Legalizing Marijuana in the United States

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Marijuana is a misunderstood drug that is thought of as a dangerous, when it is in fact anything but that. Marijuana is a drug obtained from dried parts of a hemp plant called Canabis Sativa. It is ingested by rolling it in tobacco paper or smoking it through a pipe. For centuries, marijuana has been used by different nationalities for religious, recreational, and medical use. While it is currently illegal in the United States, marijuana is legal in European countries such as Holland and Belgium, and Amsterdam. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. It can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care. For marijuana to be illegal in the United States when alcohol poisoning is a major cause of death in this country and nearly half a million premature deaths are attributed to cigarettes yearly. Why is the legalization of marijuana such a problem in the United States? Lester Grinspoon, a professor at Harvard University states, “Few drugs in the United States have produced as much affective heat as marijuana, particularly during the last decade. The controversy essentially revolves around the question of how dangerous or safe the drug is.” By lifting the ban on marijuana use and treating it like other substances such as tobacco and alcohol, the United States could gain immediate and long term benefits. Legalization of marijuana could help for medicinal purposes, lower imprisonment rates of American youths, and open up a new market for our economy. Usage of marijuana has positive attributes, such as its medical value and use as a recreational drug with relatively mild side effects. Alcohol poisoning claims almost 5,000 deaths in the United States annually yet it is legal. No marijuana user has ever suffered from a fatal marijuana overdose. Marijuana is a psychoactive meaning it stimulates certain brain receptors but it does not kill them whereas alcohol does. According to research conducted by the American Medical Association, marijuana slightly increases alpha-wave activity in the human brain. Alpha-waves are associated with relaxed, meditative states, which are associated with human creativity. The legalization of marijuana would also prove healthier for recreational users as well as medical patients. As marijuana is still illegal, there is no regulation as to what other chemicals the drug contains. An illegal purchase of marijuana puts the buyer in a position where their purchase can be laced with harmful drugs and other additives. If it were legalized this harmful practice could no longer occur. The government could filter the drug for health concerns. Legal marijuana could bear a surgeon’s general warning on its package warning of misuse and describing the health risks involved. Marijuana has many benefits but has been criminalized by our federal government. Because such a negative name is tied to it, scientists tend to steer away from research of the drug in a positive field. The few that do in fact research marijuana have rendered positive results. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 prohibited marijuana federally. Dr. William C. Woodard of the American Medical Association is one of the doctors that opposed the prohibition of marijuana, stating that making it illegal would put a halt on the research of marijuana. An increase in the amount of recreational users during the 1970’s contributed to further research of marijuana’s medicinal benefits. Many people use marijuana because they have been given an informed decision that it is good for them, especially Americans suffering from a variety of serious ailments. It has been known for being the primary benefactor in most medicines that cause the healing of some minor sicknesses. Marijuana provides relief from chronic pain from myriad disorders, nausea from chemotherapy, spasticity from Multiple Sclerosis, and other symptoms of many individuals who have not been treated successfully...
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