Marijuana: Why it Should Be Legal

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Weed, pot, dope, blaze, astro turf, bud, Marijuana, these are only a few of the street names given to the plant Cannabis. “The history of cannabis use goes back as far as 12,000 years, which places the plant among humanity’s oldest cultivated crops, according to information in the book ‘Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years’ (Blaszczak-Boxe). Traditionally, cannabis was for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Medicinally it was used to alleviate pain from toothaches and childbirth. Later on, the plant was used in the production of everyday items such as oil, cloth and fuel. By 1910, cannabis had found its way into the United States following the Mexican immigrants fleeing from the Mexican Revolution (Blaszczak-Boxe). Due to prejudices against Mexican immigrants, they were frequently accused of smoking marijuana, property crimes and more. The drug was first outlawed in Utah in 1915 and other states followed suit. Finally, “in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act put cannabis under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Agency, criminalizing possession of the plant throughout the country” (Blaszczak-Boxe). Now, one hundred years later, Marijuana activists begin pushing for its legalization. This movement has sparked major controversy among voters. On the one side, the conservatives who wish for the drug to remain illegal; on the other, the activists pushing for its legalization. Among the conservatives is George Wright and Heather Newton. Newton and Wright believe “The legalization of marijuana would have no benefits. To the contrary, doing so would simply add to the list of readily accessible and potentially addictive substances that can lead to irresponsible behavior and poor health.”. Their following argument, while a good one, is wrong.

According to Newton and Wright, “drug use can also wreak havoc on an individual’s ability to experience all of the facets of life-from facing and overcoming challenges to enjoying times of great joy to relishing in simple pleasures” and “there are no advantages to the use of intoxicants such as marijuana”. Falsehood, marijuana, when used medicinally, is what some might call a wonder drug. Marijuana with a low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) value, the chemical that causes the high, and a high CBD (cannabidiol) is used in amazing ways. CBD relieves insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, chronic pain and can even treat potentially life-threatening conditions like epilepsy. “One particular form of childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome is almost impossible to control, but responds dramatically to a CBD-dominant strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web” (Grinspoon). Marijuana is most commonly used as a pain killer for those with chronic pain. Research has shown it to be a much safer alternative to opiates as it is impossible to overdose on and is far less addicting. Patients using marijuana claim that it allows them to go about their day to day lives without feeling completely out of it and disengaged. “A highly promising area of research is its use for PTSD in veterans who are returning from combat zones.” (Grinspoon). Many therapists have reported drastic improvements in their veteran patients when using medicinal marijuana. So, to say the use of marijuana is entirely unbeneficial ignores scientific research and the data it contains which is ignorant and arrogant. It’s just bad science.

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Newton and Wright suggest that marijuana distorts perceptions and cause a false sense of “pleasure or satisfaction that can become addictive”. Basically they are saying that the use of weed can become an abusive relationship. While true, they forget that any substance can be abused. Alcohol is abused daily with people drinking for the sake of being drunk. “Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year, which makes alcohol the fourth leading preventable cause of the death in the US” (Robinson). Alcoholism is considered an addiction: if not treated it will cause liver failure, strokes, heart attacks and death. I personally have had family members affected by alcoholism, one of whom had died of liver failure. In comparison, sugar, the simple ingredient to all your sweet tooth cravings, is also highly addictive. Many studies have compared the addictiveness of sugar to crack cocaine and heroin. Overconsumption of sugar can “cause your liver to become resistant to insulin, an important hormone that helps turn sugar in your bloodstream into energy. This means your body isn’t able to control your blood sugar levels as well, which can lead to type 2 diabetes” (Hughes). Sugar can also lead to obesity which, if action is not taken, can kill you. This point all comes down to regulating how much you consume. It is ok to eat sugary foods, it’s ok to have a drink with friends and, if legalized, its ok to have a pot brownie or a blunt to relax after a stressful day of work. Moderation is why not everyone is an alcoholic or a sugar addict.

“Marijuana is a substance that, when routinely consumed, can lead to addictive behaviors that cause users to miss work, lose jobs, and neglect their families”. Now this is just a matter of responsibility. Try as we might, no one can stop people from doing stupid things. It’s in a human’s nature to do stupid things, like driving drunk. The message “don’t drink and drive” has been drilled into the minds of people routinely from a young age. Yet, even after being taught how dangerous and illegal it is, people are still dying from alcohol related causes. That’s more of a personal fault than anything else. If a McDonald’s employee wants to get high before their shift and potentially get fired, that’s their problem, their fault. You can’t blame a drug for that. Just like the entire Muslim religion can not be blamed for the actions of a few extremists. It was a choice and a risk those individuals choose to make. Albeit a stupid one.

“The apparent failure of efforts to stamp out drug use is by no means an argument in favor of legalizing it, any more than the failure to stamp out other crimes… This is because there are simply no benefits from legalizing the drug” (Wright). These authors are, again, ignoring the research that has been conducted and its results. Case in point, Colorado’s 2.4 billion dollar marijuana industry created over eighteen thousand full-time jobs in 2015 and generated nearly one billion dollars in retail sales (Ingraham). The industry has been growing rapidly since then with increasing demand. “The Marijuana Policy Group estimates that the majority of growth in the legal marijuana industry is not coming from new, previously untapped demand for cannabis, but rather from a reduction of the unregulated black market” (Ingraham) which is great news for law enforcement. With more and more people turning to the regulated market and away from black market suppliers, the illegal trafficking of the drug should slow immensely and eventually, hopefully come to a grinding halt. Without having to worry about black market dealers, law enforcement can spend taxpayer dollars elsewhere; like on updated technology and hiring more officers. Ingraham says that “On the tax side of the ledger, the report finds that marijuana is already pulling in tax revenue at three times the rate of the alcohol industry”; marijuana taxes have brought in nearly 121 million dollars or revenue to the state. These taxes can be used to improve the education system (which is botched), make new jobs, build shelters for the homeless, increase nature conservation efforts, and more.

Legalizing marijuana can do a lot of good for our nation. Not only will it create jobs and add new tax revenue, it will also decrease demand for black market suppliers, almost eliminating that part of the criminal underworld from the U.S. Like any controlled substance, it will have its downsides but, with discipline and proper education, a better future can be made for the United States of America, all by the use of an amazing plant.

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Marijuana: Why it Should Be Legal. (2021, Nov 06). Retrieved from

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