March 10, 2013
Professor Laura Barnes
Marijuana is one of the best known drugs that have been widely consumed throughout history which today raises a concerned eyebrow. Those who are advocates consider marijuana a harmless and beneficial substance because of its claimed value in treating symptoms of serious illness or diseases and Jeffrey Miron, a professor of economics at Harvard University in the following viewpoint believes that, “Legalizing illicit drugs would generate billions in tax revenue” (Forbes, 2012 pp.1-1). Just as any drug, marijuana may bring some type of relief with its use, but it also poses risk which in the end poses threat to the economy because of its affects to the human body, open doors to addiction, and worse, harms the youth which is not worth the added benefits for the few legitimate users to make acceptable.
Marijuana, which is also referred to as pot, weed, cannabis, refer, and Mary Jane to name a few, is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the U.S. as well as around the world which comes from the stems, seeds, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant, which is also known as cannabis. Most individuals use the plant by either smoking it or mixing it into food because it is an all-natural substance. Registered nurse Mary Lynn Mathre states, “The cannabis plant (marijuana) has therapeutic benefits and could ease the suffering of millions of persons with various illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, chronic pain, and other maladies” (Mathre 1997, p.1) and that is one of various reasons advocates on legalizing the plant believe that, the substance relieving and therapeutic benefits should legalize the use of marijuana, but if that were the case, risks that occur from its use would not outweigh the benefits.
First, why are the detrimental factors of the substance ignored? If marijuana is legalized worldwide, through its medicinal or recreational use, the human body will experience short as well as long term effects stemming from the consumption of the plant. Marijuana contains a psychoactive chemical which is called tetrahydrcannabinol or THC and as it enters the brain, the marijuana user starts to feel euphoric, or high, but occasionally the drug makes individuals feel anxious, depressed, distrustful or fearful. THC affects the body in various ways by causing short-term effects which include memory loss, trouble with thinking, diminished motor skills, and an increase of the heart rate which is just the minor damage that pose hazard to the body (Goldstein, 2010).
Advocates of marijuana has gone as far as pleading that the substance has no real potential harm compared to the use of tobacco, one of the leading causes of cancer. Crystal Phend, a senior staff writer for MedPage Today discusses a study that indicates that a link is present between smoking marijuana and lung cancer where she notes, “that the study finds that a single marijuana joint may be as carcinogenic as twenty cigarettes” (MedPage Today, 2008 p. 2) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) formulated a chart on the commonly abused drugs in which tobacco which causes greater health risk such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer in various forms, for instance, the lungs, pancreas, and esophagus, but it has yet to be scheduled. Marijuana on the other hand poses less health risk compared to tobacco, but it is labeled as a Scheduled I drug, because for as long as marijuana has been present in the world, the illicit drug has no approved use and the denial from the federal law will definitely cause a harsher dent to the economy. “The federal ban will keep the marijuana market fragmented” (Berlatsky, 2012 p. 178) which means the small population of potential growers or distributers will continue to fight or compete on the marijuana market, which may limit tax collection resources and just...