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Ashley Tromp
Prof. Forbes
ENC 1101-14B
12 April 2012
Research Paper
The Cannabis Club
There has always been controversy pertaining to the legalization of marijuana. People compare and contrast the effects on the human body with alcohol and marijuana and don’t understand why marijuana wouldn’t be legal. At least under the influence of marijuana you’re relatively sane and know how to walk. Regardless of that, I believe marijuana should be legal, you never know what the calmness in this natural plant could do in this chaotic country.

Rudolph J. Gerber, the author of Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics, points out that,“ although the misuse of over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ephedra, and antihistamines each year kills thousands of Americans, pot is one of the few drugs that has yet to cause a fatality” (Tardiff 48-49). We on many occasions do not consider the misuse or overuse of these medications to be unsafe or dangerous, yet they are provided easily, and to most anyone who wants to purchase them. The misuse alone has startling numbers, but when you take into consideration the overuse and attempted suicides using these products, they do not even compare to marijuana suicides, fatalities and addiction - mainly because you simply don’t hear about it. We take for granted the availability of these types of medications because they are sold over-the-counter and to basically anyone, but the staggering numbers of abuse and deaths related to these are alarming and well exceeds any you may find due to marijuana use. The death that is related to marijuana use again is related to the actual illegal activity associated with buying and selling it – if legalized, these numbers would decrease.

Unlike prescription drugs and alcohol, marijuana cannot be deadly by overdosing, unlike so many legalized “drugs” that most people do not even consider being drugs. Studies show that 15 million Americans abuse alcohol, 69.7 million Americans are current users of tobacco products, and only 4.2 million Americans abuse marijuana. An estimated 550 die from alcohol related accidents and diseases, and less than 20 die of marijuana related causes (MarijuanaToday). Although the numbers are alarming, our society has yet decided to illegalize these products. We have not banned the use of alcohol or smoking cigarettes, yet both of those have a much better chance of either getting you arrested, in trouble or killed. For the most part, marijuana is merely a flower of the female hemp plant which grows naturally. The flower does not need to be mutated or combined with any substance unlike many other legal and illegal drugs. The substance in marijuana, which is the reason that it is consumed, is Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. THC is the psychoactive substance that gives people the “high” effect they so crave and smoke marijuana for. The reason for the “high” is the THC acts upon specific sites in the brain. These are called cannabinoid receptors. These ultimately kick off cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the “high”. Marijuana is usually smoked but can also be eaten or drank (in tea form). The actual hemp plant, that marijuana is derived from, has many valuable uses. One of the most important is that hemp is a very robust and versatile plant. It is one of the most sustainable crops that can be grown and is also resistant to pests therefore not requiring pesticides, herbicides or fungicides to be used. This of course reflects naturally on the environment and cleaner air for all. Many of its uses are, but not limited to, paper, oils, cosmetics, food (the seeds are edible) and most importantly, it is being tested as an alternative source of energy. Because of its abundance and ability to flourish so well, it could be considered one of the most valuable resources known to man. Imagine the possibilities if it were legalized and we could not expand on its uses....
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