Marijuana's Potential As A Legalized Drug

1952 words - 8 pages

The war on drugs is a noble effort to quell the abuse of illegal drugs and the harmful effects they have on society. However, marijuana is a drug that should not be targeted. It is derived from the cannabis plant, which is grown and cultivated naturally from the earth. The cultivation and usage of cannabis has existed since the beginning of history and include recreational, religious, and medicinal purposes. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has estimated that about 162 million people worldwide use cannabis annually, and the rate has been growing since the late 20th century (Costa 5). In most parts of the world, laws are enacted which regulate or prohibit the possession and/or sale of cannabis. In the United States, federal law prohibits the possession, usage, purchase, sale, and/or cultivation of marijuana; however, numerous states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use or personal use (Ingram 8). Despite the harmful effects marijuana can induce, it should be decriminalized throughout the nation because of its benefits to society.The primary non-medical use of marijuana is the effect of achieving the psychoactive effect of getting “high.” Under this state, people experience an altered state of consciousness, euphoria, increased self-worth, stress reduction, and lethargy. Although rare, marijuana use can also increase risk of heart attacks and strokes, and damage memory capabilities (Ingram 13-16). Anti-cannabis advocates seek to prevent the use of marijuana for getting “high.” However, many pro-cannabis advocates argue that under the right of freedom and liberty, people should be allowed to use marijuana for personal enjoyment. They are aware of these risks but the positive effects of marijuana balance out or even override the negative effects. Particular claims of positive marijuana effects include increased appreciation of humor, music or art, joviality, enhanced recollection, increased sensuality, increased awareness of sensation, creative or philosophical thinking, and reduction of stress and anxiety. In response to the argument of freedom, anti-cannabis advocates argue that marijuana use impedes the safety of others because of people who drive while they’re “high.” This argument holds merit, but it can be regulated just like drunk driving. Furthermore, research has shown that the overall addiction potential of marijuana is virtually nonexistent. A 1998 French governmental report commissioned by Health Secretary of State Bernard Kouchner, and directed by Dr. Pierre-Bernard Roques, classed drugs according to addictiveness and neurotoxicity. The most addictive and lethal categories included heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. The middle categories include benzodiazepines, hallucinogens, and tobacco. Cannabis is placed in the lowest category because of low addiction potential (Costa 30-33). The gateway drug theory states that the use of marijuana leads to abuse of other drugs. Many anti-cannabis...

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