Legalizing Marijuana


In recent years, there has been a great debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana. Some public officials, such as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, believe that legalizing marijuana would bring in helpful tax revenue for all states. However, other officials argue that legalizing the drug would be detrimental to society. Medical professionals are also divided on the subject, with some believing that legalizing the drug would be medically advantageous and others asserting that it would increase addiction and lead to harder drug use. In reality, there are both pros and cons to the legalization of marijuana that must be carefully weighed before forming an opinion on the subject.

About Marijuana

Marijuana, or cannabis, is a preparation of the cannabis plant that is intended to be consumed by a human for medicinal purposes or for pleasure. Marijuana has both physiological and psychoactive effects on its users. With only 10 micrograms of THC, an individual can experience a significant psychoactive effect from the drug. The most common side effects of usage are increased heart rate, memory impairment, coordination problems, lowered concentration ability, and subjective changes in mood and perception. Long-term effects of marijuana are poorly understood, but there is no significant evidence of severe long-term complications at this time.

Arguments in Favor of Legalization

  • Marijuana is not any more harmful to the body than alcohol or tobacco as long as it is used in moderation. Both of these drugs are legalized and used widely throughout the United States. If abuse of these two drugs is not considered harmful enough to make them illegal, why should marijuana be restricted?
  • Marijuana offers many medical benefits for patients with glaucoma, AIDS, and cancer. It helps patients who are going through chemotherapy, so it should be legalized for medicinal purposes at the very least.
  • The illegal buying and selling of marijuana in the United States has increased incidences of violence and crime. If it were legal, there would be no more need for such criminal activity. In addition, drug mafias would disappear and drug related disputes would end. This would allow law enforcement to concentrate on more serious crimes.
  • Marijuana is a popular agricultural product. Studies show that sales of marijuana could bring in a significant amount of tax revenue for the whole of the United States.

Arguments Against Legalizing Marijuana

  • The use of drugs is believed to be morally wrong by many Americans. Legalizing marijuana would be perceived as immoral.
  • Marijuana may be used as a gateway drug to lead user to more serious addictions, such as addiction to cocaine or heroin.
  • Secondhand smoke from marijuana use may be harmful to nonusers.
  • Legalizing marijuana may cause an increase in crime because drug traders are often involved in other crimes as well. Society would be safer if such offenders were incarcerated for their crimes.

Facts About Marijuana

  • Marijuana is not proven to be addictive.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly-used illegal drug and is responsible for approximately 800,000 arrests every year in the United States.
  • Marijuana temporarily affects reasoning and memory, but it doesn't affect it permanently.
  • Marijuana is helpful for treating several medical conditions.

For more information about the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana, consult the following links.