A majority of Americans have been exposed to or heard of marijuana. Marijuana is a common drug among all age groups of Americans. It was once legal and still popular. The US government and citizens have now raised the question if this party drug that is know to relax the body and mind should be legalized in the United States (What are the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use par. 1). Marijuana is derived from the dried leaves of a hemp plant called cannabis sativa. Already legal for medicinal use in California and Arizona, many are trying to make marijuana available to all Americans of legal age. The debate on the legalization of marijuana has been going on for several years within the government. The reason why this issue has been so hard to resolve is that there is a multitude of arguments supporting both sides of the debate.
Money plays an important role in supporting the legalization of marijuana. Possession of marijuana as a criminal offense costs the taxpayers billions of dollars. This money goes into anti-drug advertisement and action plans, the enforcing of the law, and also all the money spent to keep all the marijuana drug offenders in the prison system (Libertarian Party 7). It could be better used for action against drugs that are more harmful than marijuana like crack cocaine, LSD, or heroin. These drugs pose a bigger health threat than marijuana (Libertarian Party 7).
Health issues are also an important aspect when arguing that marijuana should be legalized. There is never any guarantee as to the contents of the marijuana that is being bought off of drug dealers. Chances are that marijuana can contain many other various substances that are even worse for ones health (Libertarian Party 4). If the government were to have control of the production of marijuana, the need for drug dealers would be eliminated, and the product that the consumers are receiving would be more pure (What are the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use). The government control of marijuana would offer several other advantages.
The cost of marijuana would be much lower if the government controlled the sell of it. Usually drug dealers charge very high prices for marijuana to satisfy their own greed. If marijuana were legalized, users would be purchasing marijuana from the government. It would be easier for the government to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors and eliminate the influences of black markets. Black markets arise from the demand for a product, because it is illegal. With the demand, the price of the product rises. Gangs take advantage of the situation to make huge profits. These gangs who are trying to protect their trade hurt drug dealers and innocent people who are caught in the crossfire (What are the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use).
One of the most important reasons that people want marijuana to be legalized is for medical use. Marijuana has been shown to be helpful to AIDS and chemotherapy patients. Smoking marijuana will help to relieve pain and stimulate an appetite in AIDS patients. (Grinspoon and Bakalar par. 7). The eye disease glaucoma can also be helped by marijuana. Marijuana will lower intracellular pressure in the glaucoma (par. 6). Medicinal marijuana can also be used to help spastic disorders or relieve pain caused by migraines, cramps, limp pain and other chronic pains. Though many reasons for the legalization of marijuana exist there are many reasons for the contrary.
There is no scientific research that supports claims that marijuana helps cure any diseases it is suppose to assist (California Narcotic Officers Association par.8). Marijuana can have some harmful effects on the body. In recreational and medical use, chronic marijuana use causes memory loss. The chemicals in marijuana alter the persons perceptions. Users say marijuana enhances their performance, but controlled tests prove the opposite. Marijuana causes more damage to the lungs than tobacco cigarettes. It affects the immune system, leads to the use of other drugs, causes cancer, and respiratory diseases (Lapey par. 10).
Marijuana may also produce a mild physical dependence. This can cause minor withdrawal symptoms when the use is stopped (What are the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use). Marijuana causes a definite lack of motivation and produces hazards because of slowed reaction times and judgment abilities. Chronic use may leave mental problems such as paranoia. Weight gain and impairment of the lung function are some physical problems that may occur (Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use). Marijuana is thought of as a gateway drug to more harmful drugs. People will constantly use marijuana and eventually become desensitized to effects. Then in the quest for a better high, people will look to harder drug (Pros and Cons of Marijuana Use).
The legalization of marijuana is a heated argument among Americans. Many are still undecided on the issue. Medicinal marijuana should be available for use by patients in severe pain. Those using marijuana for medicinal use are people who have a very small chance of living. Its used for patients who have AIDS or cancer who are suffering greatly and may find it hard to function normally. Marijuana can soothe their pain and allow more normal functions. Marijuana for just recreational use should not be legal. It causes to many harmful side effects with continuous use to be a constant in society. The government has to decide where the use of marijuana is beneficial and important. Then the issue of marijuana legalization can be resolved.
The Libertarian Party.Should We Re-Legalize Drugs? 20 May 1997. 19 Oct. 2000