Controversial Topics: Legalizing Marijuana Essay

1713 words - 7 pages

Marijuana, used by almost 100 million Americans, is the third most favored recreational drug in America. Legalizing marijuana has been a controversial topic of discussion in the media, general popular culture, and government. The War on Drugs, more specifically the War on Marijuana, has been an strenuous, ongoing battle for decades. The benefits of legalizing marijuana, such as the economic and business gain, the extension of medical marijuana research, and controversial recreational uses, outweigh the risk of addiction and other negative side effects. The actions taken by the government, both for and against the legalization of marijuana, are an attempt to resolve the controversial usage of this popular drug.
People favor the legalization of marijuana for its various benefits such as its medical uses, recreational use, lowering the number of drug dealers and users in jail and on the street, and the more efficient regulation of marijuana legalization would bring. Marijuana has been used as a treatment for many illness and ailments, such as glaucoma, nausea, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, and even side effects of cancer. Research suggest that its therapeutic use has increased tremendously in just twenty years. In 1992, roughly 93,000 people were treated with marijuana, while by 2010, 353,000 people were treated using medicinal marijuana (“Arguments For And Against The Legalization Of Marijuana” 1). Those who choose to smoke marijuana for recreational pleasure are demonstrating free will. The effects of smoking marijuana include an increased heart rate, an altered state of mind, elevated mood, euphoria, and relaxation. (However, these side effects only last a few hours.) Legalizing marijuana would lead to the collapse of the illegal drug trafficking of marijuana. Creating a legalized, regulated drug system would significantly reduce the amount of drug dealers selling on the street, and in turn, ending up in jail.
However, many people are opposed to legalizing marijuana for a number of reasons including the commercialization of the drug, the easy access if the drug was legalized, the risks of addiction and other health problems, and the gateway to more destructive drugs, also known as the Gateway Theory. Legalizing marijuana may assure children that drug use is something to be accepted and condoned. If marijuana were to be legalized, it would be instantly commercialized and to children of all ages. Much like alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana would be readily available in stores, sold to those of age, and limited to an ounce. Although a “soft drug,” marijuana is a drug which is addictive. However, not all marijuana users face addiction, there are those who do. "Of the 7.3 million persons aged 12 or older classified with illicit drug dependence or abuse in 2012, 4.3 million persons had marijuana dependence or abuse" (Hawkins 1). A study done at Northwestern University found that chronic marijuana users suffer from...

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