The Positive and Negative Impacts of the Legalization of Marijuana

Topics: Cannabis, Drug addiction, Medical cannabis Pages: 7 (2464 words) Published: February 5, 2013
The Positive and Negative Impacts of the Legalization of Marijuana Levi Welshans
Professor Prince
June 6, 2012

Marijuana has been the source of much debate in recent years. Many believe that this plant is special, and that this plant is less damaging than alcohol or tobacco. Some individuals believe it offers more than just physical and mental relief. They believe that it has the power to heal diseases. In the medical field, many have questioned where this evidence is. There have been studies of marijuana for decades. Most doctors would tell the general public that without a doubt this drug, like others, will have adverse effects in dealing with disease or pain management. For those who suffer with horrible diseases that can be painful and depressing it is an escape from what they have to deal with on a daily basis. Legalizing medical marijuana may be beneficial to a small number of Americans dealing with disease, but when you consider the negative effects it has on the youth of this country, it no longer seems like an option worth seeking. Dangers of Marijuana

Marijuana is an illegal mind-altering substance. It is federally classified as a Schedule I drug. (Department of Justice, 2012) This means like cocaine, heroin, or PCP; it is illegal to purchase, sell or use it anywhere in America. There are many reasons why the Supreme Court has continually upheld their decisions to keep marijuana illegal. From documented research on health effects to the criminal interaction involved with the use of this drug, it seems fitting that it should be illegal. Many will argue though that it is less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. In 2010, more than 10,000 deaths were directly related to alcohol-impaired driving (National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 2011). Many advocates for the legalization of marijuana compare the considerable death tolls of alcohol and tobacco to the minor reports of deaths that stem from the use of marijuana. Very rarely are there reports of marijuana overdoses or accidents involving those under the influence of marijuana alone. Understandably these are obvious arguments that would justify why marijuana should be legal. Tobacco is legal and kills many Americans in the form of cancers and respiratory problems. Alcohol kills the most through accidents, liver complications and overdose. It is easy to see why so many can simply say just legalize marijuana because alcohol and tobacco are legal and they kill Americans every day. People would have to take into consideration that if marijuana was legalized there would be an obvious increase in its use. With increase in use, you would have more individuals prone to dependency and long term use. Marijuana is like tobacco in the sense that it contains many different types of carcinogens and chemicals. In research done in Canada, they “found that marijuana smoke contains significantly higher levels of numerous toxic compounds, like ammonia and hydrogen cyanide, than regular tobacco smoke”(American Chemical Society, 2010). There is no data on whether or not smoking marijuana will give you cancer. Marijuana smoke does contain higher levels of chemicals and has become increasingly more potent. “Marijuana is much more powerful today than it was 30 years ago, and so are its mind altering effects. Average THC levels rose from less than 1 percent in the mid-1970s to more than 6 percent in 2002. Sinsemilla potency increased in the past two decades from 6 percent to more than 13 percent, with some samples containing THC levels of up to 33 percent”(Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2002). The side effects of more potent marijuana are not yet known. For medicinal use, the marijuana plant has become a canvas for those who experiment with different ways of growing the most potent and best high possible. At some point these strain will contain such strong levels of THC that they will not only cause harm to the lungs...
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