Marijuana: Should it be legal

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Turner 1

Barry Turner

Neal Peters

English 101

29 April 2013

Should it be legal

In 1978 the state legislators of New Mexico made a law allowing

physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from nausea caused by

chemotherapy, much of this due to the efforts of a cancer patient by the name of Lynn

Pierson. The Federal government modified the law to make it comply with IND

regulations requiring a research program. The FDA also demanded many studies and

required the doctors to fill out many pages of forms for every patient and documenting

their progress, slowing the process to a stand still. This process of getting marijuana to

the patients was taking so long that the New Mexico officials considered using

confiscated marijuana from the state highway patrol. In August of 1978 Lynn Pierson,

who worked so hard for the legalization of marijuana, died of cancer without ever

receiving legal marijuana. A few weeks later the Federal Government suspended the

marijuana program. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics reasons for making it illegal were

that it was highly addictive and caused violent crimes. Today neither of those reasons has

been backed by much data and many experts believe the opposite. According to the

National Household Survey on drug abuse, more than 76 million Americans admit to

trying pot. Along with those who value marijuana; for recreational reasons, many doctors

say that it has medicinal uses as well. The government should look at these acts and Turner 2

consider the legalization of marijuana.

There are many arguments against the legalization of marijuana. One commonly

held views is marijuana is “gateway drug” or a drug that opens the door for harder drug

use such as cocaine or heroin. The Institute of Medicine disagrees, and in their 1999

report they explained that marijuana has been mistaken for a “ gateway drug” in the past

because patterns in adolescence drug use is strikingly regular. Because it is the most

commonly used illicit drug, it is likely that it is the first illegal drug people try. Most drug

users begin with alcohol and nicotine, before they use marijuana (Joy 32).

Another complaint about marijuana is that it is a dangerous drug that causes

permanent brain damage. Dr. Iverson of Oxford University says, “Cannabis does not

cause structural damage to the brains of animals as some reports had claimed, nor is there

evidence of long-term damage to the human brain or other than slight

impairments in cognitive function after drug use is stopped (Woolfe 24).” In fact,

commonly used drugs such as aspirin are more dangerous than marijuana. Even though

marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug there have been very few deaths resulting

from its use. Yet thousands of people die every year from the use of aspirin, which causes

gastric bleeding. It has been proven through animal testing, that it is almost impossible

for a human to digest or inhale enough marijuana to cause a state near death (Woolfe 24).

The government is not this strict on other drugs; alcohol and tobacco are both legal

drugs. In terms of its short- term effects marijuana not much different from those caused

by alcohol, as it affects the users psychomotor skills. More than 100,000 people per year

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are killed from alcohol related accidents and health problems (Griffiths 36). Also three

times as many people are killed in alcohol-related accidents than all other illegal drugs

combined. Tobacco, which is far more addictive than marijuana kills more than 430,000

people per year, but is still considered an acceptable and legal drug (Griffiths 36).

It is Ironic that marijuana is safer drug than the legal drugs alcohol, tobacco,

aspirin, barbiturates, and morphine, yet the government spends almost 9 billion dollars a

year to keep drug...
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