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Legalization of Marijuana Commentary This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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As of late it seems that drug policies and the war on drugs has made it into media headlines quite often. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the policies that the United States government has against illegal drugs are rising into question. Marijuana seems to be the most prevalent and pressed of the drugs and issues currently being addressed. The messages of these organizations and individuals include everything from legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, to full-unrestricted legalization of the drug. Marijuana is simply misunderstood. Many assume that the usage of marijuana, or cannabis, is dangerous, but it can be the exact opposite. Not only has there been no evidence that Marijuana is harmful to the human body, but one of the largest factors in legalizing the drug is that marijuana eases pain caused by many terrible diseases, and even assists in the cure of some illnesses. Marijuana has no plausible negative health effects, and provides several noted benefits to our society, so why is it still illegal?

Many will argue that Marijuana has negative effects on the human body, and that it should not be legal for that purpose. However, those people ignore the fact that even after tests and studies on the subject, no harmful effects have been discovered. Marijuana is a natural substance that provides a calm and relaxed atmosphere for its user. It has a similar influence to that of alcohol, in that it slows down your brain and central nervous system, however it does not as severely impair your sense of judgement. It simply relaxes the body and releases endorphins into the body causing the user to feel happy and soothed.

Another argument provided by opposers to the legalization is the “Gateway Effect”. The Gateway Effect implies that should we allow Marijuana to be legalized, that sooner or later, “harder” and more dangerous drugs will take its place, and we will be back to step one, with druggies demanding that we legalize another drug. Just because people smoke Marijuana doesn’t guarantee that they will move on to harder drugs. ) For example, most people who ride a motorcycle (a fairly rare activity) have ridden a bicycle (a fairly common activity). Definitely, the prevalence of motorcycle riding among people who have never ridden a bicycle is probably extremely low. However, bicycle riding does not cause motorcycle riding, and increases in the former will not lead automatically to increases in the latter. Nor will increases in marijuana use lead automatically to increases in the use of cocaine or heroin. In fact, most drug users do not begin their drug use with marijuana--they begin with alcohol and nicotine, usually when they are too young to do so legally. There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone on the basis of its particular physiological effect. Also, studies have shown that Marijuana has no addictive properties. This only reinforces the argument of the lack of negative effects of the drug. It is estimated that 32% of tobacco users will become addicted, 23% of heroin users, 17% of cocaine users, and 15% of alcohol users. Cocaine and heroin are more physically harmful and nicotine is much more addictive. It is much harder to quit smoking cigarettes than it is to quit smoking pot.

After showing the absence of harmful effects from the drug, we can proceed on to its benefits. One of the largest factors in legalizing the drug is that marijuana eases pain caused by AIDS, cancer and helps to cure glaucoma’s disease. Information from the National Cancer Institute, says that marijuana is good in blocking against nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite with chemotherapy patients. Marijuana can also ease muscle strain associated with multiple sclerosis. Exploration to date suggests that research into the medicinal uses of cannabis and cannabinoids has the potential to make exciting breakthroughs in the management of severe symptoms such as pain, spasm, bladder dysfunction and nausea and could sobring a dramatic improvement in quality of life for people with: Alzheimer's disease, Arthritis, Asthma, Brain injury, stroke, Nausea w/chemotherapy, Depression, mental illness, Eating disorders, Epilepsy, Spinal injuryy, Tourette's syndrome and many more. Not only does Marijuana provide a source of medical relief, but it doesn’t cause any physical harm either. "There are no deaths from cannabis use. Anywhere. You can't find one," said Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School. In 10,000 years of known use of cannabis, there's never been a single death attributed to marijuana. "Doctors and nurses have seen that for many patients, cannabis is more useful, less toxic, and less expensive than the conventional medicines prescribed for diverse syndromes and symptoms, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, migraine headaches, severe nausea and vomiting, convulsive disorders, the AIDS wasting syndrome, chronic pain, and many others."( Lester Grinspoon, MD)

Many people have a stereotypical image of marijuana being a bad, dirty drug, that will make you see delusional, but that is merely what children are told in health class to stay away from drugs, and that is what revolves around adults as well. Over 2000 people die yearly from the toxic effects of Aspirin, which is quite legal, and yet not a single being has died from the effects of marijuana and the substance has been banned. Why is this? Because there are gfroups of people out there pushing against it, and doing whatever they can to keep it illegal. Pharmaceutical industries have been afraid for years now, that the legalization of Marijuana will destroy their profits if used as medicine. The ability to grow the product at home if so desired would in their minds take away from their sales. Now they realize the benefits of having it legalized. Pharmaceutical companies think medical marijuana delivered as patented pills, oral sprays and in other forms could be a real cash cow. They think this benefit would more than offset any loss of revenues from people turning to roll-your-own solutions. The United States is one of those countries that can immensely benefit from the legalization of Marijuana use. In the States, Marijuana is the most widely used controlled substance, and since the drug is used so often, there is a large opportunity for revenue. Selling the drug and at the same time raising the economy of the country would be the perfect plan for the States to get out of the debt that surrounds them. The dealer of the drug would be closely monitored and would have a mandatory license; the government checking the crops for harmful fertilizers, that could make the customer ill. Quantity limits could be issued, and taxes on the drug would benefit the economy. Why let children be succumbed to more dangers of drug dealing? Let the professionals regulate the substance and keep the children of our communities safe.

Marijuana is a misunderstood drug. Many assume that the usage of marijuana, or cannabis, is dangerous, but it can be the exact opposite. So why is the legalization of marijuana in the United States such a problem for many people today? Considered to be a gateway drug and the reason for the downfall of our youth nowadays, marijuana has developed a negative reputation. Lester Grinspoon, a professor at Harvard University, states, “Few drugs in the United States have produced as much affective heat as marijuana, particularly during the last decade. The controversy essentially revolves around the question of how dangerous or safe the drug is." However, many people are persistent users and believe that this drug is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Despite its useful medical effects for relieving pain and nausea, marijuana is a psychedelic drug that will be looked down upon because of false claims about it. Because people tend to overlook the positive facts, cannabis has become illegal for all the wrong reasons. Marijuana is a harmless component in the structure of our society, and a beneificial element in our medical fields, and therefore should be decriminalized.



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