Should Marijuana be Legalised?
Deriving from the Cannabis plant, marijuana has many names such as Mary Jane, grass, weed, pot, and many more. Judging by how many names it is given, one can only imagine or in UNODC’s case, estimate, just how popular it is. According to UNODC,” Cannabis remains the most widely used illicit substance.” The World Drug report stated that 180.6 million or 3.9% of the population aged 15-64 use marijuana. Due to the medical benefits, and considering it isn’t as bad for you as alcohol, marijuana should be legalized. (http://www.unodc.org).
Marijuana is a drug that has positive effects and negative effects, it can be used as medicine and it has mild side effects. Marijuana can be used to treat nausea for cancer patients. According to alternet.org, “Marijuana provides relief from pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms for many individuals who have not been treated successfully with conventional medications.” (htttp://www.alternet.org). It provides these benefits with minor side effects. Similar to tobacco it can cause lung disease in the long run, and it can increase the heart rate. Unlike alcohol you can’t die from a Marijuana overdose. Marijuana’s side are not as serious as people make it out to be, when it is compared to alcohol.
Most states look at marijuana as such a terrible drug and they convict thousands of people for marijuana possession when it is not as bad as alcohol and tobacco. According to an article on alternet.org “Law enforcement arrest 750,000 individuals a year for marijuana possession.” (http://www.alternet.org).The government wastes so much time and money focuses on crimes that have to do with the possession of marijuana. Alternet.org “Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. “Instead they could be taking care of more serious matters such major crimes. It is not such a harmful drug compared to alcohol that is allowed.
One reason Marijuana should be legalized is that it it is much safer than alcohol. There have never been any deaths recorded from marijuana use. On the other hand, Alcohol is responsible for thousands of deaths in America. According to saferchoice.org, “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths”. (htttp://www.saferchoice.org). That makes up a huge number of Americans, and yet it is still legalized. Drinking too much alcohol at once can lead to alcohol poisoning and cause a coma. This tends to happens often at parties where people are dared to drink large amounts of alcohol. There has never once been a case of a marijuana overdose. Statistics from nhtsa.gov show that, “Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012, taking 10,322 lives”. (htttp://www.nhtsa.gov).
Also, Marijuana use does not result in aggressive and violent behavior. Alcohol on the other hand is very likely to make people take risk taking behaviors. People start to lose their senses and become very aggressive. According to sciencedaily.com, “An estimated 36 percent of hospitalized assaults and 21 percent of all injuries are attributable to alcohol use by the injured person.” (http://www.sciencedaily.com) It is the cause for many violent acts and behavior. Evidence from ncadd.com shows that, “Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes today.” (htttp://www.ncadd.org). Marijuana use does not result in overly aggressive behavior and lead people to commit violent crimes. The article shows that, “About 3 million violent crimes occur each year in which victims perceive the offender to have been drinking. Crimes include: rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault.”(htttp://www.ncadd.org). There are so many statistics related to crime due to alcohol use. From the statistics I’ve seen marijuana is safer than alcohol and should be legalized instead.
However Marijuana also has its share of negative effects. There are studies that show that Marijuana can affect our short term memory and thinking. The ingredients found in Marijuana can affect our brain. THC which is the main ingredient in Marijuana can affect our neurotransmitters. Neurons send information through neurotransmitters which carry information. Marijuana also attaches to our cannaboid receptors and affects them. Brainfacts.org states that, “these proteins exist in brain areas that are critical for learning, memory, pain perception, and reward processing.” This means that Marijuana can lead to short term memory loss and cause loss of intelligence. (http://www.brainfacts.org).
Another study, according to drugabuse.gov “a large long-term study in New Zealand showed that people who began smoking marijuana heavily in their teens lost an average of 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38. Importantly, the lost cognitive abilities were not fully restored in those who quit smoking marijuana as adults” (htttp://www.drugabuse.gov). Given this data I can infer that Marijuana can impair memory. On the other hand the users that started smoking Marijuana as adults didn’t see a serious affect towards their IQ. This is very harmful for teens that are still in high school and college. Their brains are still developing up until their mid-twenties and Marijuana affects brain development.
Another negative effect of Marijuana is that users can experience heart problems. Marijuana can increase heart rate and be deadly. Drugabuse.gov states, “ Marijuana also raises heart rate by 20-100 percent shortly after smoking; this effect can last up to 3 hours.” (http://www.drugabuse.gov).The effect of marijuana increasing the heart rate so substantially can trigger heart attacks. When one’s heart rate increases rapidly, it can cause tachycardia. According to the Mayo Clinic,” tachycardia can seriously disrupt normal heart function, increase the risk of stroke, or cause sudden cardiac arrest or death.” (http://www.mayoclinic.org)
Marijuana is also the cause of many car accidents. According to drugabuse.gov, “Marijuana is the most common illegal drug involved in auto fatalities. It is found in the blood of around 14 percent of drivers who die in accidents, often in combination with alcohol or other drugs. “(http://www. drugabuse.gov). This is a strong reason why Marijuana shouldn’t be legalized. It causes the deaths of many other innocent people similar to drinking while driving. An article on drugabuse.gov explains how Marijuana affects driving. The article states, “Marijuana affects a number of skills required for safe driving—alertness, concentration, coordination, and reaction time—so it’s not safe to drive high or to ride with someone who’s been smoking.” (http://www.drugabuse.gov).This leads to poor judgment while driving that results in car accidents. Drugabuse.gov backs this up by stating that, “Marijuana makes it hard to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. And combining marijuana with drinking even a small amount of alcohol greatly increases driving danger, more than either drug alone.” (http://www.drugabuse.gov).
Judging from the evidence, marijuana should be legalized. Mostly due to the fact that is not as bad as alcohol and it has some benefits. Given the research marijuana is safer than alcohol, and does not come close to the amount of crimes committed under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana’s side effects are not nearly as bad as Alcohol. Marijuana use has never caused a single death but is still illegal. Marijuana has positive health effects and can be used as a medicine. If marijuana was legalized there would be less crimes over it. Since Marijuana is prohibited it is the reason for many crimes from drug dealers, cartels, gangs,etc,. Alcohol is responsible for thousands of death and it is still legal. From what I stated above Alcohol is much worse than Marijuana. States would benefit much more from legalizing marijuana. Marijuana should not be encouraged for other than medical purposes because it can be harmful.