Marijuana Legalization

Over the last fews years marijuana has been widely debated. With states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska legalizing the recreational use, more states are opening up to the idea. What the big misconception regarding the legalization of marijuana is that all its supporters smoke marijuana and are a bunch of stoner’s and hippy’s, but theres a number of people who do not smoke marijuana and are pro-legalization. They believe it is their right to chose whether they smoke or not smoke, not the decision of elected officials. Some people find medical marijuana extremely beneficial and less harmful than other prescription drugs, but some state’s strict medical laws does not provide patients with a prescription. Then there are those who smoke marijuana because they enjoy its recreations uses. Whether it’s used to compliment a movie or book, or to unwind after a long day.

Marijuana is not the only drug that has been banned from this country before. Alcohol prohibition started in 1920 and was lifted in 1933. During this time alcohol was not impossible to get. People still drank alcohol, but it wasn’t regulated. They didn’t know what they were drinking, similar to how marijuana is now. “Was it really Scotch, or was it industrial alcohol with caramel coloring added for “aging” and iodine for that smoky sea salt taste?” People would go to speakeasies and drink alcohol that was made in a bathtub. It was really disgusting what people were drinking to get drunk. Since alcohol was illegal and people needed to get drunk, there was a market to fill, money was to be made, so the mob stepped in and started bootlegging. There was so much business it quickly became a problem. Today we have Mexican Cartels, dangerous groups of people who are smuggling drugs into this country by means of violence. Legalizing marijuana will play a huge role in stopping the Cartel, and has. “In 2012, a study by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute found that US state legalization would cut into cartel business and take over about 30 percent of their market.” Sinaloa farmers have stopped planting because the profit margin is so low compared to what is was before legalization in Colorado and Washington. Legalizing marijuana would also provide tax revenue, this would help the country out tremendously. In Colorado,” total revenue from marijuana taxes, licenses and fees topped 7 million dollars in June, and is likely to keep rising as more retail outlets enter the market.” Tax revenue is one of the reasons that brought us out of alcohol prohibition.

It has been said that marijuana is addicting and causes dependency. Marijuana does not have any physical addictive properties other than people liking it and its uses. Sure you can abuse marijuana and smoke it all day and not do anything, you can say the same thing about alcohol and a bunch of different things, dangerous and non dangerous. People drink coffee everyday, but no one seems to be worried about America’s caffeine addiction. People are addicted to donut’s and sugar, but that’s okay because caffeine and sugar is a safe drug. I’m not saying that stopping obesity is not on the agenda, but it sure gets a whole lot less attention than the “War on Drugs”.

Saying that marijuana is addictive implies that there is some type of withdrawal. People who drink alcohol in excess have a physical dependence for it. It is dangerous to go from being a heavy alcoholic to quitting cold turkey. The only problem going from a heavy marijuana user to not using it at all, is you’re going to have a lot more time on your hands, you might not know what to do with yourself.

Legalizing marijuana would give patients alternative options of treatment for a number of diseases and medical issues. People who have cancer and are going through chemotherapy experience nausea and loss of appetite. Marijuana has been proven to stimulate appetite and help with nausea. Having cancer and going through chemotherapy is an awful experience. If marijuana helps someone feel better, or helps keep food down, who are we to take that away from people. Patients in states like Texas who do not have medical marijuana, are prohibited from such practices of medicine. Some states have legalized medical marijuana, but they laws are so strict that it only applies to people who are terminally ill and suffer from more sever diseases.

medical-marijuana

Steven suffers from fibromyalgia, Hepatitis C, degenerative spinal disease, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and arthritis. The medication he is prescribed has adverse affects. Some of his medications he takes puts him at risk for liver failure. He can not sleep at night, has constant paint, and muscle spasms. He’s used marijuana before to treat his diseases, and it has been a really big help to him. He can take less pain medication and can manage his pain better. 

One Missouri College Student uses marijuana to cope with his mental illness and high anxiety. Smoking marijuana significantly helps lower his anxiety. Marijuana helps get him through his day without having to take dangerous addictive perscription medications.

Justin is a 22 year old man who suffers from severe stomach pains and is waken up early in the morning by his stomach pains and runs to the bathroom every 20 minutes. His stomach lining is deteriorating and causes all his problems. He was been hospitalized twice for severe episodes.” I didn’t have health insurance at the time, so hospital bills are piling up, and there is no prescription medication that effectively treats the disorder, which my doctors believe is Crohn’s Disease. I’ve even taken drugs that are given to cancer patients to treat the effects of chemotherapy, but they have not worked.” The first time he smoked marijuana, his symptoms instantly vanished. He was able to enjoy food and sleep comfortably, not bothered with severe stomach pains.

These are just a few of the many medical stories, where marijuana helped ease their pain. I just don’t see anything wrong with a “drug” that has been helping people when nothing else was working. You would think that marijuana helping people and generating tax revenue would lead to the widespread legalization of marijuana, so what is the problem?

People believe that if you legalize marijuana there will be an increase of motor vehicle accidents. Obviously if you take any kind of drug that impairs you, you should not operate a car. There are plenty of legal drugs and medications that you are not supposed to drive while on them, why is marijuana different. Marijuana being illegal is not going to stop people from driving high. People are going to do it either way, just like people drive drunk. If we’re worried about motor accidents, alcohol should be illegal. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,322 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year.” This is outrageous, if anti-marijuana advocates want to prevent drug related car accidents, they should put their attention on making alcohol illegal, but that will never happen again.

People deciding to drive high should not be a reason for it to be illegal for everyone. Driving high is a choice, a bad one, the individual makes that call. There are people who make bad decisions, like smoking marijuana and driving a car, and then there are people who smoke marijuana responsibly. People will abuse anything and get in trouble, people who are smart and chose not to abuse something, should not be punished for other people’s mistakes.

One of the most important reasons I am for the legalization of marijuana is because petty marijuana charges are ruining lives of good kids. Lets start off ripping apart the war on drugs. The amount of money spent annually on the war on drugs is more than 51 billions dollars. That nine zeros… Why are we spending so much money on a war that can’t be won. People are going to do drugs whether it is legal or not, there is nothing stopping people. Let’s say your at a party and someone offers you marijuana, no one is going to shoot back, “No thank you, I don’t want to get arrested.” They might say that they don’t smoke, or they are not comfortable with it. I’m not saying that you’re not going to get arrested if you smoke marijuana. Now if you decide to get into a car and smoke marijuana with the same group of friends, the likelihood of being arrested is extremely higher. People who are get arrested for marijuana usually don’t get busted in a house. Unless they’re selling it out of that house. People arrested for possession are smoking it in public places; and a lot of these kids are getting pulled over late at night, and the police officer tries to intimidate you into consenting to a vehicle search. A lot of the times kids don’t know there rights, they don’t know you can say no to a police officer. For the lack of their constitutional knowledge, they are going to jail for a little bit of weed.

 

Your average recreational smoker, might be someone who might be pursuing an education, has ambition and is an overall good person. These are not the people who should have their record tarnished and hurt their future employment. One might argue that they shouldn’t be smoking marijuana in the first place. One independent study by a college student surveyed students asking them if they smoked marijuana. About 70% of them said yes. So do you really think that 70% of those college students are bad kids and shouldn’t be smoking marijuana because they might…. get arrested. No. The fact is kids are stupid and sometimes make bad decisions, we all make bad decisions sometimes, were human, they shouldn’t haunt us for the rest of our lives and prevent us from success.

To conclude, marijuana is a positive and beneficial “drug” that does more good than harm. It’s time we stop being so political and start doing what is obviously the right decision and legalize marijuana and save billions of dollars a year, and generate trillions in tax revenue.

Bibliography

“Drug War Statistics.” Drug Policy Alliance. N.p., 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

“Drunk Driving Fatalities – National Statistics.” Century Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

Ingraham, Christophher. “Colorado Marijuana Tax Revenues Surge as Recreational Sales Surpass Medical.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

“Medical Testimonials.” ShowMe Cannabis. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

O’Connor, James, and Zach Raymond. “Up In Smoke: 71% of College Students Have Smoked Marijuana.” Connecting Art. N.p., 24 July 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

O’Hara, Marry Emily. “Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels | VICE News.” VICE News RSS. N.p., 8 May 20114. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

Peck, Garrett. “For Marijuana Legalization, Lessons From Prohibition.” The New York Times. N.p., 22 May 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

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