Legalizing Marijuana has been a very controversial topic for many years. It is the most frequently used illegal drug in the U.S. Nearly 69 million Americans over the age of 12 have admitted to trying marijuana at least once. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, at Columbia University, found that adolescents who have smoked pot are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than non-pot smokers. They also found that 60 percent of teens who do use marijuana before their 15, later go on to use cocaine. If we were to legalize marijuana, it would let a lot more kids use it and then more than half of those kids would most likely go on to using cocaine. Not only is marijuana known as the gateway drug, which can lead to many other drugs that has more serious effects on a person. I think Marijuana should stay illegal because it can be extremely addictive for some people, and it’s terrible for your mental and physical health.
Marijuana should not be legal because of its addictive properties. People get confused because it’s not very addictive for many people. There is only a small portion of people who have the genetic potential for addiction, but this small portion of people isn't so small in a big country like America. “Of the 7.3 million people who are 12 or older, are classified with illicit drug dependence or abuse in 2012, 4.3 million people had marijuana dependence or abuse” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). According to Dr.Drew Pinsky, who has been working with addicts for decades, “When people are addicted to cannabis, cocaine and alcohol the drug they have the most difficult time giving up is the cannabis.” The difficult thing about marijuana addictions are that people who are addicted can do fine without the drug for many years before they start gaining tolerance for it and experiencing withdrawal, but eventually they start to want more and more and that’s when they slip into difficulties. If this many people are addicted when it is illegal, imagine how many people would be addicted if we legalized it. We would just making marijuana more available and then more people can develop this serious addiction.
Marijuana is said to have very serious impacts on your mental health. Even with a couple joints or with heavy use, you can be affected. Northwestern University had a study that showed casual marijuana use causes abnormal shape, volume, and density of the brain regions. Teenagers have more to lose when using marijuana because it can affect your brain's development. It can reduce thinking memory, learning functions, and can affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. These effects may last a long time or may even be permanent. The American Medical Association said “Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ, and use in associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood and psychotic thought disorders.” The younger the person starts using marijuana, the worse the effects become. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long term marijuana use has been also been linked to mental illnesses such as; hallucinations, paranoia, and worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. A study has shown how students who use marijuana have lower grades are are less likely to get into college than non smokers. They do not have the same ability to remember and organize information compared to those who do not smoke. We shouldn't give the opportunity to more students and people to use marijuana, when we know all of the things they could lose.
Marijuana has been found to have many effects on your physical health also. According to Researchers from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, who have compared marijuana smoke to tobacco smoke, have found that “Ammonia levels were 20 times higher in the marijuana smoke, and that hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen-related chemicals also were more prevalent in the marijuana smoke.” Regular users are hit with devastating lung problems as much as 20 years earlier than smokers. When someone smokes marijuana their heart rate speeds up and their blood pressure which is why a person's risk of heart attack during the first hour after smoking marijuana increases nearly five time his or her usual risk. Even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility and major birth defects if the mom smokes during pregnancy. I don’t think it would be a good idea to make this drug available with these dangerous risks that it has.
By keeping marijuana illegal, the U.S. government will prevent so many people from becoming addicted and so many teens from going into harder drugs. Even though you can claim that legalizing it will reduce crime, in Amsterdam it’s been found that crime is now centering around the coffeehouses where marijuana is sold. Crime doesn't compare to the many horrible effects marijuana can have on a person. Other than using marijuana for medical uses, it doesn't have any positive effects and wouldn’t make anyone's life better. Legalizing marijuana would only make it easier for many more people to go into dangerous and more addictive drugs, and give themselves serious health problems.