Advantages of Legalizing Marijuana
Marijuana use is on the rise, especially among teenagers and young adults. With the recent laws passed in eight states, legalizing medical marijuana many stand divided when it comes to this never ending debate, but I firmly believe that this miracle working drug should be legalized throughout the United States.
Marijuana is by far the most commonly used illegal drug. Statistics show that over 70 million Americans have tried Marijuana and more that 20 million smoked it last year. So it is safe to assume that although marijuana use may decrease in the years to come, as did Heroin and LSD, it is here to stay. Eight states, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon & Washington have already passed laws allowing the use of medical Marijuana. In the fall of 1996, California voters approved the medical marijuana initiative (proposition 215) by a vote of 56 to 44 percent. The act is entitled The Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and its purpose is to give Californians the right to possess and cultivate marijuana for medical purposes, where the medical use is deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician who has determined the persons health would benefit from the use of marijuana in the treatment of Cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief (Schaler 121) Nothing in the act permits persons using marijuana for medical purposes to engage in conduct that endangers others (such as driving under the influence), condones the diversion of marijuana for non medical purposes or permits the buying or selling of marijuana Dennis Peron, the man who launched proposition 215 subsequently started the cannabis buyers club in San Francisco. The purpose behind starting this club was to distribute weed to AIDS, cancer and other patients. With only a doctors note the clubs 12,000 members could buy pot and then relax while listening to music. The San Francisco police department eventually closed the club down
And while not officially legalizing marijuana, a 1996 law allowed the Dutch government to create a set of guidelines under which coffee shops could sell marijuana without the fear of criminal prosecution. The basic rules in place today include a ban on advertising, a minimum purchasing age of 18 and a limit of five grams per individual transaction. The British government has passed laws permitting an addict to have drugs if the person cannot function productively without them. With so many legalizing Marijuana and many leaning towards it, I hope the country and eventually the entire world will allow people to get high with no consequence.
The main idea behind legalizing drugs is its medical advantages. Although not proven through science Marijuana is said to have many uses as healing drug. Marijuana being used as medicine has been studied for many years. In many cultures it is already used as medicine and stems back many generations. The first recorded use of marijuana as medicine was in China. It has been said that in Pen Tspoo Ching during the first or second century A.D, ma-fe-san (boiled hemp compound) was used as an anesthetic for surgical patients. Ma-fe-san is said to have many uses including, clearing the blood, cooling temperature, clearing fluxes, undoing rheumatism and discharging pus from patients. China is not the only country to use this drug in early times. It was introduced in Southeast Asia in the sixteenth century A.D. Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are said to have current uses of marijuana for medicine. In Cambodia they have an enormous list of uses, including, treating malaria, reliving asthma, calming the nerves, regulating the heart and treating paralysis. In Thailand, it used in folk medicine as well as in the official medical reports. In folk medicine, people dry the leaves and then boil them to treat migraines and dizzy spells.
Marijuana has survived the passing of time and still aids the sick today. The advanced stages of treatment for patients with Cancer, AIDS and other diseases are often accompanied by, intractable nausea, vomiting and pain. Patients have reported Striking relief from these devastating symptoms by smoking marijuana. The alleviation of distress can be so striking that some patients and their families having been willing to risk jail time to obtain or grow marijuana. Marijuana must be studied and tested more to prove effectiveness but because it is not legal, doctors dont want to study a drug that they could never use. Another reason it is not studied a lot is because the potency of the plant varies so much that it is too hard to standardize a dose. Also marijuana cannot be patented since its illegal.
In 1988 administrative law judge Francis Young found that marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man At present it is estimated that marijuanas LD-50 or median lethal dose is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. Or simply put, a smoker would theoretically have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette or joint nearly 1500 pounds of marijuana in about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.
Advocates of legalization raise several points. They claim the there would be fewer people selling drugs because it would be regulated and profits would be cut. They also claim that drug-dealing criminals would virtually vanish causing crime and violence rates to plummet.
The points mentioned above are debatable
Legalizing marijuana raises a lot of questions for instance, who would sell the drugs? Private companies? The government? How would legalization affect health insurance and the overall cost of healthcare? And probably the most important question of all would the use of legalized drugs by employees in certain occupations be prohibited? Since marijuana can remain in the body for weeks after use, would marijuana use by employees in jobs in which safety and security are issues be forbidden, even when off duty? What about airline pilots, surgeons, police, firefighters, military personnel, bus drivers, railroad engineers, cross country truckers, nuclear reactor operators and even wall street brokers and teacher? (Schaler 75) As far as America is concerned, we are the land of the free or are we? Do people have a right to get high? As times change and we progress into the future should our laws change as well? Only time will tell as the war against drugs wages on and the fight to legalized marijuana leaves a country divided. Are the advocates of legalization just looking for an excuse to get high or is this a fight for freedom?
LaFave, Kathi. Marijuana As Medicine.
Miller, Lawrence Richard. The Case For Legalizing Drugs. New York: Praeger, 1991
Schaler, Jeffrey A. Drugs. New York: Prometheus Books, 1998
Zimmer, Lynn, Morgan ,John P. Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts. New York:
Lindesmith Center, 1997.