Should Marijuana Be Legalized?
Still today the debate over the legalization of marijuana in the United States continues. Marijuana is a drug that often smoked in a cigarette or bong. Because this drug is illegal, it is affecting us as individuals and as a country. Many people believe legalizing this “miracle drug” could be very beneficial to our country, including myself. It is argued that, “Like sex, alcohol, or cigarettes, marijuana is one of life’s little pleasures for some people” (Should Marijuana Be Legalized under Any Circumstances?). If marijuana were legalized our economy would improve, the crime rate would decrease, medical benefits would be seen, and make it possible for the quality and safety of drugs to be regulated.
Many people have the wrong idea of what marijuana actually does to the body, assuming it is a more harmful drug than it actually is. But in reality, it is not so bad. “The drug generally isn’t more harmful than alcohol or tobacco if used in moderation,” but isn’t abuse of any bad substance almost always a problem? (Should Marijuana Be Legalized under Any Circumstances?).
Like all drugs, you will suffer harmful consequences to your body if moderation is not used. “Its low toxicity is responsible for the well-known fact that marijuana has never directly caused a death”. (Legalizing Weed May Benefit Society, Economy)The Washington Post said “marijuana smoking, even in extreme cases, does not lead to lung cancer, while cigarettes cause 440,000 deaths a year.” (Legalizing Weed May Benefit Society, Economy). Also, most doctors say it is not any more addictive than alcohol or tobacco. I do not believe it is fair or right that marijuana is illegal while tobacco and alcohol are equally harmful, if not more harmful. Health reasons don’t seem to be the reason it is illegal.
So if this drug isn’t considered a major health concern compared to alcohol or tobacco, then why is it illegal? Well, like most things these days, it is a matter of business, this one going back to 1937. It was William Randolph Hearst who fought to make it illegal. Hearst had a strong connection with the timber industry, and when he found that hemp could be made into a paper better than what he had, he pushed to make marijuana illegal for its harmful effect on users of the drug.
With lots of money put into this effort, he made marijuana illegal. (Legalizing Weed May Benefit Society, Economy). So as you can see, it was never given a fair shot at being looked at properly. It was immediately given a bad reputation and since has never been able to become legal. I believe if it hadn’t been pushed to be illegal in that situation, it would be a legal drug right now.
It is well known that lack of money does not always stop people from getting the drugs they need. Instead of paying for the drugs, they will steal it. “Legalization would mean a lower price; thus, related crimes (like theft) would be reduced” (Should Marijuana Be Legalized under Any Circumstances?). The cost of marijuana is higher in price due to the fact that it is illegal, but if it were legal the cost would go down, along with the crime rate in the United States.
If legalized, less of government’s money would be spent on trying to stop the people producing this drug. Instead, the money could go to more important things including efforts trying to stop murders, terrorism, sex offenders, and more serious drugs. I believe that this fight against marijuana is unnecessary because it prevents our government from focusing on the more serious issues in the United States. As said by the National Office of Drug Control Policy, “the government was spending $29 billion annually to prosecute and incarcerate marijuana users.” (Legalizing Weed May Benefit Society, Economy). With that money back in our country’s pocket, a lot of good things could be done. Legalizing this drug would eliminate a good portion of our country’s issues.
Many good people in our country may slip up one and for that they have a lifelong criminal record. An example of a slip up could be a one time use of marijuana. “Drug busts often trap young people in a flawed system that turns them into lifelong criminals.” (Should Marijuana Be Legalized under Any Circumstances?) After a person uses an illegal drug once, often times they find themselves too deep into the illegal system to get out. And after this, there life consists of several crimes trying to get out, one after the other. If marijuana were legalized, I believe we would see less cases where people’s lives are ruined due to the drug world. A legal system wouldn’t have these terrible results.
This drug is very beneficial to the sick. One group of people who could benefit from this is cancer patients. The drug can assist them with chemotherapy. Also, marijuana “prevents tension and stress that cause sore muscles and or aggitation and high blood pressure” (Marijuana: The Simple, Logical Benefits of Legalization). California has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. If California is using a drug to help their sick patients, why doesn’t the rest of the country?
A major problem with this illegal drug is that some users become sick due its poor quality. There is no way of having a system to check for quality when it is illegal. Also, suing someone would be out of the question because the drug is illegal. But “By bringing marijuana into the legitimate business world, you can oversee production and regulate sales.” (Should Marijuana Be Legalized under Any Circumstances?). The fact that this drug is illegal is only making it more dangerous for the users, and these users are going to get the drug if they want it bad enough.
In the 1920’s the use of alcohol was banned. This was called the Prohibition of the 1920s. It is well known that this caused serious crimes as booze was being made and sold illegally. The country’s crime rate increased rapidly and many people died for getting involved with this. Later, the United States made alcohol legal, fixing all the problems that had occurred. I can’t help but to imagine the same thing would happen if marijuana was legalized. Right now, California’s number one cash crop is marijuana, which brings in a whopping $14 billion a year. If many lives can be saved, many jobs created, and more money for our government can be earned, I can’t seem to find the reason why this drug isn’t legal yet. (Time to Legalize Marijuana?).
Another issue this illegal drug brings to our country is environmental problems. Marijuana is mostly grown by Mexican drug cartels in California. The things involved in this illegal process are “Hundred KW generators, diesel storage tanks, ATV vehicles and large quantities of animal poison” (Marijuana’s Effects: More Than Munchies). These growers are said to put poison around their fields to kill of any wildlife that may harm the marijuana crops.
On the other hand, many people producing marijuana use healthy ways of treating their crops to the best they can. “”They buy soil in bulk, use rat traps instead of poison, water with timers and drip systems. They have very little physical impact on the land” (Marijuana’s Effects: More Than Munchies). It sickens me to think that if this drug were legalized, no one would have any reason to be doing this. Instead, growers would be using proper ways of dealing with the protection of their marijuana because they have no evidence that needs to be hidden.
Here in America we take pride in the amount of freedom we have. I believe people should have access to marijuana, which isn’t all that serious of a drug. I understand that this is considered a gateway drug to other drugs. It makes us believe that other drugs can’t be as bad as it seems. It can lead us to more negative choices that ruin our life. But we are given freedoms to make our own decisions, and the government should not try to make this decision for us. Just like tobacco and alcohol, this drug should be legal.
As I have already mentioned, the legalization of marijuana is still being debated today, as it has been for many years. To me the answer to this debate is quite obvious. It is hard to ignore the number of positive things for our country that could potentially come out of marijuana becoming legal. Legalizing marijuana would help with the economy, crime rate, heath problems, and our country as a whole. We must consider these endless benefits of legalizing marijuana when deciding whether or not we should legalize it.