Shall We Legalize Marijuana?

December 28, 2010
By Matt0 BRONZE, Sterling Heights, Michigan
Matt0 BRONZE, Sterling Heights, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In the past years, the legalization of marijuana has been a hot subject across the United States. Already fifteen states have passed laws allowing medical marijuana, California being the first in 1996. If marijuana is already available for medical use, why not legalize it for recreational use?
Some sources, such as the Above the Influence campaign (paid for by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a White House operation) suggests that people with a heavy use of marijuana before the age of 18 can be at a much higher risk for depression or other mental diseases. This could be due to the ingredient in marijuana that gives the euphoric feeling, THC, is pleasuring the undeveloped brain, using the cannabinoid receptors in the body. When the person grows older and the brain is matured, it will have a psychological dependency for THC; if deprived, it will cause the person to feel depressed.
However, if marijuana is legalized for people over the age of 21 for recreational use, depression should not be a problem, with the brain and receptors finishing maturation in the mid-early 20's.
Some sources also report that marijuana habitually used can cause a loss in brain cells and lung damage. However, there has been no legitimate study documented showing that the loss or death of brain cells is inevitable from using marijuana. In fact, a new study for medical marijuana has shown that THC can slow the rate of cells killed by cancer and other diseases, as well as spur the growth of new functioning brain cells.
As for lung damage, yes, it is possible. Marijuana does contain carcinogens and other chemicals that can cause asthma or other breathing problems. Yet, tobacco, a legal substance around the world, contains similar carcinogens and irritants, as well as harmful chemicals and tars that are not contained in cannabis, but can cause much more damage to the body, not just the respiratory system. Having tobacco cigarettes sold in every state and many countries around the globe, but punishing people for the possession of marijuana with up to 2 years in prison and a $2,000 fine (The sentence is long/more expensive if the person intended to sell/grow the marijuana) does not make sense, when there are an estimated 443,000 deaths a year from tobacco use, or secondhand smoke from tobacco, but not one documented death directly from cannabis use.
There are arguments in any source of media on whether or not marijuana is dangerous, and if it should be legalized. If many sourced tests and experiments have proved that marijuana can not do much long term damage to adult users, or at least less permanent damage than that caused by the adults' use of tobacco, it would only make sense to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults ages 21 and older. True, some short term effects of marijuana use can be euphoria, impaired vision and judgement, and even short-term memory loss. What some may not realize is that those side effects are common with many drugs prescribed to people for many different problems, one medicine being Lithium, a common anti-depressant. Even alcohol can cause these symptoms, as well as worse ones, such as liver damage and brain damage, and yet, alcohol is legal for people over 21 as well. Marijuana also has medical benefits, such as the proven slowing of cancerous cells in tumors, as well as slowing or even stopping fits and muscle spasms caused by multiple-sclerosis, which are a few of the many reasons why marijuana is being approved for medical use today.
If the United Sates legalized recreational marijuana use, and controlled it just as it controls tobacco and alcohol, I believe we would see a decrease in the use of both tobacco and alcohol, even reducing deaths caused by lung cancer and other diseases caused by cigarettes as well as deaths caused by drunk drivers and alcohol poisoning. If marijuana is the least harmful of the three drugs, shall we legalize it?

The author's comments:
Being a high school student, drug use is unavoidable. I believe learning about the subject rather than avoiding it can help make my opinion a justified one.

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This article has 5 comments.

on Mar. 1 2011 at 5:53 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Firstly, you misspelled the last "you're." Secondly, I do not have an uneducated opinion. My mother (rather, my aunt) is a high school health teacher. I am the lucky one who gets the speeches about the dangers of smoking, alcohol, and marijuana. And personal experience is very helpful. So I do believe it's not your place to say what is and isn't helpful to me forming my own individual opinion. Lastly, I realize there are decades of studies. And I agree, marijuana doesn't cause thousands of car accidents and deaths each year as alcohol does. It doesn't get millions and millions addicted to it as tobacco does (although it does get a lot). So basically you're saying that your line of logic is: Since there are other worse things legal, something that is illegal for a reason should be made legal? I am actually, honestly, befuddled. I seriously do not get it! I'm not joking: I'd like someone to explain it to me.... Is it that you are a pothead and want it to be easier for you to get your stash? Or are you a doctor who believes it has great medicinal uses... ? Which, in some cases, it does. Do tell.

on Feb. 28 2011 at 11:38 pm
G.J.Dillon GOLD, Henderson, Nevada
11 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Buy the ticket, take the Ride"-Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

So you're going to forego decades of published scientific evidence, some of which funded by our government, which shows without a doubt alcohol and tobacco are far worse than marijuana, a relatively benign drug according to the LaGuardia Commision, the Shafer Commission and dozens of other studies, and your going to go with an uneducated opinion and a personal experience? Smart.

on Jan. 13 2011 at 7:39 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Wow! Someone's got an attitude! Marijuana is horrible for your health... I should think that much is obvious. I don't care what they say about alchohol and cigarettes... Marijuana is just as bad as those two. Anyone who has taken health - even 6th grade health - knows that. Also, my friend's older brother smokes marijuana, and my friend does not like to spend time with him anymore because of it. So, not only is it bad for your health, but it is also bad for your relationships.

on Jan. 13 2011 at 6:37 pm
earthy_kat GOLD, Sebree, Kentucky
17 articles 1 photo 34 comments

Favorite Quote:
"My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today." - Hazel from the book Watership Down (by Richard Adams).

And what is that reason?

on Jan. 12 2011 at 11:57 am
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

No. Just... No. You know deep in your heart that marijuana is illegal for a reason. 

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