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"What's Legal?" Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

On average yearly, 440,000 deaths are reported from tobacco use, 110,640 deaths from alcohol, 30,000 from suicide, 15,000 from murder, 7,600 from aspirin (or other painkillers) yet NO DEATHS HAVE EVER BEEN REPORTED FROM MARIJUANA USE.1 Despite this fact, the use of marijuana remains illegal even though there have now been proven studies to show its medicinal helpfulness. The United States is fighting a losing battle in trying to imprison pot smokers; while Canada, who has decriminalized marijuana, has realized that, besides allowing more room in prisons for real criminals, there are several billion dollars to be made, or saved, depending on your perspective.Tobacco is used by approximately 46.5 million (23.3% of the population) Americans even though it kills more people than car accidents, alcohol, AIDS, murders, illegal drugs, and suicides COMBINED! Nicotine, the addictive substance found in tobacco, and also used as an insecticide, has been found to be as addictive as cocaine. The average smoker spends $3,391 per year to smoke and expose themselves to over 40 cancer causing agents. Every day, over 5,000 children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette and of them, 2,000 become regular users. In the United States alone, the annual productivity losses from smoking deaths totals $81.9 billion, about $7.18 per pack of cigarettes sold. When all totaled, there are over 6 million years of life lost each year from smoking."In the end, her hair was gray, her nose bulbous, her liver irreversibly scarred. Alcohol did all that to 50-year-old Bridget Cook before it finally killed her on May 20, 2002."2 Drinking is a very harmful drug which is legal around the world even though it is one of the more dangerous drugs available. Even when drinking in moderation, the effects can lead to serious health problems and problems with family, friends, and co-workers. Alcohol has an increased negative effect when used with any one of over 150 medications. Alcohol, when used by a pregnant woman, can cause a range of birth defects, the most serious being fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). If one drinks over a long period of time, it can cause even more serious problems, such as: liver disease, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and pancreatitis. Finally, the more heavily a person drinks, the more at risk the person is for: arguments with or estrangement from your spouse and other family members, strained relationships with coworkers; absence from or lateness to work, loss of employment due to decreased productivity, and committing or being the victim of violence."In October (2001), Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which distributed medicinal marijuana to nearly 1,000 seriously ill people with doctor's prescriptions, most of whom have AIDS."3 It may be true that heavy, regular use of marijuana can somewhat hinder skills related to attention, memory, and learning; it is also true that the short-term effects of...

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