21 April 2014
Legalization of Marijuana: the financial, social, medical, and political benefits.
The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of debate for many years. This may be because of the cultural diversity that the United States of America is known for. Recently, bills were passed in Colorado and Washington to implement the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana use. These events along with the ever growing popularity of the drug in society, media, and entertainment are proving to be more than anti-marijuana advocates can handle. In this paper, I explore the financial, social, medical, and political benefits of legalizing marijuana.
Pro legalization advocates stand firm in their belief and continue to campaign to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. Mansur Abdullah explains what marijuana is and gives us some insight into the history of the drug. Kristen Gwynne and Steven Nelson reveal how many government officials such as police officers and attorneys support its legalization. Christopher Matthews points out the change in how marijuana is viewed and how now were are far more desensitized to its prevalence in society than we once were. LZ Anderson steps out and proposes the idea that in 2016 we may be ready to vote to legalize pot the way our grandparents voted to legalize alcohol. The information gathered from these sources show why marijuana should be legalized due to the reasons that its prohibition infringes on our liberty, costs the government and taxpayers billions of dollars, and details the great potential for the medical benefit that could be achieved from its legalization.
In order to fully grasp the argument, you have to first understand and define what it is you are debating. Marijuana is a “crude drug composed of the leaves and flowers of plants in the genus Cannabis” (Abdullah). Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in marijuana that has valuable therapeutic effects that many studies in the 20th and 21st centuries have revealed, such as lowering internal eye pressure for sufferers of glaucoma, alleviating nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, prevent epileptic seizures, and reducing pain for people suffering from multiple sclerosis. Marijuana has been used for many millennia with some of the earliest mentions dating back to 2700 BCE in China. It has “long been considered valuable as an analgesic, an anesthetic, an antidepressant, an antibiotic, and a sedative”, it has also been “administered internally to treat gonorrhea and angina pectoris” (Abdullah). Also, unlike many other drugs, “chronic use does not establish a physical dependence, nor does the regular user suffer extreme physical discomfort after withdrawal” (Abdullah).
For the sake of building off the previous entry, I would like to incorporate a couple of marijuana related legal statistics from Steven Nelson’s article Police Made One Marijuana Arrest Every 42 Seconds in 2012. The Federal Bureau of Investigation released data on the crime figures for drug-related crimes in 2012 and it showed that a staggering 749,825 people were arrested for marijuana related offenses; that is one arrest every 42 seconds. It also accounted for 48.3 percent of all drug arrests. Even with the recent upsurge in public support for the liberation of the drug policy, police arrested the same number of people in 2012 on pot-related charges as they did in 2011. These numbers have led many people to begin forming advocacy groups geared to decriminalize the drug. Dan Riffle, the director of one of these groups, Marijuana Policy Project, stated that “As a former prosecuting attorney myself, I believe it is irresponsible to squander our limited law enforcement resources on this disastrous public policy failure” (Nelson).
Dovetailing with this article is, Five Reasons Cops Want to Legalize Marijuana, a piece written by Kristen Gywnne that reveals that even police officers are some...
Cited: Gwynne, Kristen. “Five Reasons Cops Want to Legalize Marijuana.” Rolling Stone. Wenner, Jane S., 27 June 2013. Web. 12 March 2014.
Matthews, Christopher. “How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Marijuana.” Time. Time Magazine, 28 May 2013. Web. 12 March 2014.
Abdullah, Mansur G. “Marijuana.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., n.d. Web. 12 March 2014.
Granderson, LZ. “Why not legalize pot?” cnn.com. CNN, 30 Oct. 2012. 12 March 2014.
Nelson, Steven. “Police Made One Marijuana Arrest Every 42 Seconds in 2012.” USNews.com USNews, 16 Sept. 2013. Web. 7 April 2014.
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