Positives and Negatives of Legalizing Marijuana

Topics: Cannabis, Legality of cannabis by country, Hashish Pages: 6 (1870 words) Published: December 8, 2013
I have always been against the use of all illegal drugs including marijuana, but while researching this topic, I have learned a lot about some of the positives of legalizing marijuana use. Considering it is classified as an illegal controlled substance, I have always been under the assumption that marijuana was bad for people, no matter what my friends may have said about how good it was. I was peer pressured into trying it when I was fourteen. I knew right away that it was not for me. It made me pass out and sick to my stomach when I woke up. That reiterated my assumption that it was bad for people. I did not understand how people could like it. I figured other people must not have had the same reaction as I did after smoking it. No matter what my opinion is, I will give both the positives and negatives of legalizing it.

Many Americans believe that marijuana is harmless and many want it legalized. Some states have already legalized the medical use of marijuana. They are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington (ProCon.org). Colorado and Washington have also legalized it for recreational use (Governing).

Marijuana is a common recreational drug. "The National Institute on Drug Abuse says marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug" (Cox). In a 2010 survey, 17.4 million Americans had used marijuana within the past month. It is used to change people's moods by getting them to relax. Even so, marijuana does have some negative effects on people. It can cause lethargy and uncoordinated body movements. Marijuana can have harmful effects on people's health. It can affect our brains, hearts, lungs, and reproductive systems. Like cigarettes, marijuana can cause cancer of the mouth, tongue, larynx, or pharynx.

Marijuana is usually smoked. It can also be ingested by mixing with foods or brewed as tea. Smoking it will trigger psychological effects within thirty to sixty minutes. "Marijuana can impair thinking, memory, and learning for weeks after use" (Cox). Marijuana could also cause acute psychosis. This break from reality makes it a common drug used by those who obviously do not want to face reality or the hard nicks of life in general. Marijuana can also cause short-term memory and learning problems.

A study in Colorado reports that since legalizing marijuana, there has been a spike in kids visiting emergency rooms after eating foods containing marijuana. "Since October 2009, 14 kids under age 12 have been treated at the hospital for accidental exposure to marijuana, with eight of those cases linked to edibles such as marijuana-laced cookies, candies, brownies and beverages" (Gannon). Kids are arriving at hospitals with symptoms of respiratory problems, extreme sleepiness, difficulty walking and lethargy.

According to Just Think Twice, marijuana is harmful. "Smoking marijuana leads to some changes in the brain similar to those caused by cocaine, heroin and alcohol…Marijuana contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco…The amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by those who smoke marijuana, regardless of the THC content, are three to five times greater than among tobacco smokers…According to the American Lung Association, there is 50-70% more cancer causing material in marijuana smoke than in cigarette smoke…In fact, marijuana smoke contains more than 400 chemicals (Fiction).

Marijuana can also affect users' mental health. "Marijuana can lead to increased anxiety, panic attacks, depression and other mental health problems. For those already prone to depression or anxiety attacks, marijuana use may accelerate or exacerbate problems" (Fiction). Maastricht University conducted a study that found that smoking marijuana frequently while young raises the risk of...

References: Cox, L. (2012). Effects of Marijuana. Live Science. Retrieved from http://www.livescience. com/24558-marijuana-effects.html
Fiction: Marijuana is Harmless. (2013). Just Think Twice. Retrieved from http://www.justthink twice.com/factsfiction/fiction_marijuana_is_harmless.html
Gannon, M. (2013). Accidental Pot Ingestion Spikes for Colorado Kids, Study Finds. Live Science. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/34747-accidental-pot-ingestion- spikes-for-colorado-kids.html
Governing: The States and Localities. (2013). State Marijuana Laws Map. Retrieved from http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html
ProCon.org. (2013). 20 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC. Retrieved from http://medical marijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881
Sledge, M. (2013). Marijuana Prohibition Now Costs The Government $20 Billion A Year: Economist. HuffPost Politics. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com.2013/04/ 20/marijuana-prohibition-costs_n_3123397.html
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