Marijuana Legalization

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The debate over whether marijuana should be legalized for recreational use has been ongoing for the last few years. Although states like Colorado and Washington have already legalized the use of marijuana recreationally, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. There are many arguments to present for and against the legalization of marijuana. Over the next few years, our society will have to learn and analyze the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana recreationally, and we will need to make an informed decision if we are faced with a future bill that may change marijuana’s status as an illicit drug. Opponents to legalizing marijuana recreationally say that the drug is a gateway drug that may lead marijuana users to more dangerous prescription medications. Supporters of recreational marijuana legalization say that the negative impacts of marijuana are much less extreme than the negative effects of alcohol. Some supporters also believe that if marijuana is legalized, the national crime rate will decrease. While people who oppose recreational marijuana legalization state that the drug is a dangerous gateway drug, supporters believe that the drug is not dangerous, and legalization of marijuana will lead to less crime and a safer environment.

The gateway drug theory states that marijuana smokers may get bored of marijuana and seek harder drugs to get a stronger high. There have been many studies regarding this theory and anti-drug activists use the theory as a main defense point to try to keep the drug illegal. Yale conduced a study on the gateway theory on a group of young adults. The study found that “alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana were associated with an increased likelihood of prescription drug abuse in men 18 to 25. In women of that age, only marijuana use was linked with a higher likelihood of prescription drug abuse” (Cuda, A 2012). It was interesting to find that alcohol and nicotine influence prescription drug use in men much more than...