problems, coughing and wheezing. This are things that build up little by little so the ultimate illness is cancer but before that, you start getting bronchitis.
One of the main reasons why this drug isn’t still legalized is because its known as a gateway drug which means that once you expose yourself to it, there is a higher chance of you exploring other drugs. And like everything in life with the good also comes a bad, legalizing marijuana cause a different effect depending on the person, how much they consume, how pure it is and how much tetrahydrocannabinol it contains. THC is what determines whether or not the cannabis is strong or not. According to dictionary.com tetrahydrocannabinol is ‘a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis’. Some of the effects range from nothing to undergoing a relax or calm feeling. To conclude, marijuana should be liberalized at the federal level. There are so many evidence across the field that points that legalizing marijuana is a smart approach. Taking the road of legalization is just the beginning of decriminalization and the removal of marijuana from the control substance schedule.
Having this drug legalize or not isn’t going to stop the consumption of it, this is a gateway drug that people do for a recreational purpose. Major of society have their own perception on it, and what other option don’t phase what they do in their free time. So marijuana should be treated with the same rational approach and logical as any other drug that demonstrates health and safety risks which have some medical benefits. The scientific and medical community establishes terms and conditions based on the knowledge continuing their research on drug increase etc. Efforts to legalize marijuana as medicine in the United States have grown significantly in recent years. Approximately one-fourth of the states have passed legislation or ballot issues allowing marijuana to be prescribed within that state, though few have actually implemented these new policies. Marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under federal law – a classification indicating it has no currently accepted medical use in the United States.