In America today, marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug. The name marijuana is a Mexican slang word, which became popular in the 1930’s, which refers to the medicinal parts of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture that is created through drying the leaves and flowering tops of the cannabis plant. Some of the more popular street names are weed, pot, herb, grass, Mary Jane, boom, gangster, and chronic.
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 criminal offence in 1937 when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. Even with this new law, people continued to use the drug. Legalization or decriminalization of marijuana is opposed by a vast majority of American’s and people around the world.
Leaders in marijuana prevention, education, treatment and law enforcement adamantly oppose the substance, as do many political leaders. However, pro-drug advocacy group, who support the permissive use of illicit drugs, although small in number, are making headlines. They are influencing legislation and having a significant impact on the national policy debate in the United States and in other countries. The national organization for the reform of marijuana law (NORMAL) is the oldest drug user lobby in the United States.
It has strong ties to the libertarian party, the drug policy foundation, and the American civil liberties union these group use a variety of strategies, which range from outright legalization to de facto legalization under the guise of “medicalization,” “harm reduction,” crime reduction, harm marijuana for the environment, free needle distribution to addicts , and controlled legalization through taxation. However, drugs like marijuana are addicting and should not be legalized. Marijuana should not be legalized because it causes overwhelming damage to the society as a whole.
As Bennett says, “drug use- especially heavy drugs use-destroy human character. It destroys dignity and autonomy, it burns away the sense of responsibility, it subverts productivity, it makes a mockery of virtue” (husak 663). People throughout the nation have witnessed law changes regarding the possession of marijuana to its physical and social effects on society. Marijuana should not be legalized for the following reasons namely for the physical and social aspects of its use. Since the late 1970s different states have been changing laws of decriminalization of marijuana.
Many states did not decriminalize and often dropped charges for possessing small amounts of marijuana. President Carter even recommended decriminalization of possession marijuana in an attempt to spread his thoughts on how laws provide the worse consequences than the effects of the drugs itself. However, in the early 1980s various states outlawed decriminalization despite marijuana activists having tried to not criminalize the use and possession of marijuana. Research has shown various physical effects of marijuana on the body. Marijuana is considered to relieve pain, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
But, its use does impair memory and cause depression. There are also many social effects or marijuana. Some of the social problems of not prohibiting the drug are that its use decreases productivity and cause uncontrollable aggression. Most importantly, marijuana has a large impact on motivation and is easily attainable. People can easily cross state borders and manage to bring marijuana back to their state of residence. All of the legal, physical and social aspects of not legalization marijuana can affect the society in a big manner based on moral grounds.
The legal aspects or laws associated with the use and possession of marijuana is very controversial but not legalizing this drug holds good position on moral grounds. Some people view punishment as inappropriate and legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message to the public. On the other hand, many people prefer to maintain the status of decreasing the harm in society in an attempt to create a drug free America. Before the 1900s, marijuana was legal in the United States. In the early 1900s, city and state regulations developed far before federal laws developed against this drug.
Texas was one of the first states to prohibit the drug by 1919 and about thirty other states outlawed the use of marijuana by 1939. By 1940, every state had outlawed the drug and it possession would prove to have identical penalties to the of heroin possession. By 1978 at least ten states decriminalized possession of marijuana and this sent a wrong message to the public. The drug enforcement administration (DEA) in the early’s 1980s developed marijuana eradication programs. However, there was still a lot of exposure of marijuana to minors.
In a favoring of marijuana, many people believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to other more dangerous drugs. It’s true that most people who do hard drugs didn’t immediately start out snorting cocaine or shooting heroin, but smoking pot every now and then doesn’t condemn you to be some cracked out heroin feign. As it stands right now only a small portion of sense smokers go on to harder drugs and I’m sure that number will go down if marijuana is legalized. If kids could run down to the gas station and pick up some weed their interest in other drugs would be diminished.
The only way that pot could be considered a gateway drug is if it is sold alongside hard drugs. True some pot dealers sell harder stuff but legalizing marijuana completely negates that argument. If marijuana were legal there would be no need for side street dealers who might have hard drugs on them, it could be sold in any convenience store across the country. The problem is legal highs aren’t readily available, the closest you can get is with cigarettes which not only taste disgusting but are extremely deleterious to your health and the health of others.
Implying that smoking weed always leads to harder drugs is like saying that anyone who has ever stolen something will go on to armed piracy of oil tankers. The Somalians that hijacked those tankers probably did steal in their youth but that doesn’t mean everyone who steals will end up like them. Marijuana as a gateway drug is a false implication and cannot be used in a serious discussion about legalizing marijuana. Many people also insinuate that marijuana leads people to a life of crime.
The only way to test this theory is to study the results when pot is legal. Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal, has a lower crime rate than any major U. S. city. I think that soundly disproves that theory and clearly shows that smoking marijuana is not a gateway to anything illegal. The argument is that the over whelming majority of the harm done to society by the consumption of currently illicit drugs is caused not by their pharmacological properties but by their prohibition and the resultant criminal activity that prohibitions always calls in to being.
Simple reflection tells us that a supply invariably grows up to meet a demand, and when the demand is wide spread, suppression is useless. Indeed, it is harmful, since- by raising the price of the commodity in question it raises the profits of middlemen, which gives them an even more powerful incentive to stimulate demand further. The vast profits to be made from cocaine and heroin, which, were it not for their illegality would be cheap and easily affordable even by the poorest in affluent societies, exert a deeply corrupting effect on producer, distributor, consumer and law enforces alike.
Besides, it is well known the illegality in itself an attraction for youth already inclined to disaffection . According to some legal moralists, marijuana should be outlawed because they are destructive to a person’s physical, emotion and moral strength. Legal moralists even say that a change in drug policies because it sends a wrong message to people. Marijuana had been banned throughout the country of the U. S in the year of 1937. Then it was decriminalized in the year of 1972 as it become popular among young adults.
And later, it possession meant imprisonment penalties, and eventually its users committed felonies. Dependence on or Abuse of Specific Illicit Drugs in the Past Year among Persons Aged 12 or Older: 2008 Now if we look at marijuana’s physical aspect of illegalizing the drug it would be interesting to understand what it’s made up of and how it affects our bodies. It consists of 400 different types of chemical substances. One of the most abundant chemical substances that are found in marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in short. THC has the most psychoactive effects on its users.
Experiments have shown that THC receptors modulate appetite and relieve pain but they also impair memory and affect the control and movement over the body. Most importantly, it reduces body temperature. About 30% of THC flows to the bloodstream and it eventually enters the brain and it activates the release of dopamine. The more dopamine that is released the more the body gets used to it, causing the person to get addicted. Early effects of marijuana include feeling “high” or mild euphoria, laughter, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, and phobia of becoming mentally ill.
When smoked marijuana, the heart rate increases by 50 % causing blood pressure to rise dramatically. Marijuana also damages the supply of eggs in the ovaries which may lead to miscarriage. On the other hand, some of the medical uses of the drug are that it helps patients with AIDS; helps reduce pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite etc. Marijuana also helps patients suffering from glaucoma reduce pressure on eyes, alleviate pain, and slow down the progress of the disease. Cancer patients are relieved of pain from chemotherapy treatment and patients with epilepsy are helped to prevent seizures temporarily by using this drug.
However, there are more negative things aspects about using marijuana that makes this drug a top priority for illegalization. Even thinking of quitting or trying to quit this drug after one has been “hooked” on it is very hard and it makes the situation even worse. The withdrawal symptoms of marijuana cause severe irritability, restlessness, nervousness, difficulty in sleeping, nausea, and craving for more of the drug which eventually causes depression. Addiction to this drug affects personal development, cognitive, and behavioral processes severely.
The social aspects of not legalizing marijuana are mostly associated with the behavioral changes in a person. Consumption of marijuana has the effect of reducing men’s freedom by circumscribing the range of their interests. It impairs their ability to pursue more important human aims, such as, raising family and fulfilling civic obligations. Very often it impairs their ability to pursue gainful employment and promotes parasitism. Moreover, far from being expanders of consciousness most drugs severely limit it.
One of the most striking characteristics of drug takers is their intense and tedious self absorption; and their journeys into inner space are generally forays into inner vacuums’. Drug taking is a lazy man’s of pursuing happiness and wisdom, and the short cut turns out to be the deadest of dead ends. We lose remarkably little by not being permitted to take drugs. In any case, there are reasons to doubt whether the crime rate would fall quite a dramatically as advocates of legalization have suggested. Amsterdam, where access to drugs is relatively unproblematic, is among the most violent and squalid cities in Europe.
The idea behind crime of getting rich, or at least richer, quickly and without much effort-is unlikely to disappear once drugs are freely available to all who want them. And it may be that officially sanctioned antisocial behavior- the officials lifting of taboos-breeds yet more antisocial behavior, as the ‘broken windows” theory would suggest. Legalizing pot would lead to an increase in consumption. According the NIDA (national institute on drug abuse), long term marijuana use can be addicting to people. Research shows that marijuana mokers had problems regarding their studies in school, which affected their skills of memory and concentration. Institute cited research show that marijuana is less addicting but the use of this drug makes people try more addicting drugs like cocaine and alcohol. If laws were softened on marijuana use people will start consuming more thinking that is legal and lots of people already think that pot is harmless so they would frequently smoke it. Marijuana has the potential to promote cancer of the lungs and other parts of the respiratory tract because it contains irritants and carcinogens.
In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. It also produces high levels of an enzyme that converts certain hydrocarbons into their carcinogenic form, levels that may accelerate the changes that ultimately produce malignant cells. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke For the proposed legalization of drugs to have its much-vaunted beneficial effect on the rate of criminality, such as drugs would have to both cheap and readily available.
The legalization assumes that there is a natural limit to demand for these drug, and that if their consumption were legalized, the demand would not increase substantially. Those psychologically unstable persons currently taking drugs would continue to do so, with the necessity to commit crimes removed, while psychologically stable people would not be enticed to take drugs by their new legal status and cheapness. But price availability exerts a profound effect on consumption; the cheaper alcohol becomes, for example, the more of it is consumed, at least within quite wide limits.
Percentages of Persons Aged 12 to 25 Reporting Past Month Marijuana Use, by Age: 2000 Drug legalization will not only lead to a bad immoral society, but it will also lead to a society of people who are addicted to drugs and therefore will be responsible for the downfall of society. The present situation is bad, undoubtedly, but few are the situations so bad they cannot be made worse by a wrong policy decision. Therefore, we must acknowledge the fact that drugs are not legalized or else we would create an environment where even God would not enter.
Legalization of marijuana may seem to be harmless but it has many more negative effects on people and society. There are already treatment for diseases like cancer and epilepsy so why do we have to use marijuana to treat these diseases? Marijuana is already harmful and it just eases pain it does not cure it. The argument that those people who are in extreme pain, such as those going through chemotherapy, have AIDS or any other kind of disease, should be allowed to have a prescription to use marijuana.
While it is awful that these patients must suffer without the healing power of marijuana, there are other drugs that they can use to help ease their pain. Marijuana is not the only answer. There are so May alternative drugs like painkillers that can ease up pain too. So there should be not be legalized. More people are affected by consuming pot that they are benefited. This drug is not that addicting but it sure does lead to using stronger drugs that eventually kill someone. There are so many different ways that patients can be treated without using marijuana so marijuana should not be legalized for medical use.
Legalizing this drug for medical use will lead to increase in consumption throughout the country even when it is not needed for recreational use. This would worsen the country’s situation even more. The country would lose billions of dollars from not selling the drug but that’s about it. We will be safer without the legalization of marijuana. In conclusion, Laws should be put in place to illegalize marijuana and laws that have already been considered towards legalization of the drug should be eradicated.
The use of marijuana causes severe physical damage leading to problems with bodily motion, mental illness, and depression. Also, various social aspects that this drug has affect on causes behavioral changes in people. Its addiction causes people to withdraw from their range of daily life interests and get involved in criminal activities such as robberies, hit and runs, etc. Appropriate measures should be undertaken by the government to avoid various legal, physical and social effects of legalizing marijuana on society.
Reducing marijuana use is essential to improving the nation’s health, education, and productivity. New policies can greatly improve current performance of prevention strategies which, far from failing, has protected millions of people from the many adverse effects of marijuana use. For a better and brighter future of this generation and our upcoming generations, necessary actions must be taken and they should be taken now. Each and every citizen should start by doing his or her part by voting and together we can help in reshaping this society by illegalizing the use of marijuana.
Husak, Douglas. “Drugs and Rights.” Published by Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. New York, 1992. Kerlikowske, R.G. Why marijuana legalization would compromise public health and public safety. California Police Chiefs Association Conference. San Jose, CA, 2010. Rudolph, Joseph Gerber. Legalizing Marijuana:Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004
Sabet, K.A. The price of legalizing pot is too high. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 9, 2010 United States. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. Washington, DC, 2012. White, Deborah. “Pros & Cons of Legalizing Marijuana”. About.com, a part of The New York Times Company.
http://usliberals.about.com/od/patriotactcivilrights/i/MarijuanaProCon_2.htm http://www.samhsa.gov/data/2k2/MJ&dependence/MJ&dependence.htm http://www.inspirationsyouth.com/Teen-Addiction-Statistics.asp http://voices.yahoo.com/why-marijuana-legalized-united-states-567886.html?cat=71
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