Persuasive Essay: Legalize Marijuana

1433 words - 6 pages

America has been historically known throughout the world as the land of the free - a place where one can live their life as they please, without the chains of oppression to tie them down or a heavy-handed government to rule their life. The Pilgrims left their home country of England to flee religious persecution, so it was only natural that they would want the country they laid the foundation for to be a land of freedom, where people of all religions and lifestyles were welcome. However, America has strayed from their wishes and from the guidance of the Constitution, and has become a place where the government interferes in the lives of the people far more than is wise or necessary. The criminalization of marijuana is one example of such arbitrary, illogical, and unfair interference. The government has consistently failed to provide sufficient reasoning for why marijuana is illegal, and so until it does, marijuana should simply cease to be criminalized in the United States.Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance under federal laws designed to protect public health and safety ("Why is Marijuana Illegal?"). A drug must meet the following criteria in order to be deemed a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance:"(A) The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision" ("US CODE: Title 21, 801...").The federal government claims that marijuana meets all these criteria, and it's certainly easy for someone to buy into these claims if they don't know the facts about what marijuana is and what its typical effects are on the user. Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried and shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the cannabis sativa plant. The major active compound in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol - or THC. Marijuana's effects on the user depend on the strength or potency of the THC it contains (Gans). The drug's short-term psychoactive effects, known as a "high," can vary based on the individual, but can include altered perception; mild euphoria; relaxation / lethargy; paranoia, agitation or anxiety; and increased hunger or increased appreciation of taste (AKA "the munchies"). Physiologically, marijuana can produce increased heart rate; dryness of the mouth; dilation and reddening of the eyes; and impaired motor skills, concentration, and judgment. In the long-term, marijuana abuse may increase the risk of heart attack, cancer, and other health problems; depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances have also been associated with chronic marijuana use ("NIDA Infofacts…").Now recall the first criteria for a drug to be considered a controlled substance - it must have a high potential for abuse. In 1975 the Drug Policy Advisor in the Nixon Administration defined "drug abuse" as "the use, usually by...

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