Decriminalization Of Cannabis Would Be Legal

881 words - 4 pages

Marijuana Legal or Illegal

Cannabis, sold as marijuana, hashish and hash oil, is the most

frequently used illicit drug in Canada. Roughly one in four Canadian

adults report having used cannabis at some time in their lives. Cannabis

use has been on the rise among young people. “For example, a 1997

Addiction Research Foundation survey found that 25 per cent of Ontario

junior high school students used cannabis in the previous year, up from 13

per cent in 1993.” (cannabae) Knowing this, should the United States

legalize cannabis? There are some questions that must be answered first.

What other uses does cannabis have and how would legalizing affect the

drug rings in the US.

     In terms of health risks, some consequences of cannabis

are clearly known, while others, such as the effects of chronic exposure,

are less obvious. In terms of respiratory damage, marijuana smoke

contains higher concentrations of some of the constituents of tar and

tobacco smoke. In addition, it is hotter when it contacts the lungs and is

typically inhaled more deeply and held in the lungs longer than tobacco

smoke. In terms of physical co-ordination, Cannabis impairs co-ordination.

This brings with it the risk of injury and death through impaired driving or accidents such as falls. When it comes to pregnancy and childhood

development, Cannabis use by pregnant women may affect the fetus.

As with tobacco smoking, risks such as low birth weight and premature

delivery increase with use.

     Research has shown a link between chronic heavy marijuana use

and damage to the respiratory system similar to that caused by tobacco.

“Long-term marijuana smoking is associated with changes, such as injury

to the major bronchi, that leave the lungs open to injury and infection.

Frequent, heavy use has been linked with bronchitis.“ (dope head) There

Is also no link between marijuana smoking and lung cancer.

     Some interesting facts on cannabis; the impact of health problems

linked to cannabis is much less than that resulting from alcohol or

tobacco use. Survey data from the U.S., show that dependence on

nicotine among smokers is several times more damaging than cannabis

dependence among marijuana users. “Moreover, the legal drugs

tobacco and alcohol account for the bulk of the economic costs of

substance use. A recent Ontario study found that annual health care

costs resulting from cannabis use were 8 million dollars when compared to

those for tobacco 1.07 billion dollars and alcohol 442 million dollars.”


     Is Marijuana a gateway drug? Researchers are looking into using

marijuana to help crack cocaine addicts to quit. “There are 40 million

people in the United States who have smoked marijuana for a period of


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