Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana

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Angela Stackhouse


The uses of marijuana amongst teenagers has increased over the years making it the most accessible drug in America as well as one the most beneficial due to its medical uses. According to the article of Marijuana Use Among Youths Is a Serious Problem, written by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) (2004), stated that the uses of marijuana has impacted the youth in many ways due to the unknown factors of marijuana such as admittance to treatment facilities, and being admitted into emergency rooms. The CASA took the con side of the argument dealing with the issues of marijuana use with teenagers. The second article Marijuana Should Be Decriminalized, written by Lynn Zimmer (1998), stated that the uses of marijuana amongst teens can help with medical conditions such as cancer patience, glaucoma, multiple – sclerosis, and individuals with AIDS. Examining both articles the public will see the benefits and the potential harms of marijuana use. CASA had a compelling argument about marijuana usage amongst teenagers by touching on the accessibility of the drug, the unknown effects, and if the surveys given to students can be accurate. When breaking down the CASA article the author examines the statistics of a study done in 2003 which broke down marijuana usage in age groups of 12 to 17 and 18 to 25. A report done by the CASA stated that many teens that make it to the age of 21 without using marijuana will probably never use the drug. This article has fact showing the growth of marijuana uses amongst teenagers but the numbers may not be accurate do to the misreporting; for example, many surveys are given in schools or in front of parents so the likelihood of the teen telling the truth is minimal. Lynn Zimmer’s article presented many different facts on the uses of marijuana such as the medical purposes, the risk, and the laws dealing with marijuana convictions. Lynn examines the different situations where marijuana aided individuals with different medical problems such as cancer, glaucoma, and AIDS. The article also stated that the risks are minimal but long term use will cause respiratory problems but no dose will be fatal. Lynn also looked at the laws dealing with individuals that are caught with marijuana or using the substance in public. Over the years penalties have taken a more serious tone giving the individual a year in jail for one joint of marijuana. The CASA had two opinions in the article on the uses of marijuana. The first opinion is that the “white paper report” issued by the CASA will curb the use of marijuana amongst teenagers, due to the facts and survey results listed in the report. The second opinion in the article stated that if an individual makes it past 21 without using marijuana the individual will not use drugs. Lynn’s first opinion was that marijuana is not as debilitating as alcohol or many prescription medications. The second opinionated statement was that individuals that use marijuana use too much even without being addicted. The opinions had truth to them but neither can be proven with 100 percent certainty. Lynn Zimmer’s article was the pro side and the problems I saw with the viewpoint of this article are that we need to find away to keep marijuana out of children’s hand. The article never gave a real plan on how to combat the issue of children ranging in the ages of 12 to 17 using marijuana and the accessibility of the drug. Lynn’s view on the issue was basically the access to marijuana will always be there and the government’s “war on drugs” is a joke as well as a waste of money. The problem that arose in the CASA article which is the con side is that statistics will make people change there views. When dealing with an issue such as marijuana one has to know that the approach has to be tailored to a wide range of people; for example, marijuana users range from politicians to young teenagers....
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