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Legalize It

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Autor:  anton  18 July 2011
Tags:  Legalize
Words: 1328   |   Pages: 6
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Pot, weed, grass, dope, and ganja. Surely, Dr. Provet, you know that these are all street names of marijuana or cannabis sativa. In your article, “Keep Marijuana Illegal-For Children's Sake,” you stated several reasons as to why marijuana should be kept illegal in this country. You argued that legalizing marijuana would lead to a larger general use and spread to our country’s children. The article also stated that marijuana laws should stay the same because overall the substance is bad for health. However, the top 3 substances used are alcohol, tobacco, and then marijuana. Out of these 3, marijuana has the most unnoticeable affect on health and, on top of that, can be good for medicinal use (Nakamura 279). Marijuana use may become more widespread by legalization, but the government could still place laws on the drug that would keep it controlled and keep use responsible. The government would also make a profit and benefit from not having to worry about so much illegal drug trafficking. The points expressed in your article are valid, but still not enough reason to prevent marijuana from being legalized. It is widely used, comparatively harmless to health, and easily could become a large profit for the government.

Even now, with the drug being illegal, use is still prevalent and is the most widespread illegal drug used. As stated earlier, only alcohol and tobacco precede marijuana in the amount used in a lifetime or current use. According to the Monitoring the Future Study in 2005, 44.8% of high school seniors had used marijuana at least once in their

lifetime. This is a high amount considering that the next highest illegal drug used was cocaine at about 9.4% over a high school student’s lifetime (Nakamura 294-295). This

shows that even with the drug being illegal, keeping people from using it is virtually uncontrollable. And our public should accept this reality, and not deny it. If people, particularly teens, want to smoke marijuana they will do so and there is no reason to make arrests when you can easily avoid them.

Overall, marijuana has proven to be not very harmful to one’s health. In your article, you stated “On par, pot is bad for you. Its negative effects on teenagers – physical, psychological, social – are well-documented.” I do agree with pot being bad for you on par, but also on par I think most things are bad for you. For instance, junk food is bad for you and so are emissions from cars or factories. One could get clogged arteries or develop a cough, but candy is far from being outlawed. Marijuana’s effects on the body are minimal and nowhere life threatening. They include coughing, increased heart rate, and anxiety (Nakamura 279). The psychological effects of marijuana are overplayed; stress from school or any other outside forces can also contribute to anxiety. And not only is marijuana not as bad as people may think, it also can be even good for your health. Marijuana can aid in the treatment in a wide range of clinical applications such as pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. It is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia.

If you compare marijuana with the two legal substances, you will find there is much more of a reason to make those illegal rather than marijuana. First of all, overdosing on weed is nearly impossible as it is not a lethal drug (Top Ten Reasons Marijuana

Should Be Legal). On the other hand, more than 100,000 U.S. deaths are caused by excessive alcohol consumption each year. Direct and indirect causes of death include

drunk driving, cirrhosis of the liver, accidents, cancer, and stroke. Also, according to the National Highway Traffic Association, traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for persons aged 6–33 and about 45% of these fatalities are in alcohol-related crashes (Nakamura 317-318). Marijuana is also nowhere near as impairing as alcohol can be. Under the influence of alcohol, people experience loss of inhibitions, impairment of judgment and thinking, and can lead to respiratory depression if excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed. There is really no reason for alcohol to be legal over marijuana when its effects are far more severe and lead to countless deaths.

Marijuana is not only much less harmful than alcohol, but tobacco as well. Even though tobacco may not impair a person as much as marijuana would, it is far worse for the body. The 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that each day in the United States, approximately 3,900 youths aged 12-17 try their first cigarette. If these kids continue their smoking use, an estimated 6.4 million of them will die of a smoking-related disease (Nakamura 301). To me, these numbers are far more alarming than any concerning marijuana use among kids. Tobacco is illegal until someone is 18 and marijuana is always illegal but tobacco is still much more of an issue. Smoking remains one of the most preventable causes of death, accounting for approximately 30 percent of all deaths from cancer (Nakamura 297). And not only do smoking cigarettes effect your health, but it also affects the health of those around you. Secondhand smoke can also cause cancer and respiratory diseases. Between tobacco and marijuana, I feel that tobacco should be the substance to become illegal; it is far more dangerous.

The government would also profit from the legalization of marijuana. Each year it costs approximately $25,000 to house a person in jail. These costs seem particularlyexcessive when dealing with the drug marijuana, as it is widely used, and is likely no more harmful than currently legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol (NORML). There's

another cost to the war on drugs which is the revenue lost by governments who cannot collect taxes on illegal drugs. If the government was able to collect tax on every marijuana cigarette and ignore the transportation, marketing, and advertising costs, this comes to over $2 billion on sales. Micro economist Mike Moffatt stated in his article, “one interesting thing to note from such a scheme is that the street price of marijuana stays exactly the same, so the quantity demanded should remain the same, as the price is unchanged.” However, it's quite likely that the demand for marijuana would change from legalization. There is a risk in selling marijuana, but since drug laws often target both the buyer and the seller, there is also a risk to the consumer interested in buying marijuana. Legalization would eliminate this risk, causing the demand to rise. I know this is one of the points in your article: “Legalizing marijuana would undoubtedly lead to increased general use…” (Provet). However, if legalized, governments can control how much marijuana is consumed by increasing or decreasing the taxes on the product. There is a limit to this, however, as setting taxes too high will cause marijuana growers to sell on the black market to avoid excessive taxation (Moffatt).

So Dr. Provet, I ask you: after all of these reasons towards legalizing marijuana, do you still find a need to keep it illegal? I understood that you felt legalization was unnecessary and people only want this for their own pleasure and convenience, but in reality, legalization would not harm anyone. Honestly, it would be more convenient for people, but still would not make much of a difference in terms of use and health issues

among teens. Marijuana is wrongly illegal and the government should make it legal for their own profit and for the convenience of many.

Works Cited

"About Marijuana." NORML. 29 sep 2007. National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 6 Nov 2007 http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7305

Moffatt, Mike. "Should Governments Legalize and Tax Marijuana." 29 Oct. 2007 <http://economics.about.com/od/incometaxestaxcuts/a/marijuana.htm>.

Nakamura, Ray. Health In America: A Multicultural Perspective. 2nd. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt, 2007.

Provet, Peter. "Keep Marijuana Illegal-For Children's Sake." Oct 2002 06 Nov 2007 <http://www.odysseyhouseinc.org/News/bht1002.html>.

"Top Ten Reasons Marijuana Should Be Legal." 01 Sep 2007 06 Nov 2007 <http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/60959/?page=entire>.

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