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Legalizing Mary Jane Essay

1298 words - 5 pages

Marijuana, or its official term, cannabis, has been around since ancient times and has experienced a revival in recent years, especially with high school and college-aged teens. Although the drug was used as far back as early China, according to drug education company Narconon International, where it was used as a medication, marijuana entered the pop culture scene at events such as Woodstock, a hippie-infused three-day music festival in Bethel, New York that promoted peace and music in 1969 (Marijuana History).
In recent years, marijuana seems to have become more accepted in society. Although recreational use of the drug is still illegal in the United States, it has become common to hear of teenagers experimenting with weed. It seems that teens today have an invincibility complex towards the drug and do not fear any of the risks associated with it. According to a 1994 Los Angeles Times article by Rose Apodaca, this is ironically a direct result of the teenagers’ parents, who are members of the hippie-Woodstock generation (By Design - Los Angeles Times). Teenagers see that their parents most likely smoked pot at some point or another and they turned out fine, and thus causes teens to think it is okay to use marijuana and may even consider it trendy. Teens are also prompted to use the drug as an act of rebellion, because ever since we were young, parents and educators have forced anti-drug, alcohol, and tobacco ads onto us, trying to instill in us that these substances are harmful and should not be abused. While these messages have valid points, they also unintentionally drill into young minds the first places to turn to when rebelling against our superiors. In addition, the use of marijuana and other substances is essentially advertised to our generation on a daily basis. Although in subliminal form, drug and alcohol use has been glamorized by the shows on television, like Weeds, and the music of artists we listen to, such as Wiz Khalifa or Bob Marley. Although some may find these arguments outlandish, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that marijuana use has increased amongst high-schoolers over the past several years. Use amongst twelfth graders spiked in 1978 but then constantly decreased until about 1992, when marijuana use started to increase again. According to a 1996-97 PRIDE (Parents' Resource for Drug Education) survey of more than 140,000 students, drug use among 11- to 14-year-olds is on the rise, with 11.4 percent of junior-high students reporting monthly use of marijuana, cocaine, or other illicit drugs (ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND OTHER DRUG USE DROPS AMONG TEENS).
Although recreational marijuana is illegal, it is the number one most used recreational drug today. Also known as Grass, Hemp, Weed, Pot, Mary Jane, Hash, or Dope, among others, many people do not consider marijuana to be a harmful drug, as they do not believe it is addictive. However, according to Narconon International, research has shown that...

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