Why Marijuanas Should Not Be Legal

Marijuana: Weeding out the Problem. In why marijuanas should not be legal essay we will briefly analyse this question and will have a try to give argumentative answer whether it should be banned or not. 

The legalization of marijuana is a debate that has lasted almost a century. Cannabis is considered a life-threatening harmful plant and is considered to be another problem that today's society needs to solve. However, according to its economic value and medical benefits, marijuana has proven to outnumber many other professionals. The legalization of marijuana would greatly impact low-income communities, helpchange the mindset of America and benefit society. “After the Civil War, marijuana was used in many medications and hemp was often used in making clothing”. In 1906, the “Pure Food and Drug Act” was passed, which required any medicine with cannabis to be labeled correctly. Then in the 1920’s, after the Mexican Revolution many people starting immigrating to America. Around this time period the use of recreational marijuana was just beginning to take off. With the rising use of cannabis, and the rising immigrant population, many people associated the two to be correlated with each other. Because of the negative association with the two, America’s racist past led many people to believe that Mexican immigrants were all people that used marijuana, which is a common misconception. This is still seen today, with all Latinos being perceived as illegal or bad people in the American peoples’ eyes.

Although there were not many negative consequences found with the drug, the American mindset thought that only immigrants were recreationally using marijuana. “Because of this, the ‘Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ was established in 1930. A year later, 29 states outlawed marijuana, because of fear, hate, and resentment towards immigrants rising during the Great Depression”. In 1936, a political propaganda film, called “Reefer Madness” was released to sway middle class white people, a large portion of the population, into being afraid of marijuana use. Then about 20 years later, in the 1950’s, the minimum sentences are established for using marijuana are made clear. “About 10 years later, in the time period of the 1960’s, recreational use of marijuana increased and started to appear in upper class communities”. Upper class Americans started to use marijuana for recreational purposes during this period. Marijuana use was then scientifically studied, and nothing was found with the use of marijuana inducing violence among people. In the 70’s, there starts to be a shift in  marijuana outlook. The minimum sentences are repealed, and it is now seen as different from other drugs that are more harmful. “Later, Ronald Reagan promised to crack down on policies and in a sense, brings back some minimum sentences”.

In 1996, the first sight at legal marijuana in America was seen. California allowed marijuana to be used as a painkiller for various diseases. At the beginning of the 21st century, more than a dozen states voted to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes only. However, because of federal laws, marijuana use and possession are still chargeable. Washington and Colorado are the first two states to legalize marijuana in 2012. There are many reasons to why a person would think that marijuana should not be legal. There is science supporting this idea as well. The hippocampus is the region of the brain that controls short-term and long-term memory. There was a test done, where young heavy users of marijuana were compared to other young people who had not used marijuana before. “The heavy users showed an average score of a reduction of 18%”. This concerns many lawmakers and people, because if teenagers are less likely to worry about the future, and this would lead to very bad things down the line. There is not much even known about the long-term impacts on the brain, lungs, and other critical organs to decide to legalize marijuana or not.

Another reason why people would not be open to legalizing marijuana is because it is not easy to enforce. When a person who is intoxicated is driving, there are clear definitions of whether you’re going to be arrested. “If you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher, you are going to jail without a doubt”. However, with marijuana it is different. There is no set level of THC that means that you are impaired. “Also, THC stays in the body much longer than alcohol, and can last in the body for weeks”. Determining all of these things would take a large amount of time and energy.

Another reason why it is probably so hated by the American politicians is that some people consider it a gateway drug. Marijuana itself is not anywhere as harmful as alcohol or tobacco cigarettes. The real problem lies in what comes after marijuana. Perhaps, the most dangerous side effect of marijuana is the addiction. Along with withdrawal symptoms that all drugs experience, it often leads people to crave more harmful substances. Also, after marijuana is legalized, many Republicans believe that it will lead to the legalization of other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Many adolescents have addictive personalities. Drugs appeal to this by giving the brain pleasure, and the brain constantly craves more. Addiction is a serious problem and Marijuana could help or hinder this problem. Researchers and scientists have not been able to conclude whether this will lead to a drug epidemic. With America’s current opioid problem, many people fear for the worst, but it is a wager that could tear America apart, or bring us together.

Finally, it also drains the nation’s electricity. In a study in 2012, “a scientist, named Evan Mills, Ph.D., at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory discovered that legal indoor marijuana farms accounted for 1% of the country’s electricity”, which translates to $6 billion a year. This was also before eight states legalized recreational marijuana, so this has most likely gone up. There is also a concern of how marijuana legalization would affect the wildlife in America.

Switching gears, there are also many reasons for why marijuana should be legalized. Polls show that most people want legal marijuana. “CBS News sent out a poll in April 2017 that showed that 61% of people would like it to be legal”.

“Another poll that Quinnipiac University of this year found that 94% of people supported the idea, while 5% were against it”. Congress is supposed to represent the people. Therefore, if lawmakers do not make changes to laws that do not represent the people the officials that have been elected could have the potential of being voted out of office and then losing their jobs. It is not certain if marijuana is a large enough topic to not voting for somebody, but there is rising support for marijuana. This means that eventually it will be a large enough issue. Secondly, it would be difficult to oppose the fact that marijuana hasn't shown positive benefits in university-run and Food and Drug Administration-approved studies. “A study published in the ‘American Public Health Association’ recently found that since Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana, opioid-related deaths has declined by 6.5%”. This has put an end to 14 years of growing opioid deaths in the state. The study also says that cannabis could be an alternative to pain-fighting opioids, and safer as well. A medicine, Epidiolex, created by GW Pharmaceuticals' is an oral cannabidiol-based drug. This means that it has the cannabidiol that marijuana has but is not psychoactive. It showed an enormous decline in seizures of two different types of epilepsy. GW Pharmaceuticals' drug reduced seizure frequency in Dravet syndrome patients by 39% from the baseline. Legalizing cannabis could mean life-changing medical discoveries for certain illnesses, and a wider access for patients. Finally, “tobacco cigarettes are linked to 440,000 deaths a year and alcohol is linked to 88,000’, while marijuana is almost impossible to overdose with, and does not have anywhere as near as many health concerns. There are so many harmful diseases that come with abuse of alcohol and the abuse of cigarettes. “The ‘Centers for Disease Control’ published an article with the effects of tobacco and alcohol, and just some of the effects are liver cancer, cirrhosis, alcohol-related- dementia, lung cancer, COPD and many other diseases that alcohol and tobacco cause”. The amount of damage that alcohol has done to people compared to marijuana would be the equivalent to comparing a spaceship to a paper airplane. Many families have been split due to alcohol abuse, and the number of people abused, and have had their lives torn apart by alcoholics is immeasurable. Marijuana is a much safer alternative to alcohol.

To sum up, the benefits of marijuana undoubtably outweigh the drawbacks. Millions of peoples’ lives will see an increase in happiness along with the legalization of marijuana. This substance was wrongly prosecuted against for years, but now is a time of change, and it is time to change American standards on marijuana.

Work Cited

  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Marijuana.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 14 Feb. 2019, www.britannica.com/science/marijuana.
  • Chipman, Alex. “5 Reasons Marijuana Should Remain Illegal.” CALM USA, CALM USA, 29 June 2016, calmca.org/calmcablog/2016/6/29/5-reasons-marijuana-should-remain-illegal.
  • Hartig, Hannah, and Abigail Geiger. “62% Of Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 8 Oct. 2018, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/08/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/.
  • Jacques, Renee. “This Is Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Everywhere.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/marijuana-legalization_n_4151423.html.
  • “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation.” Drug Policy Alliance, www.drugpolicy.org/issues/marijuana-legalization-and-regulation.
  • “Marijuana.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 Feb. 2019, medlineplus.gov/marijuana.html.
  • “Marijuana.” NIDA for Teens, 1 May 2017, teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana.
  • “Marijuana: Know the Facts, Connect with Resources - Parent Drug Guide.” Where Families Find Answers on Substance Use | Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, drugfree.org/drug/marijuana/. 
  • Morrow, Angela. “The Debate Over the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Use.” Verywell Health, Verywellhealth, www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-medical-marijuana-1132484.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijuana.” NIDA, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana.
  • “What Is Marijuana? | FAQs | Marijuana | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/marijuana/faqs/what-is- marijuana.html.
  • Zive, Carly. “Marijuana Should Stay Illegal.” Eastside, eastside-online.org/opinions/marijuana-should-stay-illegal/.
08 December 2022
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