Should We Legalize Marijuana?
In the perspective of America's war on drugs, marijuana is one of the biggest enemies. And since alcohol and tobacco, two life threatening substances, are legal it is a relevant question to ask why marijuana is illegal. The taxpayers of America can partly answer this question when they fill out their tax forms and when they hear the hash rhetoric used against marijuana by the government. The fact that marijuana is illegal is sufficiently caused by the amount of money, jobs, and pride invested in the drug war. In other words, the government cannot turn back now.
In order to demonstrate this cause, the difference between illegal and legal substances (specifically alcohol and marijuana) must be abolished. Alcohol, as we all know, was once illegal. The reason that it was illegal was because the ill effects of alcohol led many people to fight for the prohibition cause. Some of these ill effects are direct and some alter the behavior and motor skills of the drinker, helping them do things they would not usually do. More often than not, the direct effects result from heavy drinking, like "depression is frequently diagnosed in alcoholics" (Rittenhouse 140). But just getting drunk can do serious harm. "Accidental trauma forms the major cause of brain damage from alcohol" (140) would indicate alcohol as a threat to human health.
Marijuana on the other hand seems a little out of place in its classification as illegal. The source previously cited notes that, "Although it is classified as a Schedule I drug for regulatory purposes, it is clearly different pharmacologically from the opiate analgesics" (Rittenhouse 151). Also, recently a heated debate has arisen on the medicinal value of marijuana. Whether there is a definite use for marijuana is unclear, but there is surely no such debate concerning alcohol.
So once again I posture the question why is marijuana illegal if it is not more dangerous than substances that are legal?...
Cited: 1. Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1998. Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office:1997.
2. Kahin, George McTurnan and John W. Lewis. The United States in Vietnam. The Dial Press, New York: 1967.
3. Levine, Michael. Deep Cover. Delacorte Press, New York: 1990.
4. Rittenhouse, Joan Dunne, ed. Consequences of Alcohol and Marijuana Use. National Institute on Drug Abuse; Rockville Maryhland: 1979.
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